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London Nobody Knows / Les Bicyclettes De Belsize [DVD] [1967]


Price: £9.50 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over £20. Details
Only 7 left in stock (more on the way).
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London Nobody Knows / Les Bicyclettes De Belsize [DVD] [1967] + The London Nobody Knows
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Product details

  • Actors: Judy Huxtable, Anthony May, James Mason
  • Directors: Norman Cohen, Douglas Hickox
  • Format: PAL, Colour
  • Language: English, French
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 16:9 - 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: PG
  • Studio: Studiocanal
  • DVD Release Date: 3 Mar. 2008
  • Run Time: 82 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (46 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000Z63ZNS
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 13,249 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Reviews

Double-bill of short films showing aspects of a bygone London. In 'The London Nobody Knows' (1967), James Mason narrates as the viewer is taken on a tour round a side of London the tourists don't see. Documenting the street vendors and local characters, and giving a fascinating glimpse of a culture soon to disappear, the film contrasts starkly with the 'swinging sixties' vision of London at the time. In the short musical 'Les Bicyclettes De Belsize' (1969), a young man falls in love with a fashion model after seeing her photograph. Most of the film involves following the characters, on bicycle, around the Hampstead area of London, to the accompaniment of a musical soundtrack.

Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

171 of 173 people found the following review helpful By Steve TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 3 April 2008
This DVD consists of two films, 'The London Nobody Knows' and 'Les Bicyclettes De Belsize'. There are similarities in both films: both are short, the first 45 minutes, the second 30. Both were filmed in London, in colour, in the 1960's. And both are collector's items.

'The London Nobody Knows' is, as the title suggests, a look at some lesser known sights of London and is narrated by James Mason. We begin in an old music hall in Camden which is almost literally falling down. There is a sense of eery seediness here; one of the singers who performed here was the wife of the notorious Dr. Crippen. It was clearly a beautiful hall in its heyday, but was caught on film just before the very final curtain fell. We move through some street markets, and to an extraordinary sight in Holborn. Here we see a gas-lit gent's toilet, with, above the urinals, a fish tank- complete with living fish! Apparently some goldfish suffered the indignity of being moved into this tank (which really did house fish once) for the cameras, and were then safely taken back to a better place afterwards. Another old gents' toilet is shown down an alleyway, and it's in the style of the classic French pissoir- completely unexpected in London. We see an ornate gas lamp near the Savoy theatre which acts as a ventilation system for the sewer underneath. Is that still there I wonder? But this film is about people more than things, and we see a number of, mostly, men who are down on their luck. The Salvation Army Hostel provides a home for many, and Mason is seen chatting with a number of the men, all of whom seem quietly resigned to their lot. But this is not a film where the presenter intercedes too often; most of the time the director allows the camera itself to tell the tale.
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21 of 21 people found the following review helpful By A. D. Wallace on 8 Mar. 2009
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This DVD captures perfectly a nostalgic feeling of the 1960s.
The 45 minute documentary "THE LONDON NOBODY KNOWS" has James Mason as your guide through streets of 1960s London showing you buildings and ways of life which even then were being lost forever - such as street performers including a "strong man", and a once vibrant, but now derelict theatre - as they are replaced by the modern era, itself now a chapter in history. It is a fascinating visit into 1960s London which brings the past to life better than any reconstruction or fictionalised film setting could manage.
"Les Bicyclettes de Belsize" is an enchanting short musical film. The melodies, beginning with the romantic french style title song, complement the cinematography warmly evoking the fashion, charm and innocence of a bygone era as the main character, a young man played by Anthony May, cycles round a pretty Hampstead village (not Belsize) in 1968 London in search of a beautiful model played by Judy Huxtable.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Brian on 24 Mar. 2010
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In my late 40s, and born and bred in Islington, "The London Nobody Knows" has been one of the best purchases I have made for a long time. Naturally, the scenes shot in Chapel Market brought back many a memory, some wonderful and some not quite so good.

Being a child when this was made (1967), my views of the era are somewhat halcyon: playing outside, in the park, a simple life. What struck me more than anything about this superb documentary was the grinding poverty and squalor in which so many people still lived in the 1960s. Whilst this era went around the world as "the swinging 60s", fuelled by imagery of Carnaby Street and Kings Road, and Britain's dominance in the pop world, the reality for the overwhelming majority could not have been any different.

Scenes of meths drinkers brought memories flooding back of seeing these poor down and outs on the street, and made me wince when viewing them. Especially heartbreaking is the scene where James Mason interviews people in the Salvation Army hostel: 6 shillings for accomodation was a fortune in those days even for those at work.

Coupling this film with 'Les Bicyclettes de Belsize' is not at all incongruous, but a stroke of genius. In an instant, it contrasts the 'soft-focus' world view that many may have had about 'Swinging London' in the 1960s, with the reality that you have just witnessed in 'The London That Nobody Knows'.

This utter gem of a DVD should be in everyone's collection and, importantly, should be made mandatory viewing as part of the National Curriculum.

I would give this 10 stars if I could!!!
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Pillboxer1940 on 30 Nov. 2012
The London Nobody Knows, despite its ham-fisted name and leftfield direction, is a gem. Presented by classic British actor James Mason, this is not a rose-tinted view of the capital, but a warts 'n' all 1967 look at REAL behind-the-scenes Sixties London life.

I grew up in 1970s/80s North London and saw this film as a kid on BBC2 in 1987 and have never forgotten it. There are some amazing scenes: Victorian (and earlier) shops and houses that had not changed a bit, with all the original features; a derelict music hall, old dockland side streets, bombsites, pie and mash and eel shops, Jewish groceries and market stalls - all looking like they would not pass an Environmental Health check today - plus street characters and performers of old: street singers, a strong man, a hippy musician... all just trying to make ends meet.

The film is somewhat of a contradiction: Mason says that it is not nostalgic - he even applauds the demolition of 'that horrible, ugly Victorian architecture', which is all nowadays listed and worth a fortune - yet the whole film is tinted in nostalgia and the passing of an age.

There are one or two very Sixties 'zany' efforts at film production: the Egg Smashing Factory skit and the radiophonic music raise an eyebrow, but are of their day. It should also be remembered that the film was a Norcon production - by young director Norman Cohen, who also directed the 1971 classic comedy Dad's Army movie.

Some other reviewers have said Mason's presentation is 'hammy', 'disinterested' or 'he didn't really want to do the film' (- quite how anybody would know this last criticism is unfathomable). 'Hammy'? Well, he was, after all, an old style actor taught on the stage, but 'disinterested? Never.
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