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1 item from 2010


Philip French's classic DVD: Nine Men and Painted Boats | DVD review

9 January 2010 4:05 PM, PST | The Guardian - Film News | See recent The Guardian - Film News news »

1943/45, PG/U, Optimum

Having released DVDs of all the familiar Ealing titles, Optimum is now bringing out largely forgotten ones like this pair that resulted from Ealing boss Michael Balcon hiring documentary film-makers during the Second World War to bring a new realism to the studio's output.

Nine Men, the feature debut of documentarist Harry Watt, director of Night Mail (1936), is a morale-raising propaganda entertainment set in North Africa but shot on a Welsh beach. Character actor Jack Lambert, then serving as an army officer, plays a tough training sergeant inspiring a platoon of recruits by recalling how nine gallant soldiers (a regional cross-section including Ealing stalwart Gordon Jackson) held off a numerically superior Italian force in the Libyan desert.

Charles Crichton's semi-documentary Painted Boats is a quieter affair, both realistic and lyrical, about life on England's canals and a romance between a boy and a girl from rival barge families. »

- Philip French

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1 item from 2010


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