On its original release in 1988, the pairing of Steve Martin and Michael Caine in Dirty Rotten Scoundrels was seen as something of a dream ticket. Viewing the film many years later, that assessment still proves completely accurate: the casting is perfect. American Freddy Benson and Briton Lawrence Jamieson are con men who work the French Riviera--at first as colleagues, later as rivals--praying on rich, gullible women before finally meeting their match. Having spent the decade veering between popular rubbish and low-key quality, for once Caine was able to find a populist vehicle that did justice to his talents. Steve Martin is, well, very Steve Martin but there are few better suited to the visual comedy of his character. The film has an old-fashioned feel (no sex, violence or bad language) and owes much to the earlier period of film humour--it really doesn't take that much imagination to see this as an Ealing comedy. All round, it's a stylish, charming, witty film. On the DVD: Extras are few, limited to scene selection, subtitles and the very funny trailer. Picture quality is superb, allowing the film's exotic setting to sparkle and there are many scenes of breathtaking beauty. Given that the film is full of fantastic comedy set pieces, the ability to select scenes is a real plus, allowing to the viewer to locate that classic Martin pratfall at the push of a button. --Phil Udell
While driving one evening, Harold Pelham appears possessed and has a car accident. While on the operating table, there even appears to be two heartbeats on the monitor. When he awakes, Pelham finds his life has been turned upside-down: he learns that he now supports a merger that he once opposed, and that he apparently is having an affair. People claim they have seen him in places that he has never been. Does Pelham have a doppelganger - or is he going insane?
Armchair Theatre was ITV's flagship drama anthology series. Initially screened between 1956 and 1973, it was hugely popular, with viewing figures occasionally reaching twenty million, and became a byword for quality in televised drama.Pioneering, immensely influential and sometimes challenging in its content, the series consistently drew upon a wide range of talent. Armchair Theatre became a showcase for the post-war generation of British writers who sought to place sensitive social topics - in particular the British class system - under the microscope. Throughout, the series featured a number of powerful, award-winning plays, and its lasting influence was a testament to producer Sydney Newman's passionate belief in television's potential to bring high-quality drama to the viewing public. This collection brings together a further eight plays, initially broadcast between 1970 and 1974. Featuring scripts by Donald Churchill (Spooner's Patch), P.J. Hammond (Sapphire and Steel) and Roger Marshall, whose play ties into an episode of his most memorable series Public Eye, the programmes include accomplished performances from, among others, John Thaw, Anton Rodgers, Kenneth Haigh, Bill Maynard, Susannah York, Gordon Jackson and Warren Clarke.
This International Emmy Award-winning comedy stars Anton Rodgers (May to September) and Julia McKenzie (Cranford) as William and Hester Field, a happily married middle-class couple whose children have flown the nest. Setting out to prove you re as young as you feel, Hester is determined to do all those things she never got around to when the kids were at home leaving William trailing in the wake of his wife s seemingly boundless enthusiasm. Fresh Fields gentle humour garnered high ratings throughout its four-year run, with McKenzie earning a BAFTA nomination for Best Light Entertainment Performance. Its sequel, French Fields, saw the couple following their children s example and setting up home across the Channel; three series chart a whole new chapter of misadventure as the Fields try to breach the language barrier and adapt to the strange customs of their adopted home. This set presents both complete series, brought together for the first time on DVD.
Freddy Benson (Steve Martin) is a crass, loud American. Laurence Jameson (Michael Caine) is a suave, urbane European. Their common ground is that they both are confidence men, and they meet in a train compartment as Benson is scamming his way across Europe, taking advantage of women's generosity. The two are forced into a rivalry, which culminates in a wager to see who can be the first to bilk $50,000 out of American heiress Janet Colgate (Glenne Headly). Their game of one-upmanship is, of course, brought to ridiculous heights as things progress. Written by Paul Henning (the mind behind such TV shows as Green Acres and The Beverly Hillbillies), Dirty Rotten Scoundrels is an uneven but funny mix of Martin's physical comedy and Caine's oily charms. Martin's first role as cohort is to assume the persona of Ruprecht, the "special" younger brother intended to scare off potential brides. As Ruprecht, he comes off as a down-home version of Jerry Lewis; hilarious as it is, it doesn't quite fit with the rest of the film. Once the wager is on, though, Martin slips into his overly earnest mode as an American military man suffering from hysterical paralysis, with Caine as a psychologist who takes on his case. All in all, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels (a loose remake of the 1964 film Bedtime Story with David Niven and Marlon Brando) is a droll, intelligent comedy, short on knee slappers but long on comic situations and characterisations. --Jerry Renshaw, Amazon.com
Nightingale's Boy's shows what happens when a master at a northern grammar school, Bill 'Tweety' Nightingale, tries to organise a reunion with the boys of the 'star' class of his career: the 1949 sixth form. Nearing retirement and aware that his gifts are fading, Bill fondly regards the class as the high point of his career, and now hopes to recapture some of its alchemy; as this seven-part series unfolds, we see just how the likely lads of '49 turned out - and whether Bill is doomed to disillusion. Derek Farr - like several cast members a former teacher himself - brings great sympathy to the role of Bill Nightingale, a radical who had fought in the Spanish Civil War, and a distinguished master with 35 years' teaching experience. Each drama focuses on a particular member of his favourite class, with Anton Rodgers, Ronald Lewis, David Swift and Bernard Gallagher among the noted actors portraying the sixth-formers in adult life; writers include award-winning playwright Jack Rosenthal, Arthur Hopcraft.
Lillie Langtry had it all: beauty talent wealth fame-and the heart of any man she desired. Now her storied past comes to life in this riveting series starring Francesca Annis as the incomparable Lillie Langtry. When Lillie Langtry defies the moral traditions of Victorian England and nineteenth century America she becomes one of the most celebrated and scandalous women of her time. Bold intelligent and witty Lillie' dazzling beauty and brazen determination liberate her from a woman's proper place in society. Rising from modest beginnings to international superstar to the bed of the Prince of Wales she is a ""serial"" lover attracting attention from kings judges princes and commoners-and manipulating them as she desires. Lillie features over 1 000 performers Victorian and Edwardian details (right down to the bustles and petticoats) plus a performance that earned Francesca Annis critical Acclaim. Share the life and loves of Lillie Langtry and witness a legend in the making.
Anton Rodgers stars as middle aged solicitor Alec Callender - a partner in Semple Callender and Henty - who pines for Perry Mason style cases however seldom is faced with anything more taxing than a simple house conveyancing. Through his work Alec meets Zoe Angell played by Eve Matheson a 26 year old PE teacher befuddled by her impending divorce although neither is looking for romance there is an unmistakable spark and soon they embark on the rocky road of a 'spring and autumn'
William and Hester Fields have been very happily married for twenty years. Their children have flown the nest and Hester thinks there are a still few things left to do between now and the pension book. With a renewed zest for life and a fresh dynamism in their relationship she insists that the couple take up a number of new pastimes and challenges even if William sometimes lacks his wife's enthusiasm and seemingly boundless energy. Starring Anton Rodgers as accountant William and Julia McKenzie as accomplished cook Hester Fresh Fields wry gentle humour made it a firm favourite with viewers spawning an equally popular sequel French Fields and earning McKenzie a BAFTA nomination for Best Light Entertainment Performance. The series which aired between 1984 and 1986 was produced and directed by sitcom veteran Peter Frazer-Jones (George and Mildred After Henry).
William and Hester Fields have been very happily married for twenty years. Their children have flown the nest and Hester thinks there are a few things left to do between now and the pension book. With a renewed zest for life and a fresh dynamism in their relationship she insists that the couple take up a number of new pastimes and challenges - even if William sometimes lacks his wife s enthusiasm and seemingly boundless energy. Starring Anton Rodgers (May To September) as accountant William and Julia McKenzie (Cranford) as accomplished cook Hester Fresh Fields wry gentle humour made it a firm favourite with viewers spawning an equally popular sequel French Fields and earning McKenzie a BAFTA nomination for Best Light Entertainment Performance. The series which aired between 1984 and 1986 was produced and directed by sitcom veteran Peter Frazer-Jones (George And Mildred After Henry). This release contains the complete third series originally screened in 1985 and the Christmas Day special from that year.
A mixed bag as variations on A Christmas Carol go, this 1970 British musical tells the usual story of Scrooge (Albert Finney) and his spirits on Christmas Eve, although the whole thing is set to music by Leslie Bricusse. Except for Finney's feisty and involved performance, however, there isn't much to recommend this. The songs, which absorb so much of the evolving story line and emotions, are not all that good. Plenty of support, however, from the likes of Roy Kinnear (Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory) and Dame Edith Evans (Tom Jones), the handsome production is directed by veteran Ronald Neame (The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie). --Tom Keogh
Frederick Forsyth wrote both the novel and screenplay of The Fourth Protocol, a story about a plot to stage an enormous nuclear accident in England, a catastrophe so large that its source can never be identified but will lead to assumptions that America is behind it. Michael Caine plays an ageing intelligence agent who picks up clues that the ingredients for such an apocalypse are being smuggled piece-by-piece into the UK--but he cannot seem to get his superiors to care. Caine is outstanding in a role that seems tailor-made for him and Pierce Brosnan is very good as the Russian agent working undercover in England to effect the planned tragedy. The film perfectly captures a spreading suspicion and resentment toward superpower adventurism, even though such sentiments are in fact being exploited by the bad guys. Caine, as always, suggests a man walking a narrow line through a gauntlet of moral compromises. --Tom Keogh
Astrology is strictly for the birds. That's the emphatic view of David Gradley, a workshy ex-Harrovian who has drifted into the police force. Then he meets a pretty young astrologer called Esther Jones - and his ideas get knocked for six! Created by Roger Marshall (The Avengers, Public Eye, The Sweeney), this lighthearted thriller series became a cult piece of escapism for viewers during its six-week stay on British television and has become a much sought-after series by collectors - largely due to its novel premise of the groovy '70s culture clash between the Thin Blue Line and the Age of Aquarius! In an early role, Anouska Hempel (UFO) stars as Esther, opposite Anton Rodgers (Murder Most English, The Prisoner) as the coolly methodical Detective Inspector Gradley. Michael Gambon, Peter Egan, Joanna David, Ian Ogilvy, Robert Powell and Peter Vaughan are among a host of guest stars also appearing in this popular and memorably quirky series from Thames, originally screened in 1974.
Donald Sinden, Anton Rodgers and Peter Egan star in this witty, sharply observed drama series which reveals the intrigues, resentments, bewilderments and betrayals of the staff of a large corporation. Based on writer Philip Mackie's own experiences, this award-winning series is available here for the first time.The Greatrick Organization is a faceless, multi-million-pound concern dedicated to making more millions. In its headquarters we meet an assortment of middle and junior executives, among them new boy Richard Pershore a handsome young hopeful who knows he's just walked into a jungle; press officer Rodney Spurling, widely known as the Chairman's whipping boy; and PR head David Pulman, with his beautiful, ever-efficient but possibly treacherous secretary, Veronica. Their lives may look cosy enough; all they have to do is keep on being loyal slaves until they're 60 or 65. But there are a hundred different ways to put a foot wrong
What better time for a heist than in the fog of war? In a daring attempt to end WWII by Christmas 35 000 U.S. troops are dropped behind enemy lines in German occupied Holland. In the midst of the largest airborne invasion in history one small unit of men codename ""Matchbox"" has its own agenda; to lay claim to a horde of Nazi gold in the vicinity. When Matchbox are shot down short of their landing zone the odds of success seem hopeless. Seven very different soldiers find t
After four highly successful series in 1989 the international Emmy Award-winning Fresh Fields became French Fields as William and Hester Fields (Julia McKenzie and Anton Rodgers) followed their children's example and set up home across the Channel. They soon discover there s more than 22 miles of water dividing the English from the French. Hester's brave attempt to cross the language barrier using Franglais and mime to rival Marcel Marceau merely causes bewilderment. And French customs and culture are no less tricky; even the car steering wheel is in the wrong place while asking a surly housekeeper to leave could be seen as despotic and spark a minor revolution. However despite such difficulties the Fields persevere in their inimitable style providing comic entertainment for their French friends and viewers alike. This complete second series also includes the hilarious 1990 Christmas Special.
A breezy comedy from the Danziger brothers Part-Time Wife was released in 1961 and features very early film roles for Anton Rodgers Nyree Dawn Porter and Kenneth J. Warren; it is presented here in a brand-new transfer from the original film elements in its as-exhibited theatrical aspect ratio. Insurance salesman Tom and his wife Jenny are struggling through the first years of marriage in a modest flat on Tom's even more modest salary. By contrast Drew Tom's old army pal is a footloose bachelor currently running a car-hire firm owned by his rich uncle who lives in Canada. Since Drew's uncle makes it clear that his nephew will only inherit the business when he's a respectable married man his upcoming visit throws Drew into a panic. Having taken a fancy to the vivacious Jenny Drew persuades her to masquerade as his wife an arrangement that leads the trio into some highly complicated situations! SPECIAL FEATURES:  Image Gallery  Press Release PDF
The Flaxborough Chronicles. Murder Most English contains four terrific tales of detective sleuthing based on the Flaxborough novels of Colin Watson. Starring Anton Rodgers as Detective Inspector Purbright and Christopher Timothy as Detective Sergeant Love the series was filmed in 1977 and is a glowing tribute to an England long-gone of heavy tweed jackets dial telephones typewriter ribbons and old-fashioned investigation and deduction. Told over 7 episodes: Hopjoy Was Here Lonelyheart 4122 The Flaxborough Crab and Coffin Scarcely Used tell tales of mysterious murders dire disappearances and conniving conspiracy that are designed to keep the local investigators at bay but their layers of intrigue simply draw the detectives in deeper. One surprising and prescient tale considers the effects of an early variation on Viagra that sets the small town astir in some most unexpected ways. But whatever the crime and whoever the culprit one thing you can be sure of is a case or two of Murder Most English.
The Tell-Tale Heart A dark and dramatic adaption of Edgar Allan Poe’s classic story, Laurence Payne stars as Edgar Marsh, a shy and awkward librarianwho becomes obsessed with his new neighbour Betty Clare. Despite Marsh’s infatuation and determination to win her affections, Betty Clare falls for Marsh’s close friend Carl Loomis, a charismatic man of the world. Discovering their affair, Marsh’s obsession turns to murderous rage and he kills Loomis. Consumed with guilt Marsh’s mind begins to crumble as the sound of Loomis’s stillbeating heart haunts his every waking hour. Part-Time Wife Tom is an unsuccessful insurance salesman with only one ray of sunshine in his life, his beautiful new bride Jenny. When Tom looks up his old army buddy Drew in an attempt to sell him some car insurance for the company fleet, Drew hatches a plan to convince his uncle and owner of the company that far from being a playboy crook, he is a happily married man. The only problem is he’s chosen Jenny to be his pretend wife. Drew and Jenny must play the perfect husband and wife until Drew’s uncle returns to America, while Tom must do everything hecan to ensure the plan goes without a hitch in order to secure the biggest insurance deal of his life…and to guarantee the innocence of his wife! The Battleaxe Francis Matthews and Jill Ireland star as Tony Evers and Audrey Page, an engaged couple whose pre-marital bliss is shattered by thefuture bride's domineering mother. Unable to withstand this wicked witch of the Northlands, Matthews tries to weasel out of the marriage by suing for breach of promise: the broken promise being that mother would stop meddling. Joan Haythorne plays the domineering mother in-law Mrs Page who has made it her business to keep the two apart and ensure her daughter doesn’t marrysuch a crooked character. Fate Takes a Hand When a mail bag full of post that was taken in a robbery is discovered fifteen years later, a Post Office employee and local reporterdecide to deliver the letters to their original intended addressees. This solitary incident has profound ramifications on several of therecipients and this film tells the story of how just five of those letters changed peoples lives forever. Two Wives at One Wedding Tom Murray and his new bride’s wedding day takes a turn for the worse when a mysterious woman arrives uninvited with a startling revelation – she claims to be Tom’s wife. Annette is a French woman who Tom had a wartime romance with at the end ofthe Second World War after he was injured near Normandy and she nursed him back to health. It is then that Annette claims themarriage took place, something Tom has no memory of. She is willing to divorce Tom but only with a 10,000 settlement. Blackmailed and with his promising medical career in the balance should the story reach the papers, Tom must hunt down the facts to determine if Annette is really telling the truth.
There are Victorian country-house shenanigans aplenty in Impromptu: novelist George Sand (Judy Davis, affected but pretty charming) has eyes for Franz Liszt's young protégé Chopin (Hugh Grant, solid as always, but burdened by a silly Polish accent and a script that never lets him stretch out), but various lovers, jealous rivals, and Chopin's own overdeveloped sense of propriety conspire to confound her. Impromptu is witty but overlong--probably 20 minutes of hijinks and repartee, not to mention several completely gratuitous and redundant characters, could have been sliced from the film. Davis plays Sand as an impetuous, overgrown tomboy, outraging her genteel hosts by wearing pants, chomping cigars, and falling off horses; her coterie of artist-friends assure us, in a series of naked plot devices, that she nonetheless has a heart of gold. It's all good silly fun, and about as feminist as your average Def Leppard video--the other two developed female characters are ugly stereotypes: a featherbrained, feckless social climber (Emma Thompson, who once again proves she's up for anything) and a spiteful, back-stabbing shrew (the ever-capable Bernadette Peters). Director James Lapine clearly belongs to the Dr Quinn: Medicine Woman school of historical accuracy, so don't expect to learn anything about the period or the artists themselves. --Miles Bethany
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