"Actor: Robert Kerns"

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  • Madama Butterfly - Puccini [1974]Madama Butterfly - Puccini | DVD | (09/05/2005) from £14.09   |  Saving you £-0.10 (N/A%)   |  RRP £13.99

    Of all Puccini's major operas, the intimate tragedy of Madama Butterfly is least in need of elaborate staging and might therefore benefit most from the close scrutiny of film. The story is domestic, the setting Spartan, the incidental characters kept to a minimum. This 1974 version, however, demonstrates that Butterfly still needs a healthy injection of proscenium arch melodrama. Director Jean-Pierre Ponelle's production strives for realism but remains unfortunately studio-bound, having neither the benefit of location filming nor the heightened reality of an opera stage. The exterior is a perpetually fog-shrouded heath of indeterminate locale; the interior is cramped and unadorned. The setting is just too prosaic to contain the epic emotions of grand opera. Thankfully, the cast is superb, headed by Placido Domingo's rakish Pinkerton and Mirella Freni's rubicund Butterfly. Their singing is incomparable, as is Herbert von Karajan's musical direction of the Vienna Phil. The singers mime to pre-recorded music, which is occasionally disconcerting since when film demands close-ups opera provides broad gestures. Musically, this Butterfly is impeccable. Visually it adds nothing that could not be seen to better effect in a stage version. On the DVD: Madama Butterfly is presented disappointingly on disc in a poor NTSC transfer full of distracting graininess that makes every scene, both inside and out, look like it takes place in an omnipresent drizzle. Sound is reasonable stereo and adequate 5.0 surround. There are subtitles in the major European languages as well as Chinese, and the booklet contains a background essay plus synopsis. --Mark Walker

  • Carmen - Bizet [1967]Carmen - Bizet | DVD | (09/05/2005) from £16.30   |  Saving you £0.69 (4.10%)   |  RRP £16.99

    This famous film of the world's best loved opera, directed by Herbert von Karajan, features the three greatest exponents of their respective roles at the time: Grace Bumbry's magnificently seductive-toned Carmen, Mirella Freni's ineffably lovely, touching Micaela, and Jon Vickers's thrillingly manic-depressive Don Jose.

  • C.H.U.D. II - Bud The CHUD [1988]C.H.U.D. II - Bud The CHUD | DVD | (08/10/2001) from £N/A   |  Saving you £N/A (N/A%)   |  RRP £19.99

    In Bud the C.H.U.D. a couple of high-school kids loose the cadaver for the next day's science experiment, then hit on a plan to steal a body from the local hospital to replace it. Unfortunately what they don’t know is that the hospital is home to a rather more sinister and dubious military trial, the sole remaining C.H.U.D (Cannibalistic Humanoid Underground Dweller), who has been cryogenically frozen after the experiment went horribly wrong. Unwittingly they thaw Bud the C.H.U.D, who has the rebel-boy charm of James Dean and the personal tastes of Hannibal Lector. Bud then lumbers off on a cannibalistic rampage infecting everyone he munches on (including the family dog) and turning the town into a whole army of C.H.U.Ds. Only the Colonel (played with great melodramatic gusto by Robert "Napoleon Solo" Vaughn) and the kids who unleashed him can save the town from a fate worse than death. This tongue-in-check schlock horror movie is worth watching just for the late-80s nostalgia, the performances are clichéd and the plot wafer thin, but the humour hits the spot and Brian Robbins as the eponymous Bud positively eats his way into your heart. On the DVD: the DVD is unfortunately devoid of any special features other than a filmography and the film stock has a kind of graininess that comes from being low budget (rather than purposefully art house). It won’t be to everyone’s taste but you can’t beat the pure entertainment factor of a cannibalistic poodle. --Kristen Bowditch

  • Puccini: Madama Butterfly -- 1974 film version/Von KarajanPuccini: Madama Butterfly -- 1974 film version/Von Karajan | DVD | (15/10/2001) from £N/A   |  Saving you £N/A (N/A%)   |  RRP £19.79

    Of all Puccinis major operas, the intimate tragedy of Madama Butterfly is least in need of elaborate staging and might therefore benefit most from the close scrutiny of film. The story is domestic, the setting Spartan, the incidental characters kept to a minimum. This 1974 version, however, demonstrates that Butterfly still needs a healthy injection of proscenium arch melodrama. Director Jean-Pierre Ponelles production strives for realism but remains unfortunately studio-bound, having neither the benefit of location filming nor the heightened reality of an opera stage. The exterior is a perpetually fog-shrouded heath of indeterminate locale; the interior is cramped and unadorned. The setting is just too prosaic to contain the epic emotions of grand opera. Thankfully, the cast is superb, headed by Placido Domingos rakish Pinkerton and Mirella Frenis rubicund Butterfly. Their singing is incomparable, as is Herbert von Karajans musical direction of the Vienna Phil. The singers mime to pre-recorded music, which is occasionally disconcerting since when film demands close-ups opera provides broad gestures. Musically, this Butterfly is impeccable. Visually it adds nothing that could not be seen to better effect in a stage version. On the DVD: Madama Butterfly is presented disappointingly on disc in a poor NTSC transfer full of distracting graininess that makes every scene, both inside and out, look like it takes place in an omnipresent drizzle. Sound is reasonable stereo and adequate 5.0 surround. There are subtitles in the major European languages as well as Chinese, and the booklet contains a background essay plus synopsis. --Mark Walker

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