The Lavender Hill Mob Blu-ray

Recently, both my wife and I have found ourselves in huge despair with the lack of cultural media knowledge of those people just a couple of decades younger than us.  They seem to know absolutely nothing about the TV series and movies of the 1960s and 1970s – genuine, unadulterated classics that still function as entertaining diversions from the world around us.  A random thought then crossed my mind – their ignorance about that era was exactly the same as mine about the output from the 1940s and 1950s. Aside from the names of some productions, most of the classics I’ve never actually seen.

Before I could continue being ‘holier than thou’ on such issues, I have therefore begun to make a concerted effort to jaunt back a couple of decades beyond my comfort zone. If it wasn’t SF, you can almost guarantee my ignorance. Within that file you can certainly pick out “The Lavender Hill Mob”. Surely everyone knows of Ealing Studios, a British film production giant that has been around since the early stages of the 20th Century. This film, made by them in 1951, has a quality which, 60 years on, means it is rightfully described as iconic.

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Went The Day Well?: Blu-ray

The balance between news, entertainment and propaganda is always a fine one.  This becomes more blurred in times of war.  We live in a society where the boundary between war and peace has now been removed. Our governments tell us, categorically, that we are involved in a ‘war on terror’.  But no, they say, we are not at war. By definition, the current ‘war’ is against unseen and uncategorized enemies; they could be anywhere.  In essence, we are in a WORLD war. One that is different to all those that have gone before: how can our enemies surrender and the war then be declared over?

Under this cloud, witness the release on Blu-ray of “Went the Day Well?” – made in 1942, it is told in flashback, the prologue defining the tale as being relayed sometime in the future, when the Nazi menace has been repelled. Ordinary citizens play their part in putting paid to the nefarious onslaught of fascist forces, the needs of freedom seeing for many a necessary sacrifice to repel the odious invaders.

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Don't Look Now on Blu-ray

We are at a time when Blu-ray is coming of age – classic films, and even the occasional stand-out TV series, are being redefined thanks to their upgrade to this new format. “Don’t Look Now” is the latest of these iconic titles to make the transition. I have to admit to having not seen the film since early adolescence, when the promise of an explicit sex scene saw it become essential late night television viewing, rather than any for any exposure of near-unique directorial abilities.

Even at the time, despite the billing, the sex scene featuring Donald Sutherland and Julie Christie as the tragic married couple felt a little incongruous, almost there to provide a little titillation to provide a lure to other potential audiences. You are in essence watching various elements of a jigsaw puzzle – in isolation seemingly disconnected from each other, then gradually coming together as a whole when you are exposed to the equivalent of the ‘box lid’.

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Unknown: Blu-ray and DVD

It’s the classic stuff of nightmares.  Suddenly, halfway through a dream, you find that no-one believes you are who you say you are.  People you thought knew you deny ever seeing you before in their lives, and then to cap it all, someone else claims to be you, and knows everything that you do – things they should not have knowledge of, leaving you dumbfounded and all alone, miles from home.

And so it is that this scenario becomes the basis of “Unknown”, the latest vehicle for the multi-talented Liam Neeson, who recently did the impossible by replacing George Peppard in the bid screen version of “The A-Team”. Here it’s a real change of pace, as he pulls off playing a renowned scientist who finds himself in a car accident, after which, minus passport and anything else which would prove he is who he says he is, he struggles to find allies in his quest for truth.

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Twilight Zone Sn 1 on Blu-ray

It’s over five decades since television first brought us a fifth dimension, one that lies between the pit of man’s fears and the summit of his knowledge; a dimension of imagination that is now released on Blu-ray, a format that has now made the impossible actually happen – the episodes being so pristine that they are undoubtedly a better quality than that seen on their original transmission. This is the benefit of having filmed on 35mm - now all that depth of field can be put onto a shiny disc for home viewing.

The Twilight Zone: The Original Series – Season One includes some of the show’s most celebrated episodes and stars, including “Time Enough At Last” (Burgess Meredith), “The Monsters Are Due On Maple Street” (Claude Akins), “Walking Distance” (Gig Young), “The After Hours” (Anne Francis), “When The Sky Was Opened” (Rod Taylor), “A World Of Difference” (Howard Duff) and “A Stop At Willoughby” (James Daly).

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