Based on a novel by Susan Isaacs, Shining Through is uncomfortably close to Alfred Hitchcock's Notorious. This World War II drama concerns a love affair between a spy (Michael Douglas) and a secretary (Melanie Griffith) that goes south when duty turns him cold and pushes her into dangerous, behind-the-lines intelligence work. Liam Neeson plays the gentleman Nazi unwittingly providing Griffith with cover as domestic help. The best parts of the film are the twists and turns in the romance (Douglas is very good at playing a character who can turn off all feeling at will) at the beginning; the German scenes are less compelling despite such high stakes for the heroine. The climax--taking us back to Notorious whether it wants to or not--is quite gripping, largely due to Douglas's performance.--Tom Keogh
One of Alfred Hitchcock's finest pre-Hollywood films, the 1936 Secret Agent stars a young John Gielgud as a British spy whose death is faked by his intelligence superiors. Reinvented with a new identity and outfitted with a wife (Madeleine Carroll), Gielgud's character is sent on assignment with a cold-blooded accomplice (Peter Lorre) to assassinate a German agent. En route, the counterfeit couple keeps company with an affable American (Robert Young), who turns out to be more than he seems after the wrong man is murdered by Gielgud and Lorre. Dense with interwoven ideas about false names and real identities, about appearances as lies and the brutality of the hidden, and about the complicity of those who watch the anarchy that others do, Secret Agent declared that Alfred Hitchcock was well along the road to mastery as a filmmaker and, more importantly, knew what it was he wanted to say for the rest of his career. --Tom Keogh
Elegant, all-star production, introducing Albert Finney as the first screen Hercule Poirot. A no-good American tycoon lies dead with twelve dagger wounds, but which of the passengers is the guilty party? Includes an OscarÂ® winning performance from Ingrid Bergman
Just the name "Orient Express" conjures up images of a bygone era. Add an all-star cast (including Sean Connery, Ingrid Bergman, Jacqueline Bisset and Lauren Bacall, to name a few) and Agatha Christie's delicious plot and how can you go wrong? Particularly if you add in Albert Finney as Christie's delightfully pernickety sleuth, Hercule Poirot. Someone has knocked off nasty Richard Widmark on this train trip and, to Poirot's puzzlement, everyone seems to have a motive--just the set-up for a terrific whodunit. Though it seems like an ensemble film, director Sidney Lumet gives each of his stars their own solo and each makes the most of it. Bergman went so far as to win an Oscar for her role. But the real scene-stealer is the ever-reliable Finney as the eccentric detective who never misses a trick. --Marshall Fine
Titles Comprise When Harry Met Sally: Brimming over with style intelligence and flashing wit this splendid irresistible film from director Rob Reiner is one of the best-loved romantic comedies of all time. Featuring dazzling performances from Meg Ryan Billy Crystal Carrie Fisher and Bruno Kirby exceptional music from Harry Connick Jr. and an Oscar-nominated screenplay by Nora Ephron When Harry Met Sally is an explosively funny commentary on friendships courtship - and other hardships - of the modern age. Will sex ruin a perfect relationship between a man and a woman? That's what Harry (Crystal) and Sally (Ryan) debate during their trip from Chicago to New York. And eleven years later they're sill no closer to finding the answer. Will these two best friends ever accept that they're meant for each other... or will they continue to deny the attraction that's existed since the first moment when Harry met Sally? Thelma & Louise:Thelma (Geena Davis) is a bored housewife. Louise (Susan Sarandon) is a waitress at a coffee shop. Together they sneak off in a '66 T-bird convertible for a three-day fishing trip. However things don't go quite according to plan. An encounter with a drunken foul-mouthed would-be rapist transforms their quiet getaway weekend into a cross-country escape that will change their lives forever. Overboard: It's the craziest mix-up ever! Goldie Hawn and Kurt Russell dazzle the screen in this buoyant and screwball comedy of memory-making and memory-faking. One of Hollywood's most dynamic screen pairs Hawn and Russell make the most of every hilarious situation in this delightful riches to rags romance that's perfect entertainment for anyone who appreciates a great practical joke. Hawn is Joanna Stayton the pampered wife of a pretentious yacht-owning socialite. When their boat gets stuck for repairs Joanna employs carpenter Dean Profitt (Russell) to improve her closet space. But when Dean asks to be paid he's blatantly turned down by the nothing is ever good enough for me Joanna. So when Joanna falls overboard and gets a bad case of amnesia Dean takes advantage of the situation and in a stroke of retributive genius tells her that she's his wife and the mother of his four unruly children!
This mammoth box set includes the following BBC Shakespeare Adaptations: 1. Romeo And Juliet - Directed by Alvin Rakoff (1978) 2. Richard II - Directed by Jane Howell (1983) 3. As You Like It - Directed by Basil Coleman (1978) 4. Julius Caesar - Directed by Herbert Wise (1979) 5. Measure For Measure - Directed by Desmond Davis (1979) 6. Henry VIII - Directed Kevin Billington (1979) 7. Henry IV: Parts I & II - Directed by David Giles (1979) 8. Henry V: Parts I & II - Directed by Davi
Ash (Ben Cross) and Anjuli (Amy Irving) are two star-crossed lovers caught up in this passionate and haunting love story. Based on the best selling novel by M. M. Kaye The Far Pavilions is set in the India of the British Raj at the end of the 19th Century against the spectacular and epic sweep of battle treachery and intrigue. An all star cast including Omar Sharif Sir John Gielgud Christopher Lee Rossano Brazzi Robert Hardy Saeed Jaffery and Rupert Everett feature in
From director Tony Richardson comes this brilliant retelling of tragic events during the Crimean War between Britain and Russia in the 1850s. A British cavalry division, led by the overbearing Lord Cardigan (Trevor Howard), engages in an infamously reckless strategic debacle against a Russian artillery battery. An inept chain of command and the arrogance of the aristocratic officers nearly destroys the brigade. Interpersonal wars within the unit, including unfaithful wives and a rivalry between Lord Cardigan and Captain Nolan (David Hemmings), heighten the conflict.
Classic version of Hugo's tragic tale of unrequited love. Quasimodo is the deformed bellringer of Notre Dame taunted and brutalised by the townspeople because of his repellent appearance. Despite his outward appearance however Quasimodo has a tender heart as he demonstrates when he falls in love with beautiful gypsy girl Esmerelda.
A 1987 espionage thriller, The Whistle Blower stars Michael Caine as Frank Jones, a businessman and regular patriotic war veteran whose son Bob (Nigel Havers) is a Russian linguist who works at GCHQ. Bob begins to express doubts to his father about aspects of his work; days later, police report to Frank that his son has died in a fall. A verdict of accidental death is recorded. However, in the midst of his grief, Frank is puzzled by aspects of the death and decides to conduct his own investigation. In so doing he finds himself pitted against an utterly unscrupulous Secret Service prepared to stop at nothing, including murder, to cover up their operations. Set at the time when concerns about GCHQ were at their height and the Cold War had yet to thaw, many of the film's concerns seem, years subsequently, to be thankfully dated. Moreover, it's hard to believe that the bumbling British Secret Services would actually be capable of organising a convivial soiree in a brewery, let alone orchestrate the sort of skulduggery they perpetrate here. Still, with a cast that features all the usual British suspects (Sir John Gielgud, James Fox, Gordon Jackson) there's no doubting the pedigree of The Whistle Blower, which, despite its ostensibly uncomfortable message, actually makes for very agreeable comfort viewing. Michael Caine is especially fine as Michael Caine. --David Stubbs
David Lynch creator of Twin Peaks and acclaimed director of 'Eraserhead' 'Blue Velvet' and 'Wild At Heart' directs this bizarre but true story of courage and human dignity. John Hurt gives the performance of a lifetime as John Merrick the worst ""freak"" known to Victorian medical science a man whose body is hideously distorted into a grotesque parody of an elephant. Rescued from a travelling freak show by Sir Frederick Treves Merrick gradually reveals himself to be a strangely sweet and gentle man remarkably unembittered by the degradation and torment he suffered at the circus. Beautifully shot by Freddie Francis and with an excellent supporting cast including Sir John Gielgud Anne Bancroft and Dame Wendy Hiller 'The Elephant Man' is a compelling moving and enchanting story. The film was nominated for eight Oscars including Best Picture Best Director and Best Actor.
Richard Attenborough's award-winning epic recounts the life and times of Mahatma Gandhi. In South Africa a young Indian lawyer is booted off a train for refusing to ride second-class. Upon his return to his native India and fed up with the unjust political system he joins the Indian Congress Party which encourages social change through passive resistance. When his subversive activities land him in jail masses of low-skilled workers strike to support his non-violent yet revolutionary position. Back in India Gandhi renounces the Western way of life and struggles to organize Indian labor against British colonialism. A strike costs many British soldiers their lives so the crown responds by slaughtering 1 500 Indians. Enraged the ascetic spiritual leader continues to preach pacifism until he has lead India out from under the tyranny of British imperialism.
Sir John Gielgud is joined by an outstanding repertory of actors - including Dame Peggy Ashcroft Sir Anthony Hopkins Lee Remick Ian Richardson and Julian Glover - in this pioneering imaginative series demonstrating the immense variety and emotional impact of English-language poetry from the fourteenth century to the contemporary era. Screened in 1984 and compiled by writer and poet Anthony Thwaite Six Centuries of Verse was the first television series to provide a systematic and chronological overview of the art taking in Chaucer the Medieval and Renaissance periods Shakespeare the Metaphysical poets Milton the Romantic period and modernism through to Philip Larkin and Ted Hughes; the chosen poems both classics and overlooked treasures are placed into context historically and geographically and read in richly evocative settings.
In the dying days of Empire, Ancient Rome falls under the rule of Caligula, the most evil and perverse emperor ever to wield power over men. Director and softcore legend Tinto Brass and Penthouse publisher Bob Guccione team up to craft the most expensive, excessive erotic production ever filmed.Emperor Caligula is an incestuous, psychopathic despot, hell bent on bloodshed and sodomy in this orgiastic fever dream that plays like a Fellini movie with money shots.Watch with ever increasing shock and awe as Caligula, the twisted dictator brings an empire, and the women of Rome, to their knees, in an explosion of lust, lesbianism, torture and bloodshed.
Fill a bowl with alpine strawberries, break out the Château Lafite (1899, of course) and bask in Brideshead Revisited, the 1981 miniseries based on Evelyn Waugh's classic novel, adapted for the screen by John Mortimer (Rumpole of the Bailey). In his breakthrough role, Jeremy Irons stars as Charles Ryder, a disillusioned Army captain who is moved to reflect on his "languid days" in the "enchanted castle" that was Brideshead, home of the aristocratic Marchmain family, whose acquaintance Charles made in the company of an Oxford classmate, the charming wild-child Sebastian. Anthony Andrews costars as the doomed Sebastian, whose beauty is "arresting" and "whose eccentricities and behaviour seemed to know no bounds". The "entitled and enchanted" Sebastian takes Charles under his wing ("Charles, what a lot you have to learn"), but vows early on that he is "not going to let [Charles] get mixed up with [his] family." But mixed up Charles gets. He becomes a friend and confidante, not to mention a lover, to Sebastian's sister Julia (Diana Quick). Meanwhile, the self-destructive Sebastian's life spirals out of control. Brideshead Revisited boasts a distinguished ensemble cast, including Laurence Olivier in his Emmy Award-winning role as the exiled Lord Marchmain, Claire Bloom as Lady Marchmain, and the magnificent John Gielgud as Charles's estranged father. Grand locations and a haunting musical score make this a memorable revisit of an irretrievable bygone era. --Donald Liebenson
On the brink of Civil War King Henry IV (John Gielgud) attempts to consolidate his reign while fretting with unease over his sons seeming neglect of his royal duties. Hal (Keith Baxter) the young Prince openly consorts with Sir John Falstaff (Orson Welles) and his company of “Diana’s foresters Gentlemen of the shade Minions of the moon”. Hal’s friendship with the fat knight substitutes for his estrangement from his father. Both Falstaff and the King are old and tired; both rely on Hal for comfort in their final years while the young Prince the future Henry V nurtures his own ambitions. Orson Welles considered Chimes at Midnight his personal favorite of all his films. Perhaps the most radical and groundbreaking of all Shakespeare adaptations the film condenses the Bard’s Henriad cycle into a single focused narrative. Its international cast comprises of Jeanne Moreau Fernando Rey Margaret Rutherford and Ralph Richardson as the narrator in addition to Welles and Gielgud. The film’s harrowing war scenes have proven especially influential cited in Kenneth Branagh’s Henry V as well as Mel Gibson’s Braveheart.
Unavailable on any format for 20 years Becket makes its worldwide DVD premiere following extensive restoration aided by Martin Scorsese's Film Foundation. Becket Becket is one of the great historical epics and features one of cinema's most legendary pairings; Richard Burton and Peter O'Toole. The story tells of the tempestuous friendship between King Henry. The King appoints his trusted companion to the esteemed position of Archbishop of Canterbury believing his loyalty will give him control over the church. However Becket takes his new duties seriously and his devotion to God soon brings him into direct conflict with the State and his lifelong friend.
Cheryl Campbell stars alongside John Gielgud and Harry Andrews as Lady Bundle Brent Agatha Christie's most glamorous amateur sleuth in a stylish, feature-length television adaptation of the famous whodunit: a deadly game of Cluedo combining international treachery, romance and murder!Anticipating a weekend of leisure and pleasure, a group of Foreign Office acquaintances arrive at the palatial Hampshire estate of the Marquis of Caterham. The mood suddenly darkens when a notoriously hard-to-rouse guest fails to wake at all; and when another sinister death comes to light, the surviving guests are plunged into nervous speculation! Enter Lady Eileen Brent, the Marquis' enchanting and high-spirited daughter, affectionately known as 'Bundle'. She teams up with elegant idler Jimmy Thesiger to seek out the truth amid rumours of missing confidential papers and a cabal centred around a seedy nightclub called The Seven Dials...
William Shakespeare's repute spans the world the beauty of his language, his profound insight into human nature and the complexity and integrity of his characters, confirming him as the greatest ever playwright. In 1978, the BBC set itself the task of filming all of William Shakespeare's plays for television. The resulting productions, renowned for their loyalty to the text, utilised the best theatrical and television directors and brought acclaimed performances from some of the finest actors. This collection includes 5 of the hugely popular tragedies: HAMLET KING LEAR MACBETH OTHELLO ROMEO AND JULIET
In this classic tale of good and evil the wise old wizard Merlin (Sam Neill) recounts how he and Arthur (Paul Curran) fought to overcome wickedness and defeat Mab, the Queen of Darkness (Miranda Richardson). When King Constant (John Gielgud), Arthurs grandfather, was slain by the pagan Vortigern (Rutger Hauer), a civil war broke out. Merlin was created by the sorceress Mab so the Old Ways would not be forgotten. Merlin refused to be a leader of dark powers, for he was raised by Ambrosia, a be...
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