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Bill Douglas Trilogy [DVD]

Stephen Archibald , Hughie Restorick , Bill Douglas    Suitable for 15 years and over   DVD
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)

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Product details

  • Actors: Stephen Archibald, Hughie Restorick, Jean Taylor-Smith, Bernard McKenna, Paul Kermack
  • Directors: Bill Douglas
  • Format: PAL
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 4:3 - 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Classification: 15
  • Studio: Bfi
  • DVD Release Date: 23 Jun 2008
  • Run Time: 172 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0017I1G5W
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 76,300 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)


Product Description

Bill Douglas's highly acclaimed, largely autobiographical trio of films that follow the fortunes of Jamie (Stephen Archibald) as he grows up in a poverty-stricken mining village in post-war Scotland. The films were made over a six-year period and track Jamie's growth from childhood to adolescence. Many critics regard the trilogy as one of British cinema's greatest achievements.


'I believe this trilogy will come to be regarded not just as a milestone, but as one of the heroic achievements of the British cinema' --Philip French

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
4.7 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
89 of 90 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Unforgettabe Masterpieces Finally on DVD 18 Jun 2008
Bill Douglas (1934-91) only made 4 films in his career, and the Trilogy forms the core of his oeuvre. Based on his own upbringing in dire poverty in a mining village just outside Edinburgh in the 1940s and 50s, they do not make for easy viewing. But kitchen sink realism a la Loach and Leigh they are not: these are poetic films, and can stand with the best of world cinema. Filtered through Douglas's memory, they are unsentimental, at times bleak and brutal, but always compassionate; rather than narratives, they are more like poems. Poetic cinema is rare enough in Britain, which seems to be embarrassed by such things, and these three films are powerful enough to be remembered by the body as much as the memory. Bill Douglas had a unique vision, and the Trilogy, once seen, will stay with you for A very long time, and can stand up to repeated viewings, each time giving you something new. They are almost totally unique in British cinema, but rather than lament, we should give thanks that at least Douglas managed to make 4 films - all masterpieces (the other being the 3 hour epic Comrades).

The transfers appear to be very good, and the booklet contains a number of essays about the films. Disc Two contains Douglas's London Film School graduation film, Come Dancing, in which his mature style was first evident, as well as a short interview about the Trilogy from 1980, and Andy Kimpton-Nye's 2006 documentary about Douglas's life and work.

I can't recommend these films higly enough. Bill Douglas is a forgotten genius of British cinema, and let's hope this excellent release does something to bring him back to some kind of visibility.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Stunning 10 Feb 2010
The most affecting series of films you are ever likely to see. A window into a life that is both harrowing and uplifting. There is a sense of hope just under the surface, however, the surface is pitted, scarred and almost impenetrable.

A must have for everyone, film buff or otherwise.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Memories 15 Nov 2009
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Had the first two of the trilogy on tape many years ago and decided to treat myself to the DVD. It is a very dark film about two young boys growing up in a Scottish mining village - the boys have different fathers who rarely take an interest in them and a mother who is in a mental hospital. Not for the faint hearted ! It is so well portrayed and you feel every emotion with them - give it a go.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb - but not for everyone 27 May 2012
This autobiographical trilogy is a piece of masterful film-making. Set at the end of the 2nd world war it depicts the evolving life of young boy who lives in a Scottish mining community. The boys life is a tale of rejection and alienation, as he lives with various members of his family. The back of the DVD says this is not a depressing set of films, or words to that effect, but I'm afraid I did find them quite depressing, and any prospective purchasers need to be aware of this. An action blockbuster this is not!

The films themselves were shot of a period of years using the same actors, so the boy grows through the 3 films. They are quite short. The first two are under an hour each and the 3rd is 72mins.

Having said that the movies are depressing, to counter-balance that, the acting is first class, some of the cinematography is beautiful and there is a poetic quality to the whole trilogy that you would never see in a contemporary mainstream movie.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a great trilogy on a perennial subject 26 Nov 2013
By schumann_bg TOP 50 REVIEWER
Philip French is quoted on the box as saying: "I believe this trilogy will come to be regarded not just as a milestone, but as one of the heroic achievements of the British cinema." It's an endorsement that seems fully justified when you watch this tryptich - it shows the intensity of a painter's eye - totalling nearly three hours (making each film actually quite short). Coming-of-age films are rarely as gritty as this one, but what is even rarer is its visual poetry that creates such a density of image. The black and white pictures really do tell the story of young Jamie's life, and get the feel of it in a piecemeal, slightly dislocated way, but with great power. It is closest to Vigo, I think, as another reviewer has said, turning the ordinary into something unforgettable. There is also something of Bresson in how much meaning he can get into a door opening, or the bleakest domestic scene, which is more austere than Vigo. You often feel intensely sorry for Jamie, at which point he is often held in the frame in all his helplessness. The actor, Stephen Archibald, gets older in successive films, going from about ten to sixteen. He has a forlorn look that evokes as much pathos as Antoine Doinel in Les 400 Coups, in fact his reticence and sad expression are heartbreaking, and he seems less of a survivor. The friend he meets in the airforce seems to have an intimate connection to him and a concern that verge on love, very touchingly after following his travails through so many episodes and so much unkindness. But potential viewers shouldn't be put off by the bleakness, because it is transcended by the cinematic art in a way few films manage to this marvellous degree. The second disc includes a short interview with Douglas, a documentary about his life, and a short film called Come Dancing that does have a quite explicit gay aspect, especially when you consider it was made in Britain in 1970, thereby preceding Sunday Bloody Sunday by a year.
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19 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Special to me 17 Nov 2008
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
I suppose this doesn't really count as a review but for me the release of these films on DVDs is extra special. My grandmother plays the paternal grandmother in the first two films and, as she died when I was one, the films she made are the only way of seeing her. I have these on video so was delighted to find them on DVD. They are stark, gloomy films but a good portrayal of a time gone by.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Harrowing closeted trilogy
If ever a series of films were more 'in the closet' it would be this trilogy The director hints subtly but then cuts scenes so drastically, spiriting away any lingering... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Andy Warhol's Favorite Wig
5.0 out of 5 stars Bill Douglas Trilogy
The ink had hardly dried on the 'order form' when it arrived. excellent service, would recommend this seller any day. Read more
Published 15 months ago by George Masterton
5.0 out of 5 stars WONDERFUL BOXSET.
Published 15 months ago by HAN XIAO
5.0 out of 5 stars A jewel of British Cinema
Unknown in France, the work of Bill Douglas is really exceptional. I tend to make a comparison with our french director Jean Vigo. Read more
Published on 3 Nov 2010 by M. Lucien MARCHAL
5.0 out of 5 stars Motion Picture Art
Another of those experiences where you immediately sit up and notice you are watching something special. Read more
Published on 10 Oct 2010 by Enthusiast
4.0 out of 5 stars Understated and touching
An understated, slow burner of a story. At times difficult to view through the lens of a modern cinematic visual vocabulary but patience with this trilogy is the reward of a gem of... Read more
Published on 2 July 2010 by M. Ogden
5.0 out of 5 stars Unique, indescribable
Actually, 5 stars are not enough.

The late Bill Douglas was a genius of cinema, and although the works he left are few, they are simply perfect. Read more
Published on 13 Jan 2010 by Rama Lama Ding Dong
5.0 out of 5 stars Poor Patrick
Ahh poor Patrick, caught in the vacuous babble of the 21st century.
Mamma Mia has everything he seems to need in a film. Me? Read more
Published on 2 Jun 2009 by Peter Marshall
3.0 out of 5 stars bill douglas trilogy
a slow and pointless movie with a bad story and you need patience to see it to the end
Published on 28 Feb 2009 by Patfinmur
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