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Some of my favourite films are......
The Red Shoes.
A Matter Of Life and Death.
The Life and Death Of Colonel Blimp.
Walk The Line.
Heaven Knows Mr Allison.
Long Days Journey Into Night.
Gone With The Wind.
The Remains Of The Day.
Pandora and The Flying Dutchman.
My Best Friend.
Scenes From A Marriage.
Through A Glass Darkly.
The Seventh Seal.
A Room With A View.
The Wings Of The Dove.
Sense And Sensibility.
Oranges and Sunshine.
Lawrence Of Arabia.
A Passage To India.
Carve Her Name With Pride.
The Nuns Story.
Breakfast At Tiffanys.
All About Eve.
The Pumpkin Eater.
The Bitter Tea Of General Yen.
Letter From An Unknown Woman.
The Ghost and Mrs.Muir.
Wings Of Desire.
Paris When It Sizzles.
You Can't Take It With You.
The English Patient.
Creature From the Black Lagoon.
Death In Venice.
The Thin Man.
The Big Heat.
Bigger Than Life.
Picnic At Hanging Rock.
Farewell My Lovely.
The Big Sleep.
In A Lonely Place.
Out Of Africa.
The Cider House Rules.
Catch Me If You Can.
Night Train To Munich.
The Painted Veil.
The World Of Suzy Wong.
How to Steal a Million.
The Odd Couple.
The Odd Couple 2.
On Golden Pond.
The Lion In Winter.
Ladies In Lavender.
To Kill a Mockingbird.
Her Majesty Mrs Brown.
Dead Poets Society.
Three Days Of The Condor.
The Indiana Jones Trilogy.
The Day After Tomorrow.
My Fair Lady.
The Foreign Correspondent.
The 39 Steps.
Shadow of a Doubt.
The Man Who Knew Too Much.
To Catch a Thief.
Strangers on a Train.
North By Northwest.
All the James Bond films (except Diamonds Are Forever and A View To A Kill).
The Omen Trilogy.
Master and Commander.
Days Of Wine and Roses.
The Legend Of Bagger Vance.
2001 A Space Oddysey.
The Emperors Club.
A Night to Remember.
To Have and Have Not.
West Side Story.
Scent of a Woman.
Scarface.(The Al Pacino Version)
The Silence of the Lambs.
Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.
The French Connection.
Sleepless in Seattle.
Good Will Hunting.
It's A Wonderful Life.
Alfie.(The Michael Caine version).
The Philadelphia Story.
Bonnie and Clyde.
The Quiet American.
The Mummy Returns.
Mr Smith Goes To Washington.
My Favourite Year.
Last Chance Harvey.
The Patricia Neal Story.
Scott Of The Antartic.
Ice Cold In Alex.
Odd Man Out.
Whistle Down The Wind.
Notes On A Scandal.
Frankie And Johnny.
The Bad And The Beautiful.
The Glenn Miller Story.
Stranger On The Third Floor.
The Postman Always Rings Twice.(1946)
The Mirror Has Two Faces.
The Fabulous Baker Boys.
A Patch Of Blue.
The Primrose Path.
The Poseidon Adventure.
The Day Of The Jackal.
The Third Man.
The Bishop's Wife.
The Lethal Weapon films.
Tuesdays With Morrie.
The China Syndrome.
12 Angry Men.
Some Like It Hot.
The Boston Strangler.
Bell,Book and Candle.
The Man With The Golden Arm.
From Here To Eternity.
These Foolish Things.
House Of Flying Daggers.
The Invisible Man.
Leave Her To Heaven.
The Chalk Garden.
My favorite actors and Actresses are.....
Max Von Sydow.
Edward Everett Horton.
Robert Walker Sr.
Lon Chaney Sr.
Helena Bonham Carter.
My favorite TV series.
The Adventures, The Return, The Casebook and The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes.
Only Fools and Horses.
All Creatures Great And Small.
Riley Ace Of Spies.
The Twilight Zone.
The X Files.
Sex and The City.
Game Of Thrones.
Star Trek The Next Generation.
Star Trek Deep Space Nine.
Inspector George Gently.
My favourite directors.
Enemy at the Door (1978)
A brilliant series.
Enemy At The Door was aired between 1978 and 1980 and is produced by Michael Chapman and Tony Wharmby, written by Michael Chapman, NJ Crisp, James Doran, John Kershaw, Kenneth Clarke and James Andrew Hall, directed by Bill Bain, Christopher Hodson, Jonathan Alwyn and Martin Friend.
It stars Bernard Horsfall, Alfred Burke, Antonia Pemberton, Emily Richard, Richard Heffer, Simon Cadell, John Malcom and Simon Lack. With guest stars including Joss Ackland, John Nettles and Martin Jarvis.
Set on the island of Guernsey, Enemy At The Door tells the true story of the German occupation of the British Channel Islands between 1940 and 1945. It shows the hardships faced by islanders under German rule(food shortages, prison)and focuses mostly on one island family, the Martel's.
Kind and world weary Dr Philip Martel(Bernard Horsfall)becomes a member of the Island Committee(set up as a link between the Germans and the citizens)discussing any issues and making the occupation a little bit easier on the citizens. There's also his loyal wife Olive(Antonia Pemberton),headstrong anti Nazi daughter Claire(Emily Richard) and Claire's boyfriend Peter Porteous(Richard Heffer)who's desperate to leave the island to get to the mainland and fight against the Germans.
As well as focusing on the islanders we see the daily life and routine of the German officers. They're led by the firm but reasonable Major Richter(Alfred Burke)who's the Island commander, his second in command Major Freidel(Simon Lack),his police chief, the shrewd and incorruptible Oberleutnant Kluge(John Malcom)and the sadistic, ambitious SS officer Hauptsturmfuhrer Reinicke(Simon Cadell). Reinicke is the sort of man who'd shoot you just for looking at him funny and none of the other officers can stand him, especially Kluge and Richter. Richter and his men, although German soldiers, aren't Nazi party members and(where possible)turn a blind eye to certain things done by islanders that Reinicke thinks should be severely punished.
Featuring brilliant performances and a real sense of tension. Enemy At The Door is well worth a watch.
Disappointingly it doesn't show the end of the war and how the German's left the Island but that aside this is one of the best British series about the war and a must see for fans of Colditz, Secret Army or those who are interested in the Second World War.
Burton and Taylor (2013)
Poignant final chapter of the Burton and Taylor saga.....
Burton and Taylor is directed by Richard Laxton, written by William Ivory, produced by Lachlan MacKinnon, Andrew Wood and Jessica Pope,music by John Lunn and stars Dominic West and Helena Bonham Carter.
1983, Elizabeth Taylor(Helena Bonham Carter) invites her twice ex-husband Richard Burton(Dominic West) to her fiftieth birthday party where he considers her proposal that they star in a new stage adaptation of Noel Coward's play "Private Lives".
When the news is announced to the press, there's speculation that the couple may get back together again. Elizabeth hopes for this but Burton(although he still loves her)has moved on from their life together and has a new girlfriend(later his last wife)Sally. Burton's also frail physically as a lifetime of hard drinking takes it toll on him. He's worried that he won't be able to play the role of King Lear after this play because it will too demanding for him, Elizabeth assures him he's just being silly.
When the play opens it becomes clear to both of them that the audience are just there to see Burton/Taylor and it's almost as if the play becomes about their life together. As the couple argue off stage Elizabeth takes it out on Burton on stage, physically hitting him(in real life he was very, very frail during the run and she did hurt him when she did that)and playing up to audience, talking directly to them on several occasions and acknowledging their cheers mid performance!
After touring for several months the play ends and Elizabeth confesses to Richard that she still loves him. He tells her he still loves her but can't be with her anymore. He dies the following year of a brain hemorrhage.
This is very poignant film looking at the last act in the Taylor/Burton love story. The two loved each other very much and after their divorces Burton still wrote to Taylor and they phoned each other a lot. He couldn't take Taylor's drinking and pill popping though nor her entourage who seemed to be around all the time. They couldn't be together but they couldn't be apart either. Dominic does an excellent job as the weary Burton however he doesn't look nearly as old or frail as Burton was during the plays run. Burton was only in his early fifties but looked seventy and although they mention his nerve pain and frailness it doesn't register just how ill he actually was.
Onto Burton's voice and the performances, Dominic gives it a good go but never captures Burton's iconic voice perfectly(the only person I've ever heard do an accurate impression is Frank Gorshin during a comedy roast)but you believe he is Richard so it doesn't really matter. He captures the emotional torment of the man perfectly. Likewise with Helena she portrays the boozy, depressed Elizabeth very well and you believe it's Taylor you're watching.
Those little complaints about the portrayal of Burton's health aside this is a very well made BBC4 film about the couple and is moving, funny and brilliantly acted. Well worth a watch especially for fans of the couple.
Jane Eyre (1970)
Remorse is the poison of life....
Jane Eyre is directed by Delbert Mann, has a screenplay by Jack Pullman, is based on the novel by Charlotte Bronte and music by John Williams. It stars George.C Scott, Susannah York, Ian Bannen, Kenneth Griffith, Jack Hawkins and Jean Marsh.
Jane Eyre is despised as a child and sent to LowWood school. She is shown nothing but cruelty but grows up kind and gentle despite her treatment. The elder Jane(Susannah York)advertises her services as a governess. She receives a position at Thornfield Hall,as governess to a young French girl. The halls mysterious owner Edward Rochester(George C.Scott)falls in love with Jane and soon she with him, however the hall holds a dark secret which will threaten Jane's future happiness forever if revealed.
This 1970 TV adaptation is a bit hit and miss. Most of the key scenes Rochester/Jane scenes are there but are quite rushed which is distracting. York looks much older than Jane's eighteen years and seems a little more worldly than Jane is supposed to be. Scott captures the gruffness and inner turmoil of Rochester completely and he is adorable in the scenes where he falls in love with Jane, becoming tender and gentle, desperate to escape his sad past.
The acting is fine and the score by Williams is sweeping and haunting. Worth a look and a must for those wishing to see all the adaptations. However the Timothy Dalton BBC miniseries(from 1983)is still the one by which all other adaptations are to be measured.
Turn it off...turn it off!
Hardcore is written and directed by Paul Schrader and stars George.C Scott, Peter Boyle, Season Hubley, Ilah Davis and Dick Sargent.
Wealthy businessman Jake Van Dorn's(George C. Scott)quiet, middle class life is turned upside down when his teenage daughter Kristen(Ilah Davis)fails to return home from her church convention trip to California. Jake hires sleazy private eye, Andy Mast(Peter Boyle)to find her after the Police fail to get any leads. Mast eventually spots her in a cheap porn film. Jake heads to the big city and with the help of streetwise hooker Nikki(an unforgettable Season Hubley)tries to track his daughter down and bring her home.
Scott excels as Jake, a quiet, religious family man who is confronted with big city sleaze and violence and can't believe what he sees. In the city the intimate act of sex is a very open(public)act. Sex in one form or another,is available 24 hours a day on pretty much every street corner. He is horrified by this and then realises he has to become what he hates to find his daughter.
Scott completely changes his performance when Jake goes undercover as a porn director(complete with an awful 70's wig and moustache).Here Jake's inner rage takes over and he becomes violent towards those he finds have links with Kristen and he won't become calm until he finds her.
Many of the films funniest and most poignant moments are those between Jake and Nikki.He can't understand her life and she can't get her head around his Calvinist beliefs. She hopes he'll get her out of the street life but he(although never forgetting her)only cares about his daughter. In the end Nikki is just another part of the big city that Jake can't relate to.
With strong performances especially from Scott, Hardcore is a powerful film experience. It doesn't shy away from the desperation and cheapness of this life or the sleaze of the porn industry, by not showing it as glamorous or exciting Schrader deserves much praise. He tells it like it is and for that the film has a much greater impact.
My Week with Marilyn (2011)
Are you frightened of me Colin...no....good because I like you....
My Week With Marilyn is directed by Simon Curtis,screenplay by Adrian Hodges,based on the diaries of Colin Clark,music by Conrad Pope and stars Eddie Redmayne,Michelle Williams,Kenneth Branagh,Judi Dench,Philip Jackson,Dougray Scott,Julia Ormond,Zoe Wanamaker and Toby Jones.
1956,screen siren Marilyn Monroe(Michelle Williams)arrives in England to star alongside Laurence Olivier(Kenneth Branagh)in his adaptation of Terence Rattigan's play The Prince and The Showgirl.One of Olivier's assistants,Colin Clark(Eddie Redmayne)is tasked with making sure Marilyn arrives on set on time and ends up falling in love with her.As filming begins Marilyn becomes intimidated by both Olivier's talent and direction,she messes up lines and arrives on set later and later.
Becoming withdrawn and depressed she turns to Colin.Needing privacy and friendship Marilyn devises a plan to run away for a day taking Colin with her.Upon their return they face the wrath of cast and crew and Colin ends up becoming the go between for Olivier and Marilyn,trying to coax her into finishing filming.The resulting film was a success for Marilyn and highlights her gift for physical comedy and she literally glows on screen,quite outshining a rather stuffy Olivier.
The cast are all brilliant with Branagh doing such an uncanny impression of Olivier at times you think Sir Laurence himself is on screen.Redmayne does OK as the lovestruck Clark and Zoe Wanamaker is hysterical as Paula Strasberg Marilyn's acting coach.Julia Ormond is wasted as Vivien Leigh(looking nothing like her doesn't help matters),Dougray Scott likewise has little to do as Marilyn's husband,Arthur Miller.Judi Dench brings a cuddly maternal flavour to proceedings as Dame Sybil Thorndyke,the one member of the cast who appears to be kind and patient with Marilyn.Emma Watson has a brief role as Clark's wardrobe assistant girlfriend,proving she can leave Hermoine Granger far behind.
As for Michelle Williams,she does her best but unfortunately doesn't have the glow and magic that Marilyn had in spades.Facially she looks nothing like Monroe which is quite distracting.However her performance more than makes up for those shortcomings as she nails the little lost girl/sexy persona Marilyn conveyed to the world as well as her nerves and depression.A charming and gentle film that will enchant you if you let it.
The validity of Clark's diaries has never been verified,so this entire story must be taken with a pinch of salt.It almost comes across as a fans wish-list,a week with Marilyn who makes you her best friend and confidant.If it's too much of a stretch for you to believe then this one isn't for you.
The Debt (2010)
30 years ago these three dared to confront an unimaginable evil......
The Debt is a remake of a 2007 film of the same name from Israel.It's directed by John Madden,screenplay by Matthew Vaughn and Jane Goldman,Music by Thomas Newman and stars Helen Mirren,Jessica Chastin,Tom Wilkinson,Ciaran Hinds,Sam Worthington,Marton Csokas and Jesper Christensen.
Tel-Aviv,1997.Three revered Mossad agents,Rachel Singer(Helen Mirren),Stephan Gold(Tom WIlkinson)and David Peretz(Ciaran Hinds)are the subject of a bestselling biography by Rachel and Stephan's daughter. In 1965 they were ordered to capture Nazi war criminal,Dr.Dieter Vogel(Jesper Christensen)a sadistic surgeon who experimented on concentration camp inmates.
They capture him becoming national hero's upon returning home with the news he was killed while trying to escape.However that's far from the truth and thirty years later they must confront their past.
With such a plot you think what can go wrong?well unfortunately many things.Firstly the casting of the younger David and Stephan is backwards,Sam Worthington should have played David and Marton Csokas should have played Stephan.Sam looks so much like a young Ciaran it's uncanny and Marton would be believable as Stephan.
Secondly it's hard to imagine that trained agents(of what is possibly the greatest secret service in the world)would be so distracted by each other to properly focus on the mission at hand.
All that said though the performances especially Jessica,Helen and Jesper are first rate.There are genuine moments of suspense and many thrills.After a cracking opening forty minutes it sadly all seems to become disjointed and sloppy.If your looking for a good thriller but don't expect too much this is for you.If you want more depth unfortunately this isn't going to be the film to choose.
Random Harvest (1942)
Isn't there something morbid in burying one's heart with the dead?.......
Possibly the ultimate weepie,Random Harvest is directed by Mervyn LeRoy,produced by Sidney Farnklin,with a screenplay by Arthur Wimperis,Claudine West and George Froeschel,based on the novel by James Hilton and stars Ronald Coleman,Greer Garson,Susan Peters,Henry Travers and Philip Dorn.
Charles Rainier(Ronald Coleman)is a World War One veteran who cannot remember anything from his past,not even who he is.He has great difficulty in speaking due to shell shock.He is a patient at an asylum when news of the wars end comes through.He goes for a walk in the grounds and escapes into the town.There he meets beautiful music hall singer Paula(Greer Garson)she nicknames him Smithy and tries to help him remember his past.He cannot but she does enable him to regain his speech and the two fall in love and marry.
Paula gives birth to a daughter and all seems well,until Smithy receives a job offer and goes to Liverpool for an interview.He is struck down in the street by a taxi,the fall causes his blocked memories to come back to him,but there's a catch,he now remembers nothing of Paula or their life together.Paula searches for him and eventually discovers he is now Charles Rainier and takes a job as secretary at his firm to be near him,can she make him remember her? Well grab the biggest Kleenex box you can find grab the chocolates and get caught up in this to find out.Coleman(in an Oscar nominated performance)is mesmerising as both the shy and awkward Smithy and the powerful but lonely Rainier,with Garson simply enchanting as the luminous love of his life.
Susan Peters also received an Oscar nomination for her role as Kitty Rainier's young fiancé.Susan was headed for a huge career after this when sadly she was paralyzed in a hunting accident and died a few years later.One of the best romances of the studio era,Random Harvest is one that you won't forget in a hurry.
Would you like to enjoy life for a while?....show me how.....
Dodsworth is directed by William Wyler, produced by Samuel Goldwyn and Merritt Hulberd,a screenplay by Sidney Howard based on the novel by Sinclair Lewis and stars Walter Huston,Ruth Chatterton,Mary Astor,David Niven and Maria Ouspenskaya.
Dodsworth is an intelligent tale about the dissolution of a marriage and a way of life.Sam Dodsworth(Walter Huston)is a wealthy Automobile mogul,who after selling his company,faces the challenges of his retirement.One of those challenges comes in the form of his much younger wife Fran(Ruth Chatterton).Fran loves Sam mostly for his position and wealth but is embarrassed by his personality and the often blunt way he says what he thinks.She want's culture and great sophistication now he's retired,so they take a cruise to France where(practically upon arrival)Fran's looks bring her many male admirers.
Dodsworth soon discovers she has begun an affair and leaves her.He meets American expatriate Edith Cortwright(Mary Astor)who has put behind her the American way of life and just enjoys the simple joys of life at her pace.The two fall in love and Dodsworth, for the first time in his life really starts to learn how to live and in fact be his own person.However their happiness seems to be short lived as a jilted and frightened Fran begs Dodsworth to reconcile with her.
The beauty of this film unlike others with similar stories is the fact that neither Dodsworth or Fran is painted as the villain.We feel Dodsworth's pain at her infidelity's,however we understand and sympathise with Fran for committing them and surely we can all relate to her deepest fear,loss of youth and physical attraction.
Beautifully acted by the three leads,with particular praise going to Huston for what is one of his greatest performances.If intelligence and top notch acting is what you think films should contain then this is one for you.Dodsworth is a refreshing change from the so called relationship dramas of todays cinema.
The Twilight Zone (1959)
A series which scares and challenges the audience like no other before or since......
The Twilight Zone was created by the man responsible for the unforgettable twist ending of Planet Of The Apes-Rod Serling.Serling(who also provided the narration for the episodes)brought us a series which is both creepy and intelligent,there's no spoon feeding of plots here,we are forced to use our brains to try and comprehend what we are seeing and really move out of our comfort zones for 30 minutes.
As well as playing series host,Serling also wrote many of the episodes along with Charles Beaumont and Richard Matheson.The series iconic theme tune is known the world over even by those who have never seen a single episode of the series.Running from 1959 to 1964 The Twilight Zone told the tales of mostly ordinary people who are thrown headfirst into bizarre and frightening situations far beyond their control.Each episode ends with an ironic(and often unsettling)twist that'll leave you open mouthed in shock.
A whole host of famous faces guest starred over the years including...Burgess Meredith(as a man desperate to read his books and thrilled when it looks like he'll get the chance..but will he?),Robert Cummings,Jack Klugman,Agnes Moorehead,Martin Balsam,William Shatner,Simon Oakland,Dick York,Telly Savalas and Martin Landau.The series writers dealt with subject matter that others would never even dream about writing,let alone airing,in doing so they paved the way for future classics including The Outer Limits,Tales From The Crypt and The XFiles.
There are gems to be had in all five seasons especially the many acknowledged classic episodes including..."Nightmare At 20,000 Feet","The Monsters Are Due On Maple Street","Time Enough At Last","Perchance To Dream" etc.There are many hidden gems too though including "The Hitchhiker",The Howling Man","The Passerby","The Oddysey Of Flight 33" and the truly disturbing "Deaths-Head Revisited".
Chilling,creepy and thought provoking The Twilight Zone is that rare thing,a TV series that is as fresh and relevant now as it was upon it's release in 1959,dealing with topics including,paranoia,mass hysteria,mistrust of strangers and being out of control of ones own life and destiny.If you want the ride of your life jump into The Twilight Zone...better buckle up that seatbelt first though,as you wouldn't want to get stuck there now would you?......
The Persuaders! (1971)
You stick with me....cause the surprise I'm gonna show you is gonna knock your eyes out!...
Devised and produced by Robert S.Baker,The Persuaders is still regarded by many viewers as the greatest of Lew Grade's ITC film series.It stars Tony Curtis,Roger Moore and Laurence Naismith.From the brilliant and iconic theme tune by John Barry,to the glamorous locations and exciting car chases, there's something here for everyone to enjoy.
The series focuses on two millionaire playboys-Lord Brett Sinclair(Roger Moore)a British peer of the realm,born into wealth and privilege.The other Danny Wilde(Tony Curtis)a self made man,moving up from poverty in the New York slums to become a wealthy oil magnate.The pair are conned into solving crimes and helping people in need,by retired Judge Felton(Laurence Naismith).Although polar opposites in both taste and personality; Brett and Danny soon find a way to tolerate one another and end up becoming the best of friends,saving each others lives many a time.
Famously Moore got to pick his costar from a choice of three Glenn Ford,Rock Hudson or Tony Curtis he chose Curtis.Doing so was a wise decision as the pair are magical together and it's very hard to imagine anyone else playing Danny Wilde quite the way Curtis does.Famously the pair adlibbed dialogue like crazy,yet never messed up scenes doing so and you can tell in the episodes they are having a whale of a time making the series.
The Persuaders is a heady cocktail of adventure,action,humour and style with it's stars being the cherry on top.As a recent purchaser of the complete series on Blu Ray DVD this is one I can highly recommend,you won't be disappointed and the extras are a treat.