The First Days (1939)
It's a common occurrence: you buy a box set of a show you fondly yet vaguely remember, then, after you've got the buzz of seeing the title sequence again and reacquainted yourself with the characters, you find that maybe the whole series wasn't as good as your rose-tinted vision had you believe.
That's why these compilation discs are such a great move. All the shows here (one episode of each) are from Itc, a UK production company run by the legendary showbiz impresario Lord Lew Grade and responsible for much of our world-class TV output during the 1960s and 1970s. Itc shot everything on film rather than video (so everything here looks stunning) and made full use of all the writers, directors, actors, craftsmen and technicians the British film industry had to offer. Over three separately available discs you get the pick of such classics as The
The director Pat Jackson, who has died aged 95, was best known for the semi-documentary war film Western Approaches (1944). This neglected classic – a feature-length portrait of the Battle of the Atlantic – was shot under the auspices of the Ministry of Information's Crown Film Unit and predominantly filmed at sea under hazardous conditions. The shoot's logistical nightmares were compounded by the vast size of the Technicolor camera. Jackson himself devised the story of the imminent convergence of a German U-boat and an English ship which is on the way to save a group of comrades in a lifeboat.
Jackson was in his late 20s when he shot Western Approaches with the outstanding cameraman Jack Cardiff and a cast of amateur actors. It was a remarkable achievement that remained unsurpassed throughout the writer-director's lengthy career. The film was well received in Britain and
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