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A Town Like Alice | DVD | (24/07/2006)
from £6.99 | Saving you £5.51 (42.40%) | RRP
Virginia McKenna and Peter Finch star in this moving story about a party of women compelled to trek through the Malayan jungle during World War II as no Japanese office will take responsibility for their care. Based on Nevil Shute's best selling novel the film tells how the women come to terms with their hardships and how they are befriended by a tough Australian prisoner of war who dreams of returning to his home town of Alice Springs...
Spartacus | DVD | (27/11/2000)
from £4.84 | Saving you £7.45 (57.40%) | RRP
Stanley Kubrick was only 31 years old when Kirk Douglas (star of Kubrick's classic Paths of Glory) recruited the young director to pilot this epic saga, in which the rebellious slave Spartacus (played by Douglas) leads a freedom revolt against the ailing Roman Republic and its generals. Kubrick would later disown the film because it was not a personal project--he was merely a director-for-hire--but Spartacus remains one of the best of Hollywood's grand historical epics. With an intelligent screenplay by then-blacklisted writer Dalton Trumbo (from a novel by Howard Fast), its liberal message of freedom and civil rights, highly relevant in early-1960s USA, is still quite powerful and the all-star cast (including Charles Laughton in full toga) is full of entertaining surprises.Restored in 1991 to include scenes deleted from the original 1960 release, the full-length Spartacus is a grand-scale cinematic marvel, offering some of the most awesome battles ever filmed and a central performance by Douglas that's as sensitively emotional as it is intensely heroic. Jean Simmons plays the slave woman who becomes Spartacus's wife, and Peter Ustinov steals the show with his frequently hilarious, Oscar-winning performance as a slave trader who shamelessly curries favour with his Roman superiors. The restored version also includes a formerly deleted bathhouse scene in which Laurence Olivier's patrician Crassus (with restored dialogue dubbed by Anthony Hopkins) gets hot and bothered over a slave servant played by Tony Curtis. These and other restored scenes expand the film to just over three hours in length. Despite some forgivable lulls, this is a rousing and substantial drama that grabs and holds your attention. Breaking tradition with sophisticated themes and a downbeat (yet eminently noble) conclusion, Spartacus is a thinking person's epic, rising above mere spectacle with a story as impressive as its widescreen action and Oscar-winning sets. --Jeff Shannon
Carry On Camping | DVD | (01/10/1999)
from £7.95 | Saving you £12.04 (60.20%) | RRP
There are three periods to Carry On. Early on, they were typical British light comedy capers, hardly risqué. By the 1970s, the loveable double-entendres had been replaced by an almost nasty sleaziness, culminating in 1977's Carry On Emanuelle. 1969's Carry On Camping, thankfully, belongs to the Golden Years. Pretty much everybody is present and correct, if not politically. Sid James is a likely-ish, if slightly elderly lad, persuading Joan Sims to join him at what he secretly expects to be a nudist colony. Terry Scott is a put-upon suburbian, coerced into outdoor vacations by his ghastly, horsey-laughed wife, while Charles Hawtrey is the campest of campers who befriends them. Kenneth Williams, who alone makes this worth watching, is gloriously ridiculous as head of a girl's school, Chayste Place, with Hattie Jacques as Matron and Barbara Windsor as one of the 30 year old fifth formers in their charge. Technically it's terrible stuff, with Barbara Windsor's flying bra, laboured puns galore, peeping tomfoolery, punchlines visible two miles off, "comedy" incidental music and a reactionary denouement in which they chase off a bunch of hippies. Yet if you don't chuckle at least half a dozen times during this, however many times you've seen it, there's probably something wrong with you. --David Stubbs