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It's A Wonderful Life | DVD | (09/11/2007)
from £11.08 | Saving you £6.91 (38.40%) | RRP
Now perhaps the most beloved American film, It's a Wonderful Life was largely forgotten for years, due to a copyright quirk. Only in the late 1970s did it find its audience through repeated TV showings. Frank Capra's masterwork deserves its status as a feel-good communal event, but it is also one of the most fascinating films in the American cinema, a multilayered work of Dickensian density. George Bailey (played superbly by James Stewart) grows up in the small town of Bedford Falls, dreaming dreams of adventure and travel, but circumstances conspire to keep him enslaved to his home turf. Frustrated by his life, and haunted by an impending scandal, George prepares to commit suicide on Christmas Eve. A heavenly messenger (Henry Travers) arrives to show him a vision: what the world would have been like if George had never been born. The sequence is a vivid depiction of the American Dream gone bad, and probably the wildest thing Capra ever shot (the director's optimistic vision may have darkened during his experiences making military films in World War II). Capra's triumph is to acknowledge the difficulties and disappointments of life, while affirming--in the teary-eyed final reel--his cherished values of friendship and individual achievement. It's a Wonderful Life was not a big hit on its initial release, and it won no Oscars (Capra and Stewart were nominated); but it continues to weave a special magic. --Robert Horton
The Importance Of Being Earnest | DVD | (15/06/2009)
from £7.99 | Saving you £1.74 (13.40%) | RRP
Oscar Wilde's comic jewel sparkles in Anthony Asquith's film adaptation of The Importance of Being Earnest. Featuring brilliantly polished performances by Michael Redgrave Joan Greenwood and Dame Edith Evans the enduringly hilarious story of two young women who think themselves engaged to the same nonexistent man is given the grand Technicolor treatment. Seldom has a classic stage comedy been so engagingly transferred to the screen!
Annie Get Your Gun | DVD | (09/10/2006)
from £7.99 | Saving you £1.02 (7.90%) | RRP
Betty Hutton (as Annie Oakley) and Howard Keel (as Frank Butler) star in this sharpshootin' funfest based on the 1 147-performance Broadway smash boasting Irving Berlin's beloved score including Doin' What Comes Natur'lly I Got the Sun in the Morning and the anthemic There's No Business like Show Business. As produced by Arthur Freed directed by George Sidney and seen and heard in a new digital transfer from restored elements. This lavish spirited production showcases songs and pe
It's A Wonderful Life | DVD | (10/11/2008)
from £7.85 | Saving you £6.51 (36.20%) | RRP
Hollywood's best-loved star teams up with America's favourite director to create one of the world's most popular films. It's A Wonderful Life is the ultimate 'feel-good' film. Starring the unforgettable James Stewart as George Bailey the man who receives the greatest Christmas gift of all. A superb ensemble cast includes Donna Reed and Lionel Barrymore this high-spirited Christmas tale is directed by the immortal Frank Capra and ranks as an all-time favourite of fans and critics alike. It's A Wonderful Life began as a short Christmas tale called 'The Greatest Gift'. The premise was simple: A regretful man sees what would have become of his family and friends if he had never lived. Yet various writers struggled to balance the story's pathos and humour. Only Capra's painstaking polishing made the script filmable with enriched characters and plot adding hugely to its depth and drama. When James Stewart first read the script he said 'This is it! When do we start?'
Singin' in the Rain | DVD | (06/10/2008)
from £4.25 | Saving you £-8.53 (-106.80%) | RRP
Decades before the Hollywood film industry became famous for megabudget disaster and science fiction spectaculars, the studios of Southern California (and particularly Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer) were renowned for a uniquely American (and nearly extinct) kind of picture known as The Musical. Indeed, when Sight & Sound conducts its international critics poll in the second year of every decade, this 1952 MGM picture is the American musical that consistently ranks among the 10 best movies ever made. It's not only a great song-and-dance piece starring Gene Kelly, Donald O'Connor, and a sprightly Debbie Reynolds; it's also an affectionately funny insider spoof about the film industry's uneasy transition from silent pictures to "talkies". Kelly plays debonair star Don Lockwood, whose leading lady Lina Lamont (Jean Hagen) has a screechy voice hilariously ill-suited to the new technology (and her glamorous screen image). Among the musical highlights: O'Connor's knockout "Make 'Em Laugh"; the big "Broadway Melody" production number; and, best of all, that charming little title ditty in which Kelly makes movie magic on a drenched set with nothing but a few puddles, a lamppost, and an umbrella. --Jim Emerson
The Importance Of Being Earnest | DVD | (08/10/1999)
from £16.98 | Saving you £-6.99 (-70.00%) | RRP
If you're looking for the definitive example of dry wit, look no further than this 1952 version of The Importance of Being Earnest. Of course, it helps to have Oscar Wilde's beloved play as source material, but this exquisite adaptation has a charmed life of its own, with a perfectly matched director and a once-in-a-lifetime cast. Mix these ingredients with Wilde's inimitable repartee, and you've got a comedic soufflé that's cooked to perfection. Opening with a proscenium nod to its theatrical origins, the film turns Wilde's comedy of clever deception and mixed identities into a cinematic treat, and while the 10-member cast is uniformly superb, special credit must be given to Dame Edith Evans, reprising her stage role as the imperiously stuffy Lady Bracknell. To hear her Wilde-ly hilarious inflections and elongated syllables is to witness British comedy in its purest form. --Jeff Shannon, Amazon.com
The Red Shoes | DVD | (01/10/1999)
from £16.98 | Saving you £-6.99 (-70.00%) | RRP
Overall, Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger's 1948 tale of the tragic ballerina Vicky Page (Moira Shearer) is not in the top drawer of their achievements. The backstage wranglings offer insufficient scope for their usual cinematic vision (though the Monte Carlo scenes are prettily sumptuous). Page's central dilemma, meanwhile, is a bit on the trite side--she must choose between love for a young composer and her career under stern taskmaster Boris Lertomov (Anton Walbrook), the ballet company impresario. The climax is also risibly melodramatic, a rare fumble for Powell and Pressburger. That said, The Red Shoes is worth purchasing alone for its middle sequence, a fantasy cinematic setting of the ballet of The Red Shoes, based on the Hans Christian Andersen tale of a girl who dances herself to death. A superb score by Brian Easdale is matched by an impossibly elaborate, shifting backdrop in which all of Powell and Pressburger's sense of drama, colour, invention and the super-real is encapsulated in one small but intensely concentrated dose. While the rest of the film is relatively dispensable, the ballet scene bears up to repeated rewindings.--David Stubbs