All the episodes and Christmas Specials.
Quite often the problem with Morecambe and Wise "Greatest Hits" compilations is that they home in on the handful of sketches and routines, which are repeated to the point of nauseam--a dancing Angela Rippon, for example. There are certainly a few such chestnuts here--Glenda Jackson in the play "what Ernie wrote", the breakfast striptease routine and "Singing In The Rain", though that particular classic can bear up to any number of repeated viewings. Much of the stuff here, however, is less familiar. There are seemingly inconsequential sketches of Eric and Ernie in their flat and even--Laurel and Hardy-style--in bed together in which their oddly intimate, bickering relationship is better explored than in some of the stagier items. Much of the scripts and skits here haven't stood the test of time--old innuendos or obsolete references that seem to belong to the 50s, let alone the 70s. But even the creakiest material is rescued not just by Eric's punctually daft persona but also the often-patronised little Ern who, as this selection shows, was no passenger. Among guest highlights, the sight of Arthur Lowe breaking, surreally, from a Captain Bligh into a Humphrey Bogart impression is one of the many ad-lib gems here. On the DVD: Full screen, special features consisting of scene selection and artist profiles, in which it is outlined just how many years Morecambe and Wise toiled and honed down their act, in music hall radio, film and TV. By the time of their 1977 zenith, when 28 million people watched their Christmas show, they had worked together for over 30 years. --David Stubbs
In this hilarious Britcom classic a newly minted priest learns the ropes from a crusty veteran with a gentle brogue and a sharp eye on the bottom line. Arthur Lowe (Dad's Army) stars as Father Duddleswell wily pastor of St. Jude's parish in suburban London. Daniel Abineri is the eager young priest who gets on-the-job training in the finer points of sustaining and supporting the flock. A tart-tongued housekeeper (Gabrielle Day) and imperious Mother Superior (Sheila Keith) add to the fun. It's an affectionate send-up of 1950s Catholicism written by Peter de Rosa and based on his popular autobiographical novels. Episodes Comprise: Series 1 Baptism of Fire The Bells of St Jude's The Parish Bazaar The Doomsday Chair Father & Mother The Tennis Match The Seal of Confession Series 2 Blessings from Heaven Father Neil's First Miracle Fatal Lady The Heart of a Curate All at Sea The Season of Goodwill A Back to Front Wedding Series 3 Things Are Not What They Seem Women Beddings and Weddings Fire & Brimstone A Legend Comes to Stay Porgy & Bess A Mixed-Up Marriage
First aired in December 1960 Coronation Street is the longest running most watched soap opera in Britain. This boxed set of the best episodes from the 1990s is released to celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of everyone's favourite show. Winning numerous accolades the show was described as the most successful television programme in British history by the Royal Television Society and creator Tony Warren was made an MBE in 1976. The dramas of Weatherfield's residents have kept viewers enthralled throughout the soap s history and this volume of classic episodes from the 1990s allows fans to revisit key moments and storylines of that decade. Newcomers include the unhappily married Des and Steph Barnes loner Roy Cropper wheelchair-bound battleaxe Maud Grimes butcher Fred Elliott scheming barmaid Tanya Poole aspiring model Raquel Wolstenhulme and the troublesome Battersby family; noted writers include Shameless creator Paul Abbott and actor and playwright Stephen Mallatratt.
First time on Blu-Ray in the UK. The film spin-off from the much-loved TV comedy series starring Arthur Lowe as the commander of an incompetent Home Guard platoon in wartime Britain. With the trusted comedy genius from the TV series shining through, Mainwaring and company save the day when a crew of a German aircraft take the vicar and villagers hostage in the church.
Set in Victorian England, Robert Hamer's 1949 masterpiece Kind Hearts and Coronets remains the most gracefully mordant of Ealing Comedies. Dennis Price plays Louis D'Ascoyne, the would-be Duke of Chalfont whose Mother was spurned by her noble family for marrying an Italian singer for love. Louis resolves to murder the several of his relatives ahead of him in line for the Dukedom, all of whom are played by Alec Guinness, in order to avenge his Mother--for, as Louis observes, " revenge is a dish which people of taste prefer to eat cold". He gets away with it, only to be arraigned for the one murder of which he is innocent. Guinness' virtuoso performances have been justly celebrated, ranging as they do from a youthful D'Ascoyne concealing his enthusiasm for public houses from his priggish wife ("she has views on such places") to a brace of doomed uncles and one aunt, ranging from the doddery to the peppery. Miles Malleson is a splendid doggerel-spouting hangman, while Valerie Hobson and Joan Greenwood take advantage of unusually strong female roles. But the great joy of Kind Hearts and Coronets is the way in which its appallingly black subject matter (considered beyond the pale by many critics at the time) is conveyed in such elegantly ironic turns of phrase by Dennis Price's narrator/anti-hero. Serial murder has never been conducted with such exquisite manners and discreet charm. --David Stubbs
Woodfall Film's portmanteau feature is a major rediscovery, never before released in the UK. Comprised of three compelling tales, it brings together a trio of Britain's most innovative directors and embodies the creativity and audacity at the heart of Swinging Sixties cinema. Comic legend Zero Mostel (A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum) mixes slapstick and surrealism as a tardy opera star traversing London in Ride of the Valkyrie while The White Bus , scripted by Shelagh Delaney (A Taste of Honey), blends realism and poetry with poetry with New Wave detachment as a young woman travels home from the north of England. Tony Richardson (Tom Jones) directs Vanessa Redgrave in the final part of the film, Red and blue a musical, melancholy romantic reverie. Special features: Presented in High Definition and Standard Definition About The White Bus (1968, 59 mins): documentary on the making of Lindsay Anderson's segment Lindsay Anderson Introduction/Stills Gallery (1968, 5 mins): an audio recording of Anderson addressing the NFT in 1968, played over stills Behind the scenes of Red and Blue (1966, 7 mins): Kevin Brownlow's 16mm footage of cast and crew Kevin Brownlow on Red, White and Zero (2018, 15 mins): the Red and Blue and The White Bus editor on making the films Billy Williams on Red and Blue (2018, 14 mins): the cinematographer recalls working with Tony Richardson on the segment No Arks (1969, 7 mins): political cartoonist Abu's satirical reworking of the Noah story, narrated by Vanessa Redgrave Audio commentary by Adrian Martin Illustrated booklet with new writing by Sarah Wood, Paul Fairclough, So Mayer and Philip Kemp and Katy McGahan, plus full film credits
Classic TV comedy from the Home Guards at Walmington-On-Sea who are both bumbling and ineffectual as well as incompetent which makes life chaotic for all around! Originally transmitted in 1968 (and recently voted no.4 in Britain's Best Sitcom) this DVD release contains all of the first series followed by the surviving episodes of the second series. Unfortunately the other three instalments remain missing and presumed lost forever... Episodes from Series 1: The Man And The Hour:
In the 1970s the British film industry went through a craze for turning hit TV comedies into big screen features. From On the Buses (1971) to Porridge (1979), Dad's Army was one of the few which made the transition with style. Set in the small south coast town of Walmington-on-Sea in 1940, the film does have the structure of three TV episodes remade and sequenced together. Beginning with the formation of the local Home Guard, the company has a self-contained adventure on military manoeuvres, before a finale which allows for some heroism as three German officers take over the church hall. Dad's Army has all the gentle character comedy of the classic BBC TV series, benefiting enormously by retaining the entire television cast, headed by the incomparable Arthur Lowe as the blustering Captain Mainwaring and supported by the equally wonderful John Le Mesurier and Clive Dunn. The cinema budget allows far superior production values to the original series, with a loving re-creation of 1940's England and some surprisingly beautiful cinematography. Above all, the film is both funny and a nostalgic reminder of a time when ordinary middle-aged and old men could be both real and movie heroes. --Gary S. Dalkin
Cult political satire starring Peter Cook as Michael Rimmer an opinion poll executive who climbs the ladder until he becomes President of Great Britain.
Episodes Comprise: 1. A happy wartime Christmas often meant pooling coupons even for simple festive fare such as shortbread biscuits and shelter cake. 2. Captain Mainwaring arranges for a sherry party for local dignitaries but during the festivities an unwelcome guest arrives. 3. As Christmas is coming the Vicar decides to hold a bazaar to raise money for comforts for troops on active duty and he asks for contributions from the troop.
Vintage comedy by Jimmy Perry and David Croft. As Walmington-on-Sea trembles at the thought of a mighty Nazi invasion the indefatigable Captain Mainwaring and his eager Home Guard are ready and waiting - regardless that some of them are so old they can hardly stand up... Episodes Comprise: 1. Ring Dem Bells 2. When You've Got To Go 3. Is There Still Honey For Tea? 4. Come In Your Time Is Up 5. High Finance 6. The Face On The Poster 7. My Brother And I 8. The Love Of Three Oranges
If the mark of a successful TV comedy is that repeat showings attract new viewers, then Dad's Army must be one of the best. The Very Best of Dad's Army includes five episodes almost covering its whole time span--from 1969's "Sons of the Sea", an entertaining caper when lost at home, to 1977's final episode "Never Too Old", in which sparky Corporal Jones marries his longtime sweetheart, and the ageing Second World War platoon drinks a toast to Britain's Home Guard. Along with these is 1973's "The Deadly Attachment", where a captive U-boat crew falls prey to dummy hand-grenades; 1972's "Keep Young and Beautiful", a touching tale of looking younger and sticking together; and the same year's "Asleep in the Deep", where the platoon uses its skill and judgement, plus a little luck, to escape a life-threatening situation. Fans and newcomers will enjoy the priceless interplay of Arthur Lowe and John le Mesurier, along with the contributions of Clive Dunn, John Laurie, Arnold Ridley, Ian Lavender and James Beck, in this nostalgic depiction of Britain as it once was. On the DVD: The 4:3 picture reproduction has come up well and the dual mono sound is more than adequate. Each episode features six scene selections, while the artist profiles provide brief but relevant biographical details. The half-hour Selection Box gives celebrities past and present a chance to pick their favourite extracts and explain just why they're hooked. Chances are you will be too.--Richard Whitehouse
Five fine episodes of the evergreen Home Guard sitcom here. Dad's Army endures because it combines a healthy dollop of self-mockery with a sense of pride in Britain's lonely defiance against Hitler's might in 1940, encapsulated in the pompous and incompetent yet courageous Captain Mainwaring. Arthur Lowe is sublime in this role. Though he generally acts as a foil to his flippant platoon of funny stereotypes (Walker, Frazier, Godfrey, etc.), his subtle double-takes and apoplectic facial expressions of exasperation are endlessly hilarious. Corporal Jones' doddery recklessness can generally be relied upon to culminate in a finale involving trousers, cries of "Don't panic!" and chases across country but the masterstroke of this series was the casting against type of John Le Mesurier as the vague, aristocratic Sergeant and Lowe as his military but not social superior. These episodes include "The Day The Balloon Went Up" (a typically frantic caper involving a stray barrage balloon), "The Two And A Half Feathers" (including a wonderful Jonesy flashback to his days in the Sudan) and "The Deadly Attachment", in which Pike cheeks the captain of a captive U-Boat crew, who demands his name to add to his "list" of insolent Englanders. "Don't tell him, Pike!" urges Mainwaring. --David Stubbs
A brilliant, bizarre 1973 comedy-horror, Theatre of Blood pitches somewhere between a Hammer horror and the Ealing comedy Kind Hearts and Coronets. Vincent Price stars as the hammy, self-important and thoroughly psychotic Edward Lionheart, a veteran thespian who refuses to play anything other than Shakespeare. Piqued by a circle of critics, whom he feels were disrespectful in their notices and denied him his rightful Best Actor of the Year Award, he decides to murder them one by one in parodies of some of Shakespeare's grislier scenes. He's aided by his daughter Edwina (played by Diana Rigg, often in fake moustache and male drag) and a ghoulish company of dosshouse zombies. Some of the murders are quite extraordinarily gruesome, despite their camp, comedic overtones. Arthur Lowe's henpecked critic has his head sawn off while asleep (in a parody of Cymbeline) and Robert Morley's plumply effete dandy is force-fed a pie made from his beloved poodles, choking him to death (cf Titus Andronicus). Jack Hawkins and Michael Horden also meet unpleasant ends. Theatre of Blood is a genuine and underrated oddity in the annals of British cinema and especially uncomfortable for those who happen to be in the reviewing trade. On the DVD: Theatre of Blood on disc is not a triumph of digital enhancement, with sound blemishes unamended and hazy, faded visuals in places. The only extra is the original trailer. --David Stubbs
The original thirteen episodes from the first series of the Mr Men. Original artwork adapted by Adam Hargreaves.
Brothers and sisters, can we get a witness for Elmer Gantry, a woeful tale of saints and sinners? Burt Lancaster earned his only Oscar as the wide-smiling, glad-handing, soul-saving charlatan Gantry, a salesman who turns his gift for preaching into a career at the pulpit. Climbing on board the barnstorming evangelical tour of revivalist Sister Sharon Falconer (Jean Simmons), Gantry declaims, invokes, and sermonises his way to the top, until a former flame-turned-prostitute (Shirley Jones in an Oscar-winning performance) threatens to reveal his dark past as a womaniser and con man. Lancaster harnesses all his physical vigour and natural charisma for this role, literally throwing himself into his preaching with the suppleness of an acrobat and the sing-song delivery of a gospel singer--he even brays like a hound to show the Holy Spirit within him. Gantry is a showman, pure and simple, and while he doesn't fool true-believer Sister Sharon, he gives her a few object lessons in playing the crowd. Director Richard Brooks, who also took home an Oscar for his screenplay (adapted from the Sinclair Lewis novel), creates a rousing drama both on and off the pulpit, and provides fine roles for an excellent supporting cast, including Arthur Kennedy, Dean Jagger, John McIntire, and singer Patti Page. --Sean Axmaker
Vintage comedy by Jimmy Perry and David Croft. As Walmington-on-Sea trembles at the thought of a mighty Nazi invasion the indefatigable Captain Mainwaring and his eager Home Guard are ready and waiting - regardless that some of them are so old they can hardly stand up... Winner of 3 Writers Guild awards and a BAFTA. Episodes Comprise: 1. Everybody's Trucking 2. Man of Action 3. Gorilla Warfare 4. The Godiva Affair 5. The Captain's Car 6. Turkey Dinner
Vintage comedy by Jimmy Perry and David Croft. As Walmington-on-Sea trembles at the thought of a mighty Nazi invasion the indefatigable Captain Mainwaring and his eager Home Guard are ready and waiting - regardless that some of them are so old they can hardly stand up... Episodes Comprise: 1. Wake-Up Walmington 2. The Making of Private Pike 3. Knights of Madness 4. The Miser's Hoard 5. Number Engaged 6. Never Too Old
In his final TV role, Arthur Lowe (Dad's Army, Pardon the Expression) plays a popular but old-fashioned mathematics master attempting and largely failing to keep order among the unruly boys of Form IIIA at Burgrove Preparatory School, in the fictional rural town of Wilminister. Set in the 1940s, A. J. Wentworth, B.A. skillfully adapts the writings of H.F. Ellis which first appeared in diary form in Punch and later in The New Yorker, before being published in book form; the character of the beleaguered schoolmaster, played to perfection by Lowe, was inspired by Ellis's own experiences as a teacher.The mild-mannered, accident-prone Mr. Wentworth shows an unceasing dedication to the school and its reputation. But he has two major adversaries to deal with: Burgrove's headmaster, the snobbish Reverend R. G. Saunders (Harry Andrews), better known as 'Squid' by the pupils, and the formidable, frequently combative Matron (Marion Mathie Lucia)...
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