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 come-from-behind winner of the 1981 Oscar for Best Picture, Chariots of Fire either strikes you as either a cold exercise in mechanical manipulation or as a tale of true determination and inspiration. The heroes are an unlikely pair of young athletes who ran for Great Britain in the 1924 Paris Olympics: devout Protestant Eric Liddell (Ian Charleson), a divinity student whose running makes him feel closer to God, and Jewish Harold Abrahams (Ben Cross), a highly competitive Cambridge student who has to surmount the institutional hurdles of class prejudice and anti-Semitism. There's delicious support from Ian Holm (as Abrahams's coach) and John Gielgud and Lindsay Anderson as a couple of Cambridge fogies. Vangelis's soaring synthesised score, which seemed to be everywhere in the early 1980s, also won an Oscar. Chariots of Fire was the debut film of British television commercial director Hugh Hudson (Greystoke) and was produced by David Puttnam. --Jim Emerson
James Clavell's The Last Valley is a heartfelt film of paradise found and lost in the midst of the bloody Thirty Years War, a senseless religious conflict long since degenerated into a rabble of looters preying on peasants. It's also a triumph of passion over style. Michael Caine stars as the Captain, a happily tolerant leader whose army of mercenaries--a mix of Protestants and Catholics--murders, pillages and rapes side by side for whichever faction is paying more at the time. Omar Sharif is Vogel, a lone refugee whose flight from the marauding band leads them all to a beautiful village in the mountains. The Captain and Vogel make an unlikely pair: the shrewd mercenary with the dream of peace, and the philosopher-peasant hanging on to his own life in the face of certain death--and their alliance to preserve this Eden and her people stands in contrast to the soldiers who soon become splintered by greed, lust and religious zealotry. Clavell isn't exactly subtle, but his sense of irony is biting: one Christian soldier is ready to lead a mob in righteous battle after a perceived blaspheme, and in the next scene attacks and rapes an innocent Christian maiden he's sworn to protect. The film falters in clumsy battle scenes and awkward dramatic staging, but Caine's complex characterisation of the guarded Captain and Sharif's haunted performance keep the story alive, and the beautiful photography fixes the film like a jewel into its setting. --Sean Axmaker, Amazon.com
Murderous sadistic London gang leader Vic Dakin a mother-obsessed homosexual modeled on real-life gangster Ronnie Kray is worried about potential stool pigeons that may bring down his criminal empire. The brutal Vic cuts the throat of one bloke who has been a little too loose-lipped afraid that his gossiping may turn into a grand operatic performance for the coppers. Vic who enjoys playing at rough trade with his sidekick Wolfe plans a payroll robbery and directs the blackmail
Set in Singapore in the early 1950s, this impressive adaptation of Leslie Thomas' best-selling, scandalous novel centres on a group of naÃ¯ve, young British Army recruits billeted to Malaya who have no experience of either love or war. Both affectionate and affecting in its look at young men in wartime, the film has a wonderful cast which includes Lynn Redgrave (Georgy Girl, The National Health), Hywel Bennett (The Family Way, Twisted Nerve) and Nigel Davenport (The Third Secret, The Mind of Mr. Soames), along with early appearances from Christopher Timothy, Wayne Sleep, James Cosmo and a young David Bowie. Genuine and heartfelt, The Virgin Soldiers is an insightful and hugely underrated British comic drama. INDICATOR LIMITED BLU-RAY EDITION SPECIAL FEATURES: High Definition remaster Original mono audio The Virgin Actors (2019, 29 mins): Roy Holder and Christopher Timothy recall their experiences on location Some Confidence (2019, 8 mins): writer Ian La Frenais discusses his contributions to the screenplay 16mm Location Footage (1967, 14 mins): rare and previously unseen material shot during location scouting Operation Malaya (1953, 67 mins): David MacDonald s acclaimed feature-length docudrama on the Malayan Emergency Original theatrical trailer Image gallery: on-set and promotional photography Isolated music & effects track New and improved English subtitles for the deaf and hard-of-hearing Limited edition exclusive 36-page booklet with a new essay by author Scott Harrison, Leslie Thomas on The Virgin Soldiers, archival profiles of Lynn Redgrave and Tsai Chin, an overview of contemporary critical responses, Anthony Nield on Operation Malaya, and film credits UK premiere on Blu-ray Limited Edition of 3,000 copies
In 1879 the British Colonies in response to the perceived threat of the Zulu Nation deliver a deliberately unacceptable ultimatum to the King who responds by putting his people on a war footing. Confident in their weapons technology and organization's ability to crush the seemingly outclassed primitive enemy the British invade Zululand. General Lord Chelmsford sends in hundreds of British troops in order to squash the spear-carrying Africans with superior fire power. The sheer number of Zulus however overwhelms the British infantry.
An epic tale of the Spanish conquest of Peru. This film will keep you glued to the screen in anticipation of the fateful ending. ""The world will remember me promises Spanish General Francesco Pizarro to the King of Spain. He tells of a land of endless gold enough to make Spain the most powerful of nations. But Pizarro is a dreamer a man of failures. The King allows him to search but at his own expense. Thus armed with a band of ruthless gold-seeking soldiers of fortune Pizarro journeys over vast mountains and harsh desert to reach Monchepechu. When faced with the life or death of the Inca God-King Atahualpa Pizarro struggles with his duty as a soldier and his loyalties to God his men and himself all of which are called into question by his fascination with the devotion and worship of the mystical man-god. Pizarro must choose between life or death and his god or another. This true epic adventure of undying faith brave yet greedy men loyalty to god king and country and one's own sense of morality hurtles towards an ending that answers humankind's hardest question ""Whose God is the real God?""
1971 British gangster drama VILLAIN is directed by Michael Tuchner, his feature film debut. Starring Richard Burton (Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf) as a sadistic London gang leader inspired by Ronnie Kray, the film is based on James Barlow's 1968 book Burden of Proof. East end gang chief Vic Dakin is a violent psychopath who lives with his mother (Cathleen Nesbitt, An Affair to Remember) whilst making a living by running a prosperous protection racket. After a tip off for a potential payroll heist opportunity, Dakin starts planning the job, bringing in a gang from the criminal underworld alongside associate Wolfe Lissner (Ian McShane, John Wick). Detective Inspector Robert Matthews (Nigel Davenport, Chariots of Fire) has been tasked to arrest Dakin when he makes his first mistake and is watching his every move, determined to catch him in the act. When a gang member is hospitalised and Matthews is closing in, can Dakin silence him before he confesses all? Extras: New: Interview with Ian McShane New: Interview with cultural historian Matthew Sweet Original Trailer Behind the scenes stills gallery
The basic joke of the would-be romp Without a Clue is that Dr Watson (Ben Kingsley) is a detecting genius who has had to hide his light under a bushel by hiring an alcoholic ham actor Reginald Kincaid (Michael Caine) to pose as his imaginary alter ego Sherlock Holmes. He is now frustrated because the blundering idiot is hailed as an infallible hero while he is forever being pushed out of the picture. To really work, the film should have cast a leading man who gives the impression that he might make a good serious Holmes, but Caine is all too credible in his idiot act. In one of the best jokes Watson covers up a faux pas by complementing Holmes on his convincing disguise as a drunken lout, and so the laughs that should come in a flow only manage to trickle. The actual plot is about forged bank-notes ruining the Empire but is constructed to allow for the usual excursion by picturesque steam train to a clue-ridden holiday destination and some dirty deeds down by the docks. The leads coast through their routines but the supporting cast has an appropriately rat-like and embittered Inspector Lestrade from Jeffrey Jones, a winsomely duplicitous Victorian heroine from Lysette Anthony and a rather good goateed sadist Professor Moriarty from Paul Freeman. It can't hold a magnifying glass to Billy Wilder's The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes, but as a Holmesian footnote it edges a deerstalker or so ahead of Gene Wilder's The Adventure of Sherlock Holmes' Smarter Brother. It certainly beats the Peter Cook-Dudley Moore Hound of the Baskervilles and John Cleese in The Strange Case of the End of Civilisation as We Know It.--Kim Newman
An infant child is raised by apes after being shipwrecked off the west coast of Africa. As he grows he learns the laws of the jungle and eventually claims the title Lord of the Apes. Yet years later when he is returned to civilization as the Earl of Greystoke Tarzan (Christopher Lambert in his first English speaking role) remains uncertain as to which laws he should obey; those of man or those of the jungle...
Based on Winifred Holtby's popular novel South Riding was one of the biggest television hits of its year and starred Dorothy Tutin as headmistress Sarah Burton. Burton is left-wing and a feminist and is disgusted by the social injustices faced by her pupils. In spire of her beliefs she reluctantly finds herself falling in love with a Tory landowner.
The third and fourth series of the sitcom in which stuck-up socialite Hyacinth Bucket (pronounced 'Bouquet' mind you) puts her put-upon husband the ever-dependable Richard through further excruciatingly awkward but fantastically funny situations! Episode titles: Early Retirement Iron Age Remains Violet's Country Cottage How to Go on Holiday without Really Trying Richard's New Hobby The Art Exhibition What to Wear When Yachting A Job For Richard Country Retreat A Ce
The thrillers of Edgar Wallace one of the twentieth century’s most successful crime novelists have been widely adapted for film and television – the most memorable of which being the Edgar Wallace Mysteries series made at Merton Park Studios during the first half of the 1960s. A noir-esque series it updates some of the author’s stories to more contemporary settings blending classic B-movie elements with a distinctly British feel. Unseen for decades these dramas have been freshly transferred from the original film elements specifically for this release.
This 1984 version of the Dickens' classic `A Christmas Carol ' directed by Clive Donner stars George C. Scott as Ebenezer Scrooge. A miserable old man who hates the festive season is taught the true meaning of Christmas in this definitive version of Dickens' Yuletide tale.
One of the best known Shakespeare comedies which blends romance fun confusion and fairies.
101 Films presents 1970s sci-fi classic Phase IV (1974), a gripping and philosophical cult classic that examines humanity's place in the universe. Title 012 on the 101 Films Black Label and a UK Blu-ray debut, Phase IV is the only feature film directed by designer and filmmaker Saul Bass, this release includes his original ending, among a host of additional extras, including a bonus disc featuring the finest of the director's short films. In a sealed lab in the Arizona desert, scientists James Lesko (Michael Murphy, Manhattan) and Dr. Ernest Hubbs (Nigel Davenport, A Man for All Seasons) search for answers to an evolutionary shift in the ant population; the development of a collective intelligence and cross-species hive mentality. With humanity under threat, the scientists are faced with the choice of either communicating with or eradicating their antagonists. Extras/Episodes: New HD restoration The Original Saul Bass ending (plus optional commentary) An Ant's Life: Contextualising Phase IV Commentary with film historians Allan Bryce and Richard Holliss Theatrical trailer Saul Bass: Short Films (Disc 2) The Searching Eye (1964) Why Man Creates (1968) Bass on Titles (1977) Notes on the Popular Arts (1978) The Solar Film (1980) Quest (1984) (new HD restoration)
The life and times of George (1762-1830), Prince of Wales, from his early days of debauchery to his ascent to the throne as George IV. His two marriages (one legal, one not), his mistresses, the famous men of his day: all the over-indulgence and frustration of waiting for his father George III to die or remain mad.
Gracefully adapted from Dava Sobel's extraordinary bestseller, the four-part TV production of Longitude combines drama, history and science into a stimulating, painstakingly authentic account of personal triumph and joyous discovery. Equally impressive is the way writer-director Charles Sturridge has crafted parallel stories that complement each other with enriching perspective. The first story involves the successful 40-year effort of 18th-century clockmaker John Harrison (Michael Gambon) to solve the elusive problem of measuring longitude at sea. In 1714 the British Parliament had offered a generous reward to anyone who solved the problem, and Harrison devoted his life to that solution. The second story, some 200 years later, involves the effort of shell-shocked British Navy veteran Rupert Gould (Jeremy Irons) to restore the glorious clocks that Harrison had built. Like Harrison, Gould is the most admirable type of obsessive, but, also like Harrison, he risks his marriage to accomplish his difficult task. Thousands of sailors perished at sea before Harrison's triumph changed history, but Longitude demonstrates that Harrison's glory was slow to arrive--and his prize money even slower. A fascinating study of 18th-century British politics and clashing egos in the arena of science, the film is both epic and intimate in consequence , and Sturridge's magnificent script inspires Gambon and Irons to do some of the best work of their outstanding careers . The ever-reliable Ian Hart appears in Part 3 as Harrison's now-adult son and apprentice, and Longitude approaches its dramatic climax with the exhilarating tension of a first-rate thriller. Rallying after sickness to prove the integrity of their marvellous seafaring chronometers, the Harrisons still had to fight for official recognition, and Gould's restoration of the Harrison clockworks provides a fitting coda to this exceptional story about the thrill of discovery and the tenacity of remarkable men. --Jeff Shannon, Amazon.com
101 Films presents 1970s scifi classic Phase IV (1974), a gripping and philosophical cult classic that examines humanity's place in the universe. Title 012 on the 101 Films Black Label and a UK Bluray debut, Phase IV is the only feature film directed by designer and filmmaker Saul Bass, this release includes his original ending, among a host of additional extras, including a bonus disc featuring the finest of the director's short films. This limited edition version features special packaging, and a booklet with newlycommissioned writing on the history of killer bug' movies and the career of Saul Bass. In a sealed lab in the Arizona desert, scientists James Lesko (Michael Murphy, Manhattan) and Dr. Ernest Hubbs (Nigel Davenport, A Man for All Seasons) search for answers to an evolutionary shift in the ant population; the development of a collective intelligence and crossspecies hive mentality. With humanity under threat, the scientists are faced with the choice of either communicating with, or eradicating their antagonists. Features: New HD restoration The Original Saul Bass ending (plus optional commentary) An Ant's Life: Contextualising Phase IV Commentary with film historians Allan Bryce and Richard Holliss Limited Edition Booklet: includes Phase IV by Deborah Allison, and Adapt or Die: Killer Bug Cinema and Phase IV by Liam Hathaway Saul Bass: Short Films (Disc 2) The Searching Eye (1964) Why Man Creates (1968) Bass on Titles (1977) Notes on the Popular Arts (1978) The Solar Film (1980) Quest (1984) (new HD restoration)
Robert Bolt's successful play, A Man for All Seasons, was not considered a hot commercial property by Columbia Pictures--a period piece about a moral issue without a star, without even a love story. Perhaps that's why Columbia left director Fred Zinnemann alone to make the film as long as he stuck to a relatively small budget. The results took everyone by surprise, as the talky morality play became a box-office hit and collected the top Oscars for 1966. At the play's heart is the standoff between King Henry VIII (Robert Shaw, in young lion form) and Sir Thomas More (Paul Scofield, in an Oscar-winning performance). Henry wants More's official approval of divorce, but More's strict ethical and religious code will not let him waffle. More's rectitude is a source of exasperation to Cardinal Wolsey (Orson Welles in a cameo), who chides, "If you could just see facts flat on without that horrible moral squint". Zinnemann's approach is all simplicity, and indeed the somewhat prosaic staging doesn't create a great deal of cinematic excitement. But the language is worth savouring, and the ethical politics are debated with all the calm and majesty of an absorbing chess game. --Robert Horton, Amazon.com
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