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Four in the Morning [DVD] [1965] [US Import]

Ann Lynn , Judi Dench , Anthony Simmons    DVD
3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)

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Product details

  • Actors: Ann Lynn, Judi Dench, Norman Rodway, Brian Phelan, Joe Melia
  • Directors: Anthony Simmons
  • Writers: Anthony Simmons
  • Producers: John Morris
  • Format: Black & White, Dolby, DVD-Video, Original recording remastered, Restored, Widescreen, PAL
  • Language: English
  • Region: All Regions
  • Aspect Ratio: 16:9 - 1.77:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: NR (Not Rated) (US MPAA rating. See details.)
  • Studio: Vci Video
  • DVD Release Date: 31 Aug 2010
  • Run Time: 94 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B003RHZ6DY
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 218,524 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)



Writer-director Anthony Simmons shows two couples in crisis, tying them in with a gimmick, which works. There's an unidentified girl found in a river. Simmons gives the scene of the discovery and study of the drowned girl a metallic, sombre documentary flavor. A seemingly rootless young man picks up a singer he knows after her work. At four in the morning they romp around the Thames' shores, steal a boat, leave it, almost touch each other emotionally but part still uncommitted. Hints of the instability of both are carefully and intelligently suggested. The other couple is shown as a woman waiting for her husband, out on the town with a bachelor crony. The baby cries and exasperates her. The growing incompatibility of the couple is deftly outlined in bold, dramatic strokes. Judi Dench has the right checked hysteria for her role of the wife with a disposition towards love that makes her poignant. Ann Lynn and Brian Phelan are also effective as the other couple with Joe Melia a pointed counterpoint to the married couple with his personal problems. --www.variety.com/reviews

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Poetic snapshot 27 Sep 2009
In one sense this film is slight, but only if you're expecting the cinematic equivalent of a novel rather than the poetic short story which this seems to be. It offers a glimpse into two relationships, one soured by the arrival of a child, and the other perhaps about to blossom, although one of the partners has had such a bad experience earlier that it is unlikely to be smooth going. These stories are framed by the discovery of a woman's body in the Thames and the subsequent cleaning and storing of the body.

It's certainly not a thriller and there is no epiphany for the characters in either of the two tales; as Jude (Judi Dench) says they are no further forward by the end of the night about what to do, and the short bursts of happiness and unease in the case of the other relationship don't provide much in the way of closure either.

But the film is far from frustrating, provided you accept that it's more a snapshot than an intensive examination. But bear in mind snapshots can suggest a larger truth. And the presence of the corpse helps make sense of the other two narratives: seize life, is the implication, even though we have seen how difficult that is and the film provides no easy answers. The final shot is of people crossing Waterloo Bridge to work in the morning with, we can assume, their own tales of frustration and despair - but they are persisting nevertheless.

There are some superb moments in the film. The acting is terrific throughout, but Norman Rodway as Judi Dench's husband and Joe Melia as his partner in drink make a terrific double act (playing characters called Norman and Joe, incidentally). When, towards the end of the film, the corpse is being cleaned up there is a genial workplace conversation which seems reassuring, not callous.
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16 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Moody and atmospheric 60s social drama 31 Aug 2008
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
A moody and atmospheric black and white film from 1965 with a great John Barry score. An intriguing social drama, framed by an intrigue about the identity of a body pulled out of the Thames. Nice Thames imagery, shown in widescreen. This is one of the best of British B&W films of the sixties. It won a lot of prizes in Europe. The DVD includes a short documentary film by the director called "Bow Bells". For me, this film is definitely one to keep.
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15 of 19 people found the following review helpful
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Dark and brooding - and at times depressing drama with apt title. This movie nevertheless is a forgotten gem from 1965 starring two great actresses: Ann Lynn and a young Dame Judi Dench.

Two different couples have their own problems and difficulties. One couple's problems are apparent (Jude and Norman) but the troubles of the 'nameless' couple are unknown. This is a film with a tragedy (for anyone who is able to read more into it) and has plenty of atmosphere.

Judi Dench plays, Jude, a struggling and frustrated mother of a small baby with a neglecting husband, and in those days, there was very little a woman could do to escape such circumstances. The beautiful and fabulous actress Ann Lynn plays a nameless woman who has very different troubles, but the movie does not reveal what they are, and so the Viewer is left to assume rather a lot - make of it what you will...

Despite how much we need them, this movie shows men at their worst, but is an interesting piece of drama from the 1960s.

NOTE: There is an interesting piece taken from this film on YouTube that has been beautifully edited to accompany the number one hit 'Where Are You Now' by Jackie Trent from the same year. Well worth taking a look! It will make you want to buy this movie - trust me!
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars London in shimmering black and white 3 Nov 2011
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
First released in 1965 but shown only in art-house cinemas, which is where I first saw it, it went on to win Dame Judi Dench a 'Most Promising Newcomer' BAFTA and it's Director Anthony Simmons the Cannes 'Prix des Cinemas d'Art et d'Essai'. It then dropped off the radar and I don't recall it ever having been on TV, so it is a rare bird indeed, and a most welcome release on DVD.
It was originally conceived as three entirely separate short films to be made on micro-budgets. The first story line concerns the river police finding the body of a young woman floating in the Thames, the second features the wonderful Ann Lynn and and a somewhat less convincing Brian Phelan, she a night club entertainer, he her lover struggling to make a commitment, and the final thread stars Judi Dench, married and with a small child, locked in domestic combat with boorish husband Norman Rodway and his less-than-welcome friend Joe Melia, a jokey but ultimately lonely bachelor.
The Director then hit upon the plan of splicing the three strands together to make a single full-length feature, inter-cutting between the 3 story-lines, which is a technique we are well used to today but which was then very innovative. In truth, one is left hoping the three plots will eventually come together but they never do, which is somewhat unsatisfactory.
The young Judi Dench is luminous, oozing sadness in her constricted domestic plight. The DVD is worth buying for that alone, but there are many other pleasures, not least the glowing cinematography, with splendid Thames-side locations, and the DVD is a clean print in correct 16:9 ratio, unlike many cropped 4:3 re-releases from this era. (Note to Amazon, please let us have more information on aspect ratios).
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Great film
Published 7 days ago by david carr
3.0 out of 5 stars This film does not get anywhere!
We don't know the mysterious woman dragged out from the Thames river..unless you may of kept thinking it was one of the Two leading ladies. Maybe not.. Read more
Published 8 months ago by Tony Fox
5.0 out of 5 stars One day all films will learn from this
Loved it when it first came out, and now 40 years later.
Judi D is of course superb, but I prize it most as a semi-documentary of a life on the Thames which is now totally... Read more
Published 16 months ago by Geoff KERSHAW
1.0 out of 5 stars four in the morning film.
I have just sat and watched this dreadfulfilm, slow, boring no proper story line, I have never been so bored in my life. Read more
Published on 27 May 2012 by Dee
1.0 out of 5 stars Who are these people and who cares?
This is possibly the worst film I've seen in a long time, but it does have some interesting qualities, notably a now long gone view of sixties east London, and a very young Judi... Read more
Published on 20 Nov 2009 by Gortonandy
3.0 out of 5 stars A bit hard going...
A quality film, but not quite my thing. I found it sad and depressing overall, but I suspect that may have been the intention.
Published on 1 Feb 2009 by SharonVespaGirl
2.0 out of 5 stars A drab affair .
Having read the review of this film , I was expecting a gritty British thriller . It is in fact something of a drab and dreary affair . Read more
Published on 7 Sep 2008 by Egbert Souse
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