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Battle Of The River Plate | DVD | (17/04/2019)
from £4.79 | Saving you £8.20 (63.10%) | RRP
Something of a swan song for the legendary Michael Powell-Emeric Pressburger partnership, 1956's The Battle of the River Plate is their penultimate film together (the following year's Ill Met By Moonlight was the last). Shot in a semi-documentary style that stands apart from the "magical realism" of much of their previous work--Canterbury Tales, A Matter of Life and Death, The Red Shoes--the film tells the story of the pursuit of the German pocket battleship Graf Spee by three British cruisers off the River Plate in Uruguay during November 1939. Incorporating actual wartime footage adds to the authentic air, albeit one that sits uneasily with the obviously studio-bound look of the rest. Among the solid cast Peter Finch stands out as the beleaguered Captain Langsdorff of the Graf Spee, while John Gregson is his counterpart, the stalwart British hero type. Things get a bit odd when Christopher Lee pops up in the unlikely role of a Latin-American nightclub boss. It's an atypical Powell and Pressburger picture and not exactly their best, but still a fine World War II picture that documents an important incident in the opening salvos of the war. --Mark Walker
Mr Magorium's Wonder Emporium | Blu Ray | (08/12/2008)
from £4.43 | Saving you £5.00 (45.50%) | RRP
You have to believe it to see it... Molly Mahoney (Portman) is the awkward and insecure manager of Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium the strangest most fantastic most wonderful toy store in the world. But when Mr. Magorium the 243 year-old eccentric who owns the store (Hoffman) bequeaths the store to her a dark and ominous change begins to take over the once remarkable Emporium.
In Which We Serve | DVD | (26/09/2008)
from £4.49 | Saving you £11.50 (71.90%) | RRP
Based on the true story of Lord Louis Mountbatten's destroyer HMS Kelly, In Which We Serve is one of the most memorable British films made during World War II. Unfolding in flashback as survivors cling to a dingy, constantly strafed by the Luftwaffe, the film recounts the history of HMS Torrin through various battles to her sinking off the coast of North Africa, interwoven with the onshore lives of her crew. The film was the inspiration of Noel Coward, who desperately wanted to do something for the war effort, and he produced, wrote the screenplay, composed the stirring musical score and starred as Captain Edward Kinross. Coward also officially co-directed, though in reality he soon handed the reigns over to David Lean, whose directorial debut this became. There is a fine performance from Celia Johnson, anticipating her character in Lean and Coward's Brief Encounter (1946) and excellent support from John Mills, as well as a star-making debut from an uncredited Richard Attenborough. The use of real navy and army personal as extras, together with lavish studio production and authentic shipboard location footage lends the film a sense of realism unusual for the time. A landmark in the careers of many of the most important names in British film, this moving and occasionally harrowing classic has a vital place in the development of British cinema. On the DVD: The image is presented in a close approximation of the original 1.37:1 Academy ratio using a print that is good for its age but which would benefit from some restoration, several scenes showing notable damage. The sound is robust mono, though the main title music is very distorted. Speech is very clear. Extras are the original trailer, a stills gallery set to music from the film and a 23-minute retrospective documentary. This last is excellent, containing information on how to simulate bullets hitting water using condoms, and interviews with surviving members of the production including Sir John Mills and cinematographer Ronald Neame. --Gary S Dalkin