Reviews written by registered user
dfarmbrough

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11 reviews in total 
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48 out of 49 people found the following review useful:
Interesting summary of post-war labour relations, 15 December 2001

Jack of all trades Bernard Miles manages to write, direct, and produce this movie while taking one of the lead roles. Basil Radford is ideal casting as the slightly pompous, yet kind hearted boss who decides to let this employees run his agricultural implement company when they express disapproval at his employee relations.

The film shows the point trade unionism and the co-operative movement had reached in 1950, a few years after the reforming Labour government got in and just before they were replaced by Winston Churchill, showing that the country was oscillating between socialism and conservatism. Miles's intelligent script is even-handed in its approach to these issued and also gives insights into the class system of the time.

This is also worth watching for early performances from Patrick Troughton, Hattie Jacques, and Peter Jones. The direction is slightly flat at times, but Miles must have had his hands full. There are few scenes outside the well-made factory set, and this is all for the better as it gives us more of a feel of the lives of the people who work there.

11 out of 13 people found the following review useful:
Well restored and well made, 12 November 2001

This film provides valuable insights into several parts of history that might otherwise be forgotten. It does not tell the whole story, but then the whole story is by definition, untellable. There is a saying where I come from that history is always written by the winning side. Therefore this film to some extent tells it from the British point of view. The treatment of German Prisoners Of War by both the British forces and by the film crew is compassionate, and we are left with the feeling that they are not mere ciphers, but human beings. In watching this film, several myths about the Great War were debunked. I learned that very few of the German soldiers sported comedy pointed helmets (most wore the type Paul McCartney wears in his Pipes Of Peace video'). The usual scenes of Trench battle we see in film and television programmes show poor visibility with the trenches shrouded in mist, but this is probably a cinematic convention brought about by budgetary constraints rather than a desire for accuracy. The other myth that is exploded by this film is that the ordnance used in this war was rather primitive, hence the need for foot soldiers. This couldn't be further from the truth, with very big guns with fifteen inch diameter shells being fired over very long distances. When one considers that the majority of the large guns had to be transported (although in some cases by horsepower) by hand, dismantled and moved, then reassembled on the muddy battlefields, all whilst under fire, the engineering and logistical feats seem all the more remarkable.

The interesting thing about this film is that I would happily sit through this and enjoy it, but I wouldn't be interested enough to read a book about the Battle, nor to research the subject at the imperial War Museum. This is a good way of making history come alive and would be of interest to both the young and old.

The Museum's restoration is very good. The picture frame rate seems to be correct, and there do not seem to be any jumps or major tears. However there are a number of minor scratches that could have been repaired with a little more effort, and it jars that this halfpenny of tar has spoiled an otherwise seaworthy ship. The only reason I can think that the remainder of the scratches were not removed is a desire to keep the medium analogue rather than digital. A digital conversion would have rendered the clean-up work a lot simpler, but might present problems for presentation purists.

The upright piano music used for this restoration is ideal for the purpose. It not only gives a feeling of authenticity, but also lends the correct atmosphere to the film. Top marks for restraint go to the Museum for resisting the temptation to dub on sound effects. If I wanted to hear BBC Sound Effects Volume 12 I would visit my record library!

Oh, Daddy! (1935)
4 out of 5 people found the following review useful:
Charming, funny period piece, 15 July 2001
6/10

This film might be seen by today's film buffs as an early showcase for the work of directors Michael Powell (who storylined it) and Charles Frend (who edited it), but it really should be taken at face value. It's a bit of fun, having a laugh at the expense of the moral minority who even in 1935 were starting to annoy the cinematic industry. There's grand performances from Leslie Henson and Robertson Hare, who went on to play the Chauffer in The Young Ones. It's worth watching just to see how films were made in 1935 and to see how much influence the night club scene had on television's Jeeves & Wooster, where Charles Frend's montage of champagne filled glasses, bright city lights and drunken toffs show how much can be achieved with a minimal budget.

6 out of 7 people found the following review useful:
This is just the coolest film..., 15 July 2001
9/10

... The Shadows come off best here with their few lines and great instrumentals undermining the potential datedness of pop stars' movie appearances. However Cliff really rocks and even if the cinematic techniques would be bettered in the follow-up Summer Holiday, the music is just superb.

The basic plot of this is so similar to The Blues Brothers it's uncanny. I should be very surprised if John Landis and Dan Aykroyd hadn't seen The Young Ones.

Forget about Grazina Frame's dubbed voice, forget about the square old pop played by Robert Morley, and remember the great songs and the unbelievably handsome Cliff!

10 out of 10 people found the following review useful:
Good fun!, 28 April 2001

It's not fair to criticize this programme for being what it sets out to be. It's a Monkees-style romp through scrapes in America with a charming and attractive bunch of singers, who (unlike The Monkees) at least don't pretend to play instruments! The music is good too. If you don't like it, you're too old! Dave Farmbrough (Age 34!)

7 out of 7 people found the following review useful:
Fantasy, Comedy, and Tommy - what more could you want?, 28 April 2001

A really funny movie, with the central premise of Stonehenge being a time machine really taking this out of the realms of the ordinary wartime comedy films. Trinder is great in this, as he is in everything, but its the cameraderie and the science-fiction aspect that make this a really great film. Watchable again and again.

4 out of 9 people found the following review useful:
Pretty good, even now..., 28 April 2001
7/10

... shame the new (year 2000) soundtrack was so intrusive. The idea of a pop group putting a new soundtrack isn't new - it was done before with Metropolis, but at least that had several different artists contributing. This has just one group with just one or two recurring themes which sometimes overwhelm the feel of the scenes. It would perhaps be better to get a proper cinema organist or pianist to add an AUTHENTIC or period feel to silent movies of this type. But the film was good, if a bit long, and interesting for its views of a working Lancashire Mill before we closed them all down. What a shame the producers felt the need to add incongruous sound effects to the mill scenes. This barbaric practice is bad enough on war documentaries. Apart from anything else, it's distracting. Film restorers should realise the difference between re-working and restoration.

Glory (1989)
Truly great war film, 23 February 2001
8/10

This is a wonderful way for people not familiar with the U.S. Civil War to familiarise themselves with this history. There is great playing from all the actors, notably Broderick, Washington, and Freeman, the last in an early role. The score by James Horner is well up to his usual standard and the battle scenes are exceptionally well staged. This touches on an often ignored part of history; the role that minority races played in the building of our great nations. This educates and informs, but above all, entertains. Great movie.

7 out of 29 people found the following review useful:
Drivel, 18 January 2001
1/10

This is probably the worst film I have seen, narrowly beating George Of The Jungle. The design is beautiful, with the sets and costumes serving a dull dull story, bereft of plot, characters, and interesting dialogue. Why Greenaway tried to write this himself, instead of employing a writer is beyond me. Michael Nyman makes a good stab at the music, but it is too dominant in the sound mix, and not subtle enough to complement the occasionally good photography. Add to the mix unnecessary music, actors who barely move when speaking their lines, many characters who look alike due to identical make-up or masks, and a pretentious pseudo-restoration English, and the result is an unintelligible mess.

19 out of 20 people found the following review useful:
Classic Jolson at his best, 1 November 2000

The movie is obviously designed as a Jolson vehicle. It is pretty obvious that the star came first, and everything else followed.

Despite being made in 1928, the film holds up remarkably well today, the humour being one aspect that hasn't dated. Jolson sings Sonny Boy to great effect three times, although he puts so much emotion into it that I was left wanting him to sing is straight just once. The film may seem oversentimental but if you engage with this and look at it from the point of view of a contemporary audience you will enjoy it more, and the film's shock ending is, in my opinion one of the bravest I have seen Hollywood do. In fact the only shock endings which I think compare with this are Terry Gilliam's Brazil or Doctor Who: Earthshock.

The supporting performances are sterling, but there's no other actor who has the Charisma of Jolson. It's apparent to me that nowadays, the film's leading lady, Josephine Dunn, playing a singer, would have been given one or two songs to sing, but the producers rightly realised that the audience was there to see Jolson and Jolson alone.

The film is also of historical interest, being one of the first talkies. It's apparent that synchronised sound is used sparingly, and, like its near-contemporary The Jazz Singer, the opening parts use caption slides in place of speech.

Enjoy it for its Jazz age settings, the grand costumes (Miss Dunn's gowns are particularly exquisite) and of course for Jolson's singing.


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