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a bit like a long Three's Company episode
22 April 2007
Given that almost the entire film concerns a pretty flimsy mix-up, there is quite a bit of humor here. There are some great one-liners, some great mugging to the camera, and some outrageous accents. The father in particular does a great job of not overplaying the "drunk" scenes, but instead really adds pathos to a fairly thankless role.

Tom Walls is an unlikely hero; he's not particularly handsome, (or to be frank, funny), but he does have charisma and he brings a lightheartedness to the film that is refreshing considering the kind of frustrations the plot introduces.

I was pretty amazed at the level of sexual innuendo here too, very open. Totally worth catching if you get the chance.
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Play for Today: Sunset Across the Bay (1975)
Season 5, Episode 12
nostalgia, regret, loss, hope
30 September 2006
Beautiful story of a couple who, upon the husband's retiring, move to Morecambe from Leeds. The story is simple enough, but the magic is in the dialog between the two main characters.

They obviously are still very happy with each other, but express regret and confusion at the way their world has changed. Leeds seems to be (literally) falling down around them as they leave town for their new home by the beach.

Their lives have changed so little since the husband started work in the 40s, that when it comes time to make this big change they find the whole world has changed around them.

It's quietly devastating.
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the same appeal as the daleks
21 April 2006
I read another review of this film here that wonders if the special effects came from Doctor Who. Well, like that program's big enemy, the Daleks, the monsters in this exciting, scary, silly, fantastic film are SO EASY to imitate. Just as kids would run around playgrounds, arms outstretched, yelling "exterminate!" I remember being at lunch in elementary school sucking our straws at the bottom of our milks, imitating the sound of the evil bone-sucking creatures, and screaming in "agony" as our bones dissolved. Every Friday night, when a show called "Friday Fright Night" aired, in the 80s, this was the one movie we always PRAYED would be on...Brilliant
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Sapphire (1959)
serious race issues discussed honestly
21 April 2006
I was amazed by the shocking brutality of the racism in this film. In America, we are rarely presented with such casual racism; in films of the 50s, race is practically never dealt with in films, as Todd Haynes "remake" of Douglas Sirk's All That Heaven Allows tries to make up for. And current films about the 50s present such two dimensional characters that it is easy to tell the racist villains from the open-minded heroes. In Sapphire, filmed in Britain in the 1950s, one of the most interesting characters is Michael Craig's detective, supposedly our hero, but constantly making racist remarks. His comments are always countered by the more reasonable older inspector, but this allows his gradual transformation throughout the film. Although some of the film is a bit heavy-handed, ultimately the message is sadly still relevant. 4 out of 5.
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Mine All Mine (2004– )
for Who fans...
24 March 2006
The John Scott Martin connection is great. As broadcast on BBC America,this series proves that Russell D. Davies was the perfect person to adapt Doctor Who for a modern (mainstream) audience. In many ways it appears to be his love letter to Wales. For the first time since Blue Scar, a WELSH drama. It depends on stereotypes to be sure, but they are lovingly realized, full of nostalgia, beauty, affection, and great sentimentality. I love it, with a big smile on my face throughout. Brilliant. Without spoilers, the story contains superlative acting, realistic drama, lines and stories much more similar to "Bob and Rose" than "Queer as Folk" but similar in approach. One thing that really appeals is the direct comedy. It's refreshing that this seems to be essentially a comedy, without the constraints of "drama". Davies seems to relish in this liberation, especially the manicness this allows.
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William Hartnell is tragic, brilliant
13 March 2006
No one has mentioned the spectacular acting of William Hartnell as Richard Harris's old-timer friend Johnson. This was his last major role before taking on the part he is best known for today, that of the Doctor in the longest running science-fiction television series of all time, Doctor Who. His portrayal as the first Doctor is, IMO, definitive, and, as a demonstration of his incredible acting skills, there is no trace of his characterization as the Doctor in This Sporting Life. Instead, he plays an intensely sympathetic, lonely old man (Hartnell was only in his 50s when he took this role, another tribute to his ability as an actor), weak, and desperately pathetic. Hearing the "doctor" with a northern accent (and not Christopher Eccleston) is bizarre but quite fun.

Anyone with an interest in Doctor Who will get a kick out of seeing Hartnell outside of his "Who" territory, acting up a storm.
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The Nine Tailors (1974– )
Doesn't get better than this...
26 February 2006
This is undoubtedly the best of the LPW adaptations from the 1970s. The location shooting is beautiful, in particular the church interiors and, as other reviewers have noted, the countryside. There is a truly epic feel to this production, with many years elapsing during the course of its 4 episode duration. Acting is incredible as always.

What really strikes me though about this particular production is the way in which it uses its epic quality to construct an entire believable, romantic, nostalgic, world, where criminals and coppers have thick cockneys, our UC heroes speak perfect Beeb English, and even the first World War has a bit of a romantic glow about it! You half expect Wimsey's Sergeants to apologize for the bombing interrupting his pipe! It's as easy to get hypnotized by this world as it is with the beautiful bell-ringing.

Glyn Houston is the perfect Bunter, BYW. One of the joys of 70s BBC productions is looking out for great actors. Here we have Maude Grimes from Coronation Street and Gan from Blake's 7!
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wow. unexpectedly brilliant.
9 December 2004
I was finally able to see this in a VERY nice three-film boxed DVD set of Dick Barton Hammer films from the late 40s. The first two (D.B. Special Agent, and D. B. At Bay) were both pretty bleak. So, I went into the final film with no great expectations. I was REALLY shocked by how good it was. The film is greatly strengthened by some incredible location filming, especially the extended scenes atop the Blackpool tower. My personal favorite moment was the bandleader directing a real packed dance hall full of revelers. It gave the "Dick must save the world!" storyline a bit of added significance to see a bit of documentary Humphrey Jennings-like texture thrown in. The story itself, about a new "sonic" weapon that can kill whole towns with pure sound, was clever too...Four stars! Oh, yes, and the villain has a harpsichord; this is always a nice touch!
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William Hartnell is brilliant
31 October 2004
This excellent, unjustifiably overlooked, film, has a great part for future Doctor Who, William Hartnell. His character, "The General", is an over-the-hill safe cracker (in the mold of Ray Milland's character in "The safe cracker" or the crooks in "Timelock"). His Colonel is wonderfully fastidious, with great little mannerisms totally foreign to his portrayal of the Doctor. Terence Morgan is coldly wooden, but this fits his character perfectly, as the wannabe underworld spiv. Lastly, I have to compliment Philip Green's score. Green, while being perhaps a bit TOO prolific, here depicts the London underworld with loads of icy jazz; it seems like every scene someone is playing a record or listening to a tape of his music, it's integrated really cleverly into the film. Totally recommended if you can find it.
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