A transatlantic principal cast lends classic film noir appeal to this stylish cleverly plotted thriller adapted from a story (and earlier television serial) by Francis Durbridge one of Britain's most successful crime writers and creator of legendary sleuth Paul Temple. Jointly adapted by Ken Hughes and Oscar winner Guy Green Portrait of Alison is presented here in a brand-new transfer from the original film elements in its as-exhibited theatrical aspect ratio. Investigative journalist Lewis Forrester and his female passenger are killed when their car plunges over a cliff in Italy; Lewis leaves behind two brothers portraitist Tim and pilot Dave. Although the case is closed Inspector Colby of Scotland Yard does not believe Lewis's death was accidental. And as Tim is hired by the dead girl's father to paint her portrait from a photograph a chain of mysterious events is set in motion which for Colby appears to confirm that Tim himself is a murderer... SPECIAL FEATURES  Original Theatrical Trailer (textless)  US Titles  Image Gallery  Original Press Release PDF
It's the boys night out, time for bawdy fun. Yet revelry alone can't satisfy these community leaders out on a lark. There's still an adventure theycan be duped into trying, onr that will transform a certain Count from moldering dust into bloodlusting flesh. Taste the Blood of Dracula, another film in Hammer Studios' cycle of hemogobbling Victorian-era horror, is a showcase of why Hmmer became the name in Gothic terror. The solid cast and rich production design raise goosebumps of real-life fear and otherworldy dread. And Christopher Lee dons his red-lined cape again to become Evil Incarnate. He's Count Dracula. a being neither dead nor alive...but his movies are livelier than ever.
This was the first James Bond adventure produced after the success of Star Wars, so it jumped on the sci-fi bandwagon by combining the suave appeal of Agent 007 (once again played by Roger Moore) with enough high-tech hardware and special effects to make Luke Skywalker want to join Her Majesty's Secret Service. After the razzle-dazzle of The Spy Who Loved Me, this attempt to latch onto a trend proved to be a case of overkill, even though it brought back the steel-toothed villain Jaws (Richard Kiel) and scored a major hit at the box office. This time Bond is up against Drax (Michel Lonsdale), a criminal industrialist who wants to control the world from his orbiting space station. In keeping with his well-groomed style, Bond thwarts this maniacal Neo-Hitler's scheme with the help of a beautiful, sleek-figured scientist (played by Lois Chiles with all the vitality of a department store mannequin). There's a grand-scale climax involving space shuttles and ray guns, but despite the film's popular success, this is one Bond adventure that never quite gets off the launching pad. It's as if the caretakers of the James Bond franchise had forgotten that it's Bond-and not a barrage of gizmos and gadgets (including a land-worthy Venetian gondola)--that fuels the series' success. Despite Moore's passive performance (which Pauline Kael described as "like an office manager who is turning into dead wood but hanging on to collect his pension"), there are even a few renegade Bond-philes who consider it one of their favourites. --Jeff Shannon]In the new "making of" featurette the enormous complexities of putting together a feature of this scope are talked about by all those involved, from genius production designer Ken Adam to special effects whiz and Thunderbirds alumnus Derek Meddings (Lois Chiles reveals that to this day she is delighted to have had the most obscene name of any Bond girl; the behind-the-scenes tale of the boat hanging over the waterfall is astonishing). Sensibly enough the supplementary documentary celebrates the work of the special effects men from John Stears to Derek Meddings and John Richardson. The audio commentary has executive producer Michael Wilson in conversation with director Lewis Gilbert, screenwriter Christopher Wood and associate producer William Cartlidge, who are all obviously having a good time watching the movie together again. Altogether, another handsome DVD presentation in this impeccable series. --Mark Walker
Born Free is a bona fide family classic. The tale of how Kenya game warden George Adamson and his wife Joy (on whose book the film is based, with Virginia McKenna and Bill Travers in the principal roles) adopted and raised three orphaned lion cubs, taking a particular shine to the one they call Elsa before helping her return to the wild, is familiar by now; so is John Barry's Oscar-winning title song. And while the movie has its flaws (it contains references to "Bwana George" and such that would be considered frightfully un-PC nowadays), the animal footage, especially that of the lions in their various stages of development, is extraordinary and timelessly entertaining. The 1972 sequel doesn't quite measure up to its predecessor but, in an era when most "family entertainment" tends toward the insipid at best, Living Free is still a worthwhile venture. Susan Hampshire and Nigel Davenport take over the roles of Joy and George Adamson, the British couple who, while stationed in Kenya, adopted three orphaned lion cubs. Living Free finds the dying Elsa, their favourite of the original three and now a mother herself, returning to the Adamsons, who must figure out what to do with Elsa's three cubs, who develop an unfortunate appetite for domestic livestock. The film is on the slow side, but once again it's the animals who steal the show; the footage of the young lions interacting with other beasts, from wild giraffes and rhinos to a pet dog, is remarkable. --Sam Graham
The 1953 fast paced comedy finally makes it to DVD in a Special Collectors' edition.
This classic noir mystery from the team of Carol Reed and Graham Greene is regarded to be the best filmwork of both of these extreme talents. The Third Man features Joseph Cotten as Holly Martins a pulp novelist who has come to post-WWII Vienna with the promise of work from his friend Harry Lime (Orson Welles). When he finds that Lime has just been killed in a questionable car accident he decides to remain in the city to investigate his friend's mysterious death. The Third Man is a masterpiece of melancholia featuring extraordinary writing acting and directing as well as a classic zither score by Anton Karas.
Scotland Yard was perhaps the best-known series to emerge from Anglo-Amalgamated's output of crime drama. Shot as cinema support features at the company's Merton Park Studios in South Wimbledon, these half-hour thrillers - based on real-life cases from the vaults of London's Metropolitan Police headquarters - were a successful regular feature in cinemas over nearly a decade from the early 1950s onwards. Like sister series Scales of Justice, Scotland Yard is introduced by celebrated writer and criminologist Edgar Lustgarten and presents case after intriguing case, with many solved onscreen by the redoubtable Inspector Duggan (played by Australian-born Russell Napier). This set comprises all 39 films, also featuring appearances by Harry H. Corbett, Peter Bowles, John Le Mesurier, Peter Arne and Robert Raglan, among many others.
The Living Daylights, new boy Timothy Dalton's first Bond outing, gets off to a rocking start with a pre-credits sequence on Gibraltar, and culminates in a witty final showdown with Joe Don Baker's arms dealer, set on a model battlefield full of toy soldiers. While the Aston Martin model whizzing through the car chase has been updated for the late 1980s--including lethal lasers and other deadly gizmos--the plot is pretty standard issue, maybe a little more cluttered and unfocused than usual, involving arms, drugs and diamond smuggling. Nevertheless, the action-formula firmly in place, this one rehearses the moves with ease and throws in some fine acting. Maryam d'Abo, playing a cellist-cum-spy, is the classy main squeeze for 007 (uncharacteristically chaste for once). Dalton, with his wolfish, intelligent features, was a perfectly serviceable secret agent, but never caught on with the viewers, perhaps because everyone was hoping for a presence as charismatic as Sean Connery's in the franchise's glory days.--Leslie Felperin On the DVD: Casting the new Bond takes up much of the "making-of" documentary: first Sam Neill was in the running, but vetoed by Cubby Broccoli, who wanted Timothy Dalton and had considered him as far back as On Her Majesty's Secret Service (but Dalton felt he was just too young at the time). When Dalton proved unavailable, Pierce Brosnan was hired. Then, at the last minute, Brosnan's Remington Steele contract was renewed and he had to drop out. Dalton came back in, on the proviso that he could give Bond a harder, more realistic edge after the action-lite of the Roger Moore years. The second documentary attempts to profile the enigmatic Ian Fleming, who was apparently as mysterious and chameleon-like as his alter ego. The commentary is a miscellaneous selection of edited interviews from various members of the cast and crew. There's also Ah-Ha's "Living Daylights" video, and a "making-of" featurette about it. A brief deleted scene (comic relief--wisely dropped) and trailers complete another strong package. --Mark Walker
Strap on your pantaloons and prepare to travel with Jim Hawkins and Blind Pew to one of the most famous fictional islands in history, Treasure Island. Walt Disney's 1950 adaptation of Robert Louis Stevenson's swashbuckling masterpiece has held up extremely well, with action and characterisations that feel freshly minted (although it's unlikely that the Mouse of today would sanction the high level of booze flowing throughout the picture). Great fun, with nary a wasted frame and, in the character of Robert Newton's much-imitated Long John, one of cinema's most boisterously crowd-pleasing villains ever. (Proving that you can't keep a good--er, bad man down, Newton would return with director Byron Haskins for the enjoyable sequel, Long John Silver.) Watching this classic is like having a flashback to some perfect Technicolor childhood. --Andrew Wright
Taste the Blood of Dracula is one of the best of Christopher Lee's Dracula series for Hammer. A group of businessmen who, out of sight of their families, like nothing more than to frequent brothels and generally behave in sensation-seeking ways, are persuaded by Dracula's servant (a splendidly manic Ralph Bates) that summoning up the orthodontically-challenged aristocrat would be the ultimate thrill. They warily agree, purchasing relics for the necessary ritual from a shifty dealer (Roy Kinnear--who else?), but panic halfway through the proceedings and decide to kick their initiator to death instead. Unfortunately, it's too late, and Dracula materialises as they make good their escape, swearing to avenge the murder of his servant. While the subsequent descent into paranoia by the three villains-Dracula himself hardly counts in comparison with this odious bunch--isn't exactly the stuff of Rosemary's Baby, it still infuses the plot with an element of psychodrama that is unusual for a Hammer fang-fest. There are strong performances pretty much all round, but Peter "Clegg" Sallis quakes exceptionally nicely as one of the trio of miscreants. The sets, props and costumes are of an unusually high order, too. --Roger Thomas
James Bond (Roger Moore) may have met his match in Octopussy (Maud Adams) an entrancing beauty involved in a devastating military plot to destroy detente. From the palaces of India to a speeding circus train in Germany and a mid-air battle on the wing of a high-flying jet only Agent 007 can stop the nightmarish scheme!
Timothy Dalton makes his debut as secret agent 007 in this action-packed Cold War thriller. James Bond is given an assignment to guard the life of a high-ranking Russian defector. The trouble is the defection is nothing but a scam to enable the pesky Russkie to perpetrate a perfidious arms deal. Along the way Bond hooks up with the delectable cellist Kara Malovy (Maryam D'Abo) who is not all that she seems to be...
Hammer icon Barbara Shelley stars alongside cult actor Lee Patterson in a brilliantly taut and compelling thriller from the late '50s. Deadly Record is featured here in a brand-new transfer from the original film elements, in its as-exhibited theatrical aspect ratio.When pilot Trevor Hamilton touches down at London Airport, his wife Jenny is not there to meet him. Their marriage is on the point of collapse, and when Jenny is found dead, Hamilton becomes Suspect Number One. With the police searching for enough evidence to arrest him, Hamilton desperately interviews everyone in Jenny's social circle to find the real murderer!SPECIAL FEATURE: Original Theatrical Trailer
Agent 007 (Roger Moore) blasts into orbit in this action-packed adventure that takes him to Venice Rio de Janeiro and outer space. When Bond investigates the hijacking of an American space shuttle he and beautiful CIA agent Holly Goodhead (Lois Chiles) are soon locked in a life-or-death struggle against Hugo Drax (Michael Lonsdale) a power-mad industrialist whose horrific scheme may destroy all human life on earth!
For anyone who travels the congested roads of Britain these days the utterly delightful Genevieve will provoke a wistful, nostalgic sigh of regret for times gone by when there were no motorways, traffic jams were almost non-existent and friendly police motorcyclists riding classic Nortons (without helmets) cheerfully let people driving vintage cars race each other along country lanes. Even in 1953, Henry Cornelius gentle comedy must have seemed pleasingly old-fashioned, concerned as it is with the antics of two obsessive enthusiasts on the annual London to Brighton classic car rally. The principal quartet could hardly be bettered: though John Gregson is something of a cold fish as Genevieves proud owner, the radiant warmth of Dinah Sheridan as his long-suffering wife more than compensates. Kenneth More is ideally cast in the role of boastful rival enthusiast and Kay Kendall has possibly the best comic moment of all when she astonishes everyone with her drunken trumpet playing. Cornelius also directed Ealings Passport to Pimlico, so his sure eye for gently mocking and celebrating British eccentricities is never in doubt. The screenplay by (American writer) William Rose now seems like an elegy to a way of life long disappeared: the pivotal moment when Gregson stops to humour a passing old buffer about his love of classic cars comes from a vanished era of politeness before road rage; as does the priceless exchange between hotel owner Joyce Grenfell and her aged resident: "No ones ever complained before", says the mystified Grenfell after Gregson and Sheridan moan about the facilities, "Are they Americans?" asks the old lady, unable to conceive that anyone British could say such things. Genevieve is both a wonderful period comedy and a nostalgic portrait of England the way it used to be. On the DVD: the "Special Edition" version of Genevieve has a decent new documentary with reminiscences from Dinah Sheridan (still radiant), the director of photography and the films editor, who talk about the challenges of filming on location. Most treasurable of all, though, is legendary harmonica player Larry Adler, who remembers his distinctive score with much fondness and is not at all embittered by his Hollywood blacklisting, which meant he was denied an Academy Award nomination. Theres also a short piece on some of the locations used (which for economic reasons were mostly in the lanes around Pinewood studios), cast biographies and a gallery of stills. The 4:3 ratio colour picture looks pretty good for its age and the mono sound is adequate. --Mark Walker
A lonely young boy is caught up in a sinister and intriguing murder-mystery in this classic British film based on a short story by Graham Greene and directed with great style by Carol Reed both of who received Academy Award nominations. It was the first film on which Greene and Reed collaborated and remains both a moving portrayal of lost innocence and a genuine classic of British cinema.
Michael Gough gives a gloriously overwrought performance in this notorious 1959 horror feature. A box-office triumph, it was shot at Merton Park Studios in the relatively new CinemaScope format and presented with the additional gimmick of 'HypnoVista'. Horrors of the Black Museum was the first in what has been dubbed Anglo-Amalgamated's 'Sadian trilogy' (with Circus of Horrors and Peeping Tom), in which the keynote is sensationalistic, sexually charged violence. It is featured here in a brand...
A young woman who has been abused and taken advantage of by all the men in her life finally finds a man she believes truly loves her but she snaps when she finds out that he too is cheating on her.
The very first film in the ever popular Doctor series. Here we are first introduced to Simon Sparrow (Dirk Bogarde) and follow his hilarious adventures as a student doctor in St. Swithins Hospital - from naive bumbling trainee to his first day as a fully qualified doctor. In these early formative years he learns how to cope with the occupational hazards of being a medical student such as fiery ward sisters frightening surgeons over-knowledgeable patients the eccentricities o
The best of the James Bond adventures starring Roger Moore as tuxedoed Agent 007, this globe-trotting thriller introduced the steel-toothed Jaws (played by seven-foot-two-inch-tall actor Richard Kiel) as one of the most memorable and indestructible Bond villains. Jaws is so tenacious that Moore looks genuinely frightened, which adds to the abundant fun. This time Bond teams up with yet another lovely Russian agent (Barbara Bach) to track a pair of nuclear submarines that the nefarious Stromberg (Curt Jürgens) plans to use in his plot to start World War III. Featuring lavish sets designed by the great Ken Adam (Dr. Strangelove), The Spy Who Loved Me is a galaxy away from the suave Sean Connery exploits of the 1960s, but the film works perfectly as grandiose entertainment. From cavernous undersea lairs to the vast horizons of Egypt, this Bond thriller keeps its tongue firmly in its cheek with a plot tailor-made for daredevil escapism. --Jeff Shannon
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