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I Am A Camera [DVD] [1955]

13 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Actors: Laurence Harvey, Julie Harris, Shelly Winters
  • Directors: Henry Cornelius
  • 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: 1
  • Classification: 12
  • Studio: Park Circus
  • DVD Release Date: 8 Nov. 2010
  • Run Time: 99 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B003ZIZ2ZC
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 116,177 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Reviews

Based on the novel Goodbye To Berlin by Christopher Isherwood (author of A Single Man and whose Berlin Stories also inspired Cabaret), I Am A Camera reminisces about life in Berlin during the 1930s. A young and naive author befriends a lively and totally amoral English girl, Sally Bowles. The two form a close friendship and he thoroughly enjoys her outrageous behaviour. Together they indulge in the freedom and decadence offered by Berlin at the time, but as support for Nazi fascism rises, the city as they know it begins to vanish.

Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By The CinemaScope Cat TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 3 Jun. 2011
Format: DVD
An aspiring writer (Laurence Harvey) in 1931 Berlin hooks up with an amoral party girl (Julie Harris recreating her Tony award winning performance) as the rise of Nazism casts its dark shadow over the nation. Based on the play by John Van Druten which, in turn, was based on Christopher Isherwood's GOODBYE TO BERLIN and later morphed again into the stage and film musical CABARET, this version is lighter and frothier. The bubbly Harris plays Sally Bowles as more of a junior Auntie Mame and while delightful, she's saddled with the the enervated Harvey who has most of the screen time. While quite daring for its time (it was condemned by the Catholic church's Legion Of Decency), director Henry Cornelius (GENEVIEVE) can't quite find the sparkle in the material. Malcolm Arnold did the score and Oscar winning Guy Green (Lean's GREAT EXPECTATIONS) responsible for the cinematography. With Shelley Winters and Anton Diffring in the Jewish heiress and the gigolo subplot and Ron Randell, who overdoes the vulgar nouveau riche American bit.

The Weinerworld DVD out of Great Britain is a more than adequate transfer.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful By James Hayes on 14 Aug. 2006
Format: DVD
This is a peculiar screen rendition of Isherwood's Berlin tales. It never quite gets into the groove of being about bohemian ex-part Brits caught amid the rise of the Nazis, nor an engaging portrait of the free-spirited Sally Bowles. The Germanic setting is pantomimical, and the screenplay - based on John Van Druten's stageplay of the same name - is a bit all over the place. Julie Harris makes a fair fist of the role of the skittish ingénue, and her performance is quite uncharacteristically full-on for 1950s cinema. The real problem is Laurence Harvey as the tortured writer `Chris Isherwood' - his performance here is always forced and frenetic, and seems under-rehearsed; and Harvey's amazing quiff of dark hair steals all his scenes. Anton Diffring (not playing a Nazi this time) and Shelley Winters play third and fourth bananas. Halfway through the plot there is a strange attempt at a comic interlude set in a drunken party that is at odds with the tenor of the rest of the production. Maybe worth seeing for Isherwood fans, but at £12.99 rather pricey considering the fact that there are no DVD extras.
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By Julie Harris Fan on 30 Sept. 2013
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Julie Harris ,who recently died, (see http://www.theguardian.com/stage/2013/aug/25/julie-harris) plays a fine role. I am a Camera is a comedy in contrast to East of Eden.
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12 of 17 people found the following review helpful By City Of Evanston on 22 Jun. 2004
Format: DVD
I am delighted that this will be available on dvd soon. I own
the vhs tape and find it one of Julie Harris' finest roles. They
cleaned it up from the play because it was filmed in 1955 but it
still was released without a production code seal. I guess because
Sally Bowles was a free spirit and was not "redeemed" by the end
of the film. Shelley Winters and Laurence Harvey also are in the
film. This was the precursor to CABARET and Harris captures the
wantoness of pre-war Berlin when everyone was out just to have a
good time and damn the consequences. Thanks to Wienerworld Ltd
for releasing this on dvd. I am quite anxious.
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By joe raineri on 29 Sept. 2013
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
The DVD plays well; it arrived on time. I'm very satisfied.
i would recommend you to future purchasers.
Keep up the good work.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Mr. P. Marcel on 26 April 2010
Format: DVD
A rather strange adaptation of Christopher Isherwood's excellent BERLIN CHRONICLES. One can only marvel at the credits. There's Laurence Harvey and Julie Harris, Anton Diffring and Shelley Winters, but also Patrick McGoohan in a blink-and-you-miss-it cameo, and the script, adapting John Van Druten's stage adaptation, is by John Collier. One notes Jack Clayton as an associate producer, and Clive Donner on the editing.

In spite of all these luminaries, the result is rather lukewarm. Julie Harris gives her all to Sally Bowles, and nearly goes overboard. Laurence Harvey is hobbled by a prissy schoolmarm personality and the frantic way he insists on staying just friends with Sally would work better if we were told he's gay, instead of having to take our clues from the silly panicky way in which he fends off Sally's overtures to him.

The whole film is something of a madcap comedy that never quite jells, and the rise of the Nazi is treated as light background noise, keeping the Fritz/Natalia sub-plot rather inconsequential. The enterprise is crippled by the era it was filmed in: too squeaky clean to really depict the specific "decadence" of the period. I was surprised they even hinted at abortion later on.

Still, the whole is mildly enjoyable, the dialogue is witty and the picture often rather splendid. But Bob Fosse hit much closer to the mark with CABARET.
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By Derek Owens on 21 Oct. 2014
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Pretty much the same story as Cabaret, if you are unfamiliar with Christopher Isherwood. Pleasant viewing but, sadly dated
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