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DVDs. Soviets and the Poor, Jennings and Kobayashi

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"For a time in the mid-to-late 1920s," writes Dave Kehr in the New York Times, "the art of the cinema meant only one thing to the serious-minded film critics of America and Europe: Soviet-style montage, or the art of cutting shots together in a way that would produce ideas and emotions beyond those expressed in the images themselves…. The montage vogue did not last long…. But the fascination of this road not much taken remains, as reflected in Kino's recent Blu-ray releases of Eisenstein's Battleship Potemkin and his first feature, Strike, and now by a boxed set of eight films from Flicker Alley, Landmarks of Early Soviet Film. Part of the folklore of Soviet montage is that it was invented by the idealistic filmmakers of a newborn nation as a way of converting imported American movies from capitalist pettifoggery into proletarian uplift by rearranging sequences and redefining characters. Alas, none
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This week's new DVD & Blu-ray

Retro-action! Volumes 1-3

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
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Pat Jackson obituary

Film director whose work included the wartime masterpiece Western Approaches

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
See full article at The Guardian - Film News »

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