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Beirut (2018)
8/10
a lot of people missed this ,it is good
16 March 2019
I am not sure that this was in cinemas in the UK,certainly if it was it did not stay long. So I missed it on the big screen and saw it on tv,now I am watching it on pleasingly cheap blu ray and getting more out of it the second time around.

I am not saying it is a complicated film but there is more too it than lots of modern films. The makers of this film might feel that it should be better known it is good of its type. This is a spy drama set in Beirut.

Hamm is great in this but all the cast are good and the plot is not predictable.
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Gumshoe (1971)
7/10
obscure,old but not a classic I think.
6 March 2019
People will say this is a forgotten classic. I don't think it is forgotten since I have seen it on British tv over the years.

I was glad to buy the blu ray the other day and watched with great attention.

I confess I was a bit disappointed,as others reviewers say it is of historical interest but as a film I don't think it is that entertaining.

I find it hard to describe the tone of the film,it is a comedy drama I suppose but it is not that funny and not that dramatic. My dreamgirl Carolyn Seymour is wasted in this.. Films of this era more worth seeing would include Sort Target,Unman,Wittering and Zigo and the amazing The Reckoning.
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Maigret (1992–1993)
9/10
they don't make them like this anymore,the best version?
6 March 2019
In 1992/1993 I was busy trying to make a career and did not see much of this series.I have seen some repeats but was delighted to buy the dvd boxed set.

It seems I had seen hardly any of the series. People are critical of this saying it is a British version of a French tale,fair comment but it is a well written and well cast and watching makes me want to win the lottery and move to Paris. There are 12 episodes and of course some are weaker than others but the acting is always good even in the small parts and it looks great.

Budapest plays Paris. I like the recent,Rowan Atkinson version of Maigret but this version is bigger budget and a better view of Maigret and his team in a more sinful Paris.

The plots assume than viewers would be willing to invest some effort into some complicated stories but this is less true nowadays
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The Aftermath (2019)
7/10
a modest film,well acted,script could have been better.
2 March 2019
To enjoy this film it helps to know that Britain,USA,France and the USSR occupied Germany after world war 2. I assume every potential viewer does not know this?

This is a well acted historical/romance drama. I think that the characters are overdressed at times,Keira is very well dressed which we might expect but the German lodger (Skarsgard) has a crazy amount of new looking outfits.

No plot spoilers but this is a touching human story.
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Traitors (2019– )
6/10
It might turn out great but so far it is weak an unconvincing.
17 February 2019
Warning: Spoilers
This might turn out to be a great thriller but half way through the first episode the way the history is shown is really annoying me.

The episode shows SOE training ,a fake interrogation,they really did this sort of thing so some research done there.

But then we have the 1945 election,many of the voters were soldiers who were overseas so it took several weeks to get the soldiers votes back to Britain,the results day was not the same day as the voting.

Characters keep referring to the Labour Party as The Socialists,the Daily Mail and the Telegraph used to refer to Labour as the socialists to make then sound foreign and extreme but I doubt members of the public used the expression much.

The election result in 1945 was a surprise to most people but there had been indications that it might turn out as it did. Churchill fought a bad campaign,personally insulting Attlee who greatly admired him. Churchill suggested that a Labour government would need some sort of Gestapo to Britain,Attlee reply was statesmanlike.

There is little evidence that America spied on Britain much after 1945. The American intelligence organisations learned a lot from British intelligence organisations 1941-1945 and they maintain close links to this day.

There is little evidence for the plot idea that there was much Soviet influence on the Labour government. Soviet influence on the Labour party and Trade Unions yes,influence on government ,not much. Attlee and Bevin had fought the far left in the Labour party since the 1930s.

Bevin was very much an anti communist,he helped drag America into forming NATO by fooling it over the Greece crisis. Attlee made sure that the far left pro communist mps were sidelined and thrown out of the party by 1950. The Attlee government helped form Nato built the British atom bomb and took part in the Korean war. ed to It is true there was the rhetoric of left will talk to left in 1945 and Britain did sell jet engines to the USSR but the majority of evidence shows that the 1945 government thought that British democratic socialism was a weapon against communism not an ally of it.
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8/10
it is hard work but a great drama,a banquet not burger and chips.
16 February 2019
I have just watched this on dvd in one go after watching on tv a few months ago.

Watching it again I feel it is very good.

As many other reviewers say it requires close attention to be paid to appreciate the whole thing. The acting and the script and the production design are all of the highest standard. I can understand that many people can't invest in it but if people do stick with it I think you will be glad you did.

I recall that after The Night Manager was a hit (that was a much easier watch) the team were going to do a version of The Spy Who Came In From The Cold. I wonder if that will ever get made?
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Nikita (2010–2013)
7/10
finally saw this,disappointed.
6 February 2019
I am a fan of both Nikita moves and the first tv series so I eventually bought second hand dvd of the first 2 seasons.

I am surprised how positive most of the reviews on here are. I don't think the lead actress is that good an actress,she looks ok in the endless costume changes but she is not as good as Jennifer Garner in Alias.

I am not gripped by the story and the Canada pretending to be everywhere in the world is tiresome.

I think Alias was better than this,although it gets less praise.

There were so many similar shows,this is not the best.
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The Champions (1968–1969)
9/10
my favourite ITC series,less predictable than The Saint.
3 February 2019
I like The Saint but they made far too many episodes and a lot of the episodes were poor I think.

I first saw the Champions as a kid. Imagine the scene,Scotland early 1970s,school summer holidays and it always seems to be raining. Daytime tv was only on for a few hours I think. School holidays meant they showed old series like this. I could never get interested in Belle and Sebastian or White Horses but I like The Champions and Time Tunnel and things like that.

I suppose The Saint and Man In A Suitcase were for adults but The Champions was regarded as a kids show.

Anyway looking again at this series I am struck by how the plots are pretty good and the acting is pretty good. The plot idea (superpowers for ordinary people) is good. The plots meant that the series needed a bigger budget and different locations than the London based ITC series you might be used to.
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My Partner the Ghost (1969–1971)
8/10
I still like it but god the stories.
3 February 2019
I have fond memories of watching this when I was 10 or 12. I was shown on tv on a Sunday lunchtime. It was not a kids show but it was light, it had humour.

Nearly every episode features bumbling Scotland Yard detectives and pretty girls. Watching it now it seems odd that nearly everybody smokes and drinks all the time.

Now being more than 11 I can appreciate the beauty of Annette Andre.

But like all the ITC series to enjoy this you have to accept the same locations again and again and the awful lack of plots.

There are several episodes which seem to rip of others in the series,they ran out of plots but just kept waking the series anyway.

London is shown to be full of pretty girls,gangsters and seedy clubs and bars. I was a bit disappointed when I first visited London and discovered it had less seediness and more sunshine than shown in this series.
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The Man in Room 17 (1965– )
6/10
to be fair only seen 1 episode.
3 February 2019
My late father always said this series was dull. But I had no opinion until I watched an episode on the Randall and Hopkirk dvd boxed set.

I have only seen 1 episode (How to rob a bank) I am not impressed even allowing for the age of the thing. People on IMDB give it 8 out of 10 but nobody reviews it. I guess the people who remember it and like it are very old?

Anyway compared to old episodes of Special Branch or any of the ITC series I found this dull,despite Virginia Wetherall being in the episode I saw.

I would love to know what people liked about this in the mid 1960s,was it the clever script?
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Anna Karenina (1948)
7/10
surprised this is not better known,great looking film.
1 February 2019
I am not sure I have ever seen this version before,watched the dvd today. If I had read the reviews on here I might not have bought it. No plot spoilers but this is a great looking well acted version of the much filmed story.

I agree the young lover officer character is not a great actor but Richardson and Leigh are great in this.

Britain made some great films in the 1940s and 1950s although oddly this english language film is by a French director.

It makes me laugh that a reviewer on here criticises this as a Hollywood version, I am glad Scorcese and Spielberg know Britain has made many great films
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Yanks (1979)
8/10
surprised it gets so little praise on here and elsewhere.
23 January 2019
I am watching this on a new blu ray. I find it ti be a beautiful looking, well acted film. It has a great cast,down to the smallest parts,was Richard Gere better than in this film?

People are critical of the script but it was written by a guy who was a kid in the North West of England during the war (where the film is set) and an American who had been in the US army at the same time.

The history seems pretty accurate to me (history is very much my thing)and the locations are great.

I will give no plot spoilers but the relationships (of all kinds) between the Americans and the British are well handled. I think there was a special relationship between the 2 groups during the war,forget the immature anti Americanism that has developed since the 1940s.

If you have never seen this film,perhaps put off by the critics,I suggest you try and see it. I think if people watch the film with an open mind they will like or even love the film.
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Deadfall (1968)
6/10
not a classic but worth seeing
13 January 2019
I have understandably always confused this film with Gambit. Both heist movies starring Michael Caine. I am a huge Caine fan but somehow never saw this until today. It is as I say a heist story set in Spain. No plot spoilers but it is not totally an action film,there is a romance and psychological angle.

The cast is great and the film makes Spain look fantastic. The soundtrack is wonderful. I don't understand why this film gets such bad reviews,it is as good as The Thomas Crown affair and similar films.
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The Protectors (1972–1974)
6/10
I remember Sunday afternoons and this show,still disappoints.
5 January 2019
I recall loving the theme tune of this series and not loving the thing itself. I was 11/12 when this was on tv and so I bought the dvd the other day as part of my mission to watch ITC productions I watched when much younger.

I have watched The Baron and Department S and Man In A Suitcase. I know The Saint,The Champions and Randall and Hopkirk well.

I expected to like The Protectors but I am not enjoying it much. The plots are usually poor and the lead characters are unimpressive.

As many critics say the 30 minute format is a fatal flaw,even the best stories need time to develop,there is no time in 30 minutes.

The positive things about this series is the locations and the look of the show,I want to live in the flats they live in.

The locations seem to mostly be Spain,the South Of France and Malta. Malta looks fantastic in this series.

I am going to stick with this series in the hope it gets better,looking forward to guests stars such as Hannah Gordon but so far I am not liking it as much as The Saint or The Champions.
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5/10
where do I start,Scottish in nor Irish.not a good film.
23 December 2018
Warning: Spoilers
I have seen only a few of these Italian war films. I like From Hell to Victory and Eagles Over London. But this film is a lot less enjoyable than the 2 mentioned.

Some of the reviews say Palance plays an Irish officer,but he is Scottish which in not the same thing at all. I am Scottish,his accent i a bit like the janitor from the Simpsons. The film is dubbed into english but still the accents are poor

The film features Spanish small arms instead of Sten guns or Thompsons,it features 1950s American tanks instead of period German tanks.

On a positive note some of the action scenes are good,they have a nice big railway gun,wonder if it was real,it looks real/
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7/10
watching it again it is pretty good but still disappointing
18 December 2018
Warning: Spoilers
I am obsessed with war films in general and spy and resistance films in particular. I saw this when it came out and since then have read a lot about the history and watched a lot of related films.

I have to partly correct my view of how bad this film is. It seemed unexciting when I first saw it but perhaps I expected more of an action film. I have been harsh on this film previously to anybody who will listen. It is not an action film,you could say it is a film about coming of age in wartime. It is directed by an Australian women director so perhaps it is more feminist and less cliched than a version that might have been made by a male British director who has watched The Great Escape 20 times. Cate Blanchett's performance is good,she plays an uncertain,learning character.

As for the plot there are hints of the complications of the politics of the French resistance (it suggests the De Gaulle supporters set up a communist group to be killed by the Germans) but the communists were not saints either(don't mention the nazi-Soviet pact).

If you have not seen this I would suggest you see it but don't expect a classic. It has a great cast but seems unrealistic at points,if you don't expect a action war film then you will like it
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Department S (1969–1973)
6/10
It is the least interesting ITC series,yes worse than The Baron.
25 November 2018
Warning: Spoilers
I was 8 in 1968 and so too young for most of the ITC series. The Champions and Randall and Hopkirk were often repeated and I liked them and still do. Man In A Suitcase and The Baron were repeated and I quite liked them but The Baron is a bit bland. We know and love The Saint.

I had seen Department S but did not like it much. I recently watched the whole of Department S and I have to say that I don't like it much. The Jason King character just annoys me,I like the other 2 characters and the idea of the thing is good.

But the scripts are nearly all awful. There are 3 or 4 episodes with brainwashing and several episodes set in planes and 2 set in warehouses. Was there an ideas shortage in the late 1960s?

I recall working with someone in the early 1980s who used to say how much he loved this show,he liked all the pretty girls.
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6/10
my minority opinion,this is an awful fulm.
21 November 2018
This is the sort of film I like. All the other reviews here are positive but I am struggling to find something I like about this film. It is so bad it has not been shown on the old film tv channel which has some standards.

I know this is a low budget film made in 1953 it really is uninteresting.

I used to wonder why my late parents hated British films,I think they saw too many films like this one.
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Sir Norbert Smith, a Life (1989 TV Movie)
8/10
on dvd now,still great but too short.
15 November 2018
I have to add my praise to others here who like this comedy. The more you know the British film industry history the more you will get out of the jokes.

It is out on dvd now so you can buy it if you want. But I was shocked that it was made so long ago and also shocked how short it is,it is only 47 minutes. Enfield did film parodies in his tv series,could some of these not been put on this disc? wrong production company I suppose.
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Informer (2018– )
9/10
this is great,great acting and script.
14 November 2018
This has nearly finished on conventional tv but but for people who have not seen it yet,see it on catch up of dvd.

I loved Spooks and love The Americans,this thing is partly about undercover cops and informers.

This is a gripping addictive show. People who say it is unrealistic are being dishonest I think.
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9/10
obscure,thought provoking,try to see it.
2 November 2018
If you like spy/conspiracy films seek this obscure film out. But don't expect an action thriller. The cast is amazing,we see one of Caine's best performances. He plays a man whose worldview is shaken by events. Fans of Le Carre and Len Deighton should like this film.

The film was made the same year as The Fourth Protocol and even although I like and know both films I sometimes get them confused since Caine stars in both but while they are both worth a watch they are not at all similar.

Just because you have not heard of this film does not mean it is not worth seeing.

Everyone is entitled to their opinions but the people on here who say this is a bad must have expected an action film,it is more of a thought provoking film.
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8/10
this is a historical drama,all about context
28 October 2018
Warning: Spoilers
I was 10 in 1970 and 20 in 1980. I am obsessed by current affairs and history and spy/war films. I feel therefore entitled to an opinion on this drama. I have only just watched the first episode.

I feel that some viewers and critics will not get the context of the story.

The Palestine issue was less well known than it is now but it was known about due to the terrorist threat. Back then nobody talked about religion,many Palestinians were christians and the Palestine cause was a left wing,even a far left cause.

Younger viewers or people with little interest in the arts or left wing politics might feel the leftist actress in this is an odd character.

But one particular far left party (WRP) was famous for recruiting young middle class actors and making them a mouthpiece for their cause. The amazing thing about the book Little Drummer Girl is that the author's own sister was an actress whose life informed the story?

I have read the book several times and found it made me think.

This production looks great and is well acted,I look forward to the next episode.
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The Gentle Touch (1980–1984)
8/10
have to review again after 56 episodes.
22 October 2018
I reviewed this series a month ago but have now managed to watch all 56 episodes of the series.

I have not too much to add to my previous comments. The series is better than I remember it being.

It was made in 1980-1985 but I remember a lot of the episodes although I don't think it has been repeated much.

As I said previously people go on about The Sweeney and Prime Suspect but this series was regarded as being tough and realistic when first shown and it tries to be but sometimes fails.

This series was based on the idea of a policewomen in a senior position. American tv had had Policewomen with Angie Dickinson,6 years after The Gentle Touch people got excited about Prime Suspect but it never seemed that realistic to me.

But as much as I am praising The Gentle Touch it had run out of steam by the last series. There were some good episodes in all the series but there were some really silly ones as well.

If you look at the wikipedia entry for this series please don't believe the statement there that this series was the product of conservative government propaganda.

It is true that some of the episodes focus on changing society and the challenge faced by the police. I was 20 in 1980 and politics apart society was changing a lot in the 1980s,wanting a more stable law respecting society does not make some a conservative. Indeed there are several episodes where characters talk about the problems of mass unemployment and racism and sexism.
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Hunter Killer (2018)
8/10
surprisingly good,not original
22 October 2018
I did not expect too much from this but I enjoyed it and there were only a couple of cringe worthy moments.

I give no plot spoilers but if you like this sort of film you will like it.

It is not too long and it does not drag and the action scenes and locations are fine.

Butler is suitably heroic and the rest of the cast is fine.

I don't recognise most of the cast but of course I know Gary Oldman who seems a bit lost in this film,anybody care to guess what accent he is trying to do?

I liked this film but it is not the best submarine film which is Morning Departure in my opinion.
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7/10
my mission to watch old British films sometimes disappoints.
21 October 2018
I love watching old films,especially old British films.they show our cities as they were and it is fun to see star actors in their early years. Sometimes the films are good and it is great to find an undiscovered classic.

But I hate to agree with the only other review here of this film. It is interesting in locations and actors but is not great as a film. This is a Liverpool set kitchen sink sort of drama. I give no plot spoilers but it is fairly predictable.

The cast is interesting,Frankie Vaughan is the star,he is handsome but his musical numbers feel dated . Carole Lesley is the female lead,she is beautiful but I don't recall seeing her in anything else. It is Liverpool set but don't expect strong regional accents in 1957.
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