Although he was regarded as a comedy genius, the sad truth is that Peter Sellers was more often than not misused in big screen comedies. After making it big on British TV and in feature films in the late 1950s, Sellers became an international sensation with his acclaimed work in big studio feature films such as "Lolita", "Dr. Strangelove", "The World of Henry Orient" and the first entries in the "Pink Panther" series. Through the mid-Sixties, he did impressive work in films like "After the Fox", "The Wrong Box" and "What's New Pussycat?" If the films weren't classics, at least they presented some of Sellers' off-the-wall ability to deliver innovative characters and comedic situations. By the late Sixties, however, his own personal demons began to get the better of him. Sellers was the epitome of the classic clown: laughing on the outside but crying on the inside.
I have seen virtually every James Bond clone released by major studios during the 1960s but "Assignment K" had eluded me until it was released as a burn-to-order title by the Sony Choice Collection. I was expecting another low-brow effort done on a small budget and perhaps affording some guilty pleasures throughout. However, "Assignment K" was a pleasant surprise. It's an intelligently written, well-acted espionage yarn that goes to some lengths to avoid Bondisms in favor of a realistic scenario populated by realistic characters. The film was directed by the woefully under-rated Val Guest, whose talents were generally dismissed at the time as workmanlike competence but which today seem much more impressive. (Guest had some spy movie experience, having previously directed key segments of the multi-director farce "Casino Royale".)
Stephen Boyd stars as Philip Scott, a high-powered executive of a London-based toy company. When we first meet him,
In these troubled times, when the phone-hacking scandal has heaped ignominy on the police, it is worth pointing out that British cinema has led the way in suggesting the boys in blue are less than trustworthy. In fact, so complete was the turnaround in the two decades between The Blue Lamp, in 1950, and The Offence, from 1972, it almost constitutes a social history in its own right.
Made partly to alleviate a recruitment crisis, and partly to acknowledge a wave of teen delinquency just after the war, The Blue Lamp was the first British film made with the full co-operation of the Metropolitan police. The Met lent the makers their stations, their patrol cars and even their own officers to play small roles. The plot – a neurotic young spiv, played by Dirk Bogarde,
A rediscovered haul of television dramas that has been lost for 40 years or more is set to change the way we think about many of Britain's biggest acting stars.
The extraordinary cache of televised plays – described by experts as "an embarrassment of riches" – features performances from a cavalcade of postwar British stars. The list includes John Gielgud, Sean Connery, Gemma Jones, Dorothy Tutin, Robert Stephens, Susannah York, John Le Mesurier, Peggy Ashcroft, Patrick Troughton, David Hemmings, Leonard Rossiter, Michael Gambon, Maggie Smith and Jane Asher. The tapes have been unearthed in the Library of Congress in Washington DC.
After months of negotiation, the library and the New York-based public service television station Wnet have agreed to allow the British Film Institute in London to showcase the highlights in November, an occasion
The writer of the original stories from which the show is dramatised is Edgar Wallace, a classic name to men of a certain age. My father recounted to me the story of the man himself, forced into a life of production-line detective creativity by his own dire financial circumstances. I spent my youth watching Tales Of Edgar Wallace 1 hour black & white stories, drenched in atmosphere and usually with a twist in the tale, sometimes absurdly unbelievable, and sometimes emotionally shocking.
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