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The Naked Civil Servant [DVD] [1975]


Price: £19.99 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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The Naked Civil Servant [DVD] [1975] + An Englishman in New York [2009] [DVD] + The Naked Civil Servant (Flamingo)
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Product details

  • Actors: John Hurt, Liz Gebhardt, Patricia Hodge, Stanley Lebor, Katherine Schofield
  • Directors: Jack Gold
  • Writers: Philip Mackie, Quentin Crisp
  • Producers: Barry Hanson, Verity Lambert
  • Format: PAL
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: 15
  • Studio: Clear Vision
  • DVD Release Date: 11 Mar 2002
  • Run Time: 102 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000062Y61
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 126,122 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Reviews

Classic TV drama which traces the life of the flamboyant British eccentric Quentin Crisp as he grows up in a society not prepared to accept his openly homosexual lifestyle. A landmark of British television, this adaptation of Crisp's autobiography earned BAFTAs for both its star, John Hurt, and director, Jack Gold.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

33 of 33 people found the following review helpful By L. R. J. Middlehurst on 7 Feb 2007
Format: DVD
When I first saw this film I was amazed and magnetised. Over the years Quentin's life has inspired so many people homosexual and heterosexual, transgendered and non-transgendered (Does anyone remember Sting's song "An Englishman in New York"?).

The film follows pretty closely Quentin's autobiography of the same name. There are a couple of bits that deviate from his book but it doesn't detract from what a wonderful film it is. Quentin himself, apart from disagreeing with a minor scene, was very complementary about the film.

See it. It's a brave, sincerely made film that made Quentin Crisp, in his own words, a stately homo.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Vitamino on 6 May 2009
Format: DVD
When asked in New York why this film was so successful, Mr Crisp said that at that time in England there were only two television channels. And whilst making a cup of tea a wife might ask her husband what was on. He'd say, 'A film about a homosexual' and then switch channels. Then she'd say, 'What's on the other side?' to which her husband would reply, 'The News'. To which she would sigh and respond, 'Well you'd better switch it back then'.

Although Quentin Crisp fully acknowledged the fact that it was The Naked Civil Servant that propelled him to some kind of curious stardom he also thought it was somewhat accidental. Surely in America with it's hundreds of TV channels such a film would have gone unnoticed.

But in truth, this is a great film that really sticks in the mind. Well made, it stars the wholly remarkable John Hurt and his interpretation of Mr Crisp is memorable, touching, funny and almost accurate. Quentin described him as 'My representative on Earth'.

Hurt is utterly magnetic and, like all great actors, makes you believe in his role without question. It was with great satisfaction that I learned he is currently playing Mr Crisp again, so many decades later, in a film based around Quentin's later years.

The Naked Civil Servant stands up well as classic piece of British filmmaking. I'm sure it was considered shocking in it's day and terribly revealing too. Now it's a valuable lesson in the attitudes of the time. It cannot and does not try to represent the whole book but the adaptation is really very good. At key moments we are guided by Quentin's wonderfully charming narration, (although it must be said that John Hurt's vocal talents far exceeded that of the writer).

The fact that this film has not drowned in the world of today (with it's thousands of television channels and a million other diversions) is testimony to its quality and long lasting appeal. In this respect Mr Crisp remains happily incorrect.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Nigel David Kelly on 24 Jan 2008
Format: DVD
That was what one critic said when this movie was first screened in Britain.
Another said that Quentin was "some kind of hero".
If you want to now who Quentin was, his philosophy and what his life stood for then this is the one to watch.
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47 of 49 people found the following review helpful By F. V. L. Buliciri on 31 May 2006
Format: DVD
As a child growing up in the Seventies I remember this when it ws first screened. I was too young at the time to watch it or appreciate it. However, Quentin Crisp has always fascinated me. He truly is a hero of our modern times. We live in considerably 'enlightened,' times as far as homosexuality is concerned and certainly compared to the times when Quentin Crisp was a young homosexual man.

John Hurt gives a superb performance as Quentin Crisp and captures the charismatic Crisp so well on screen. This is a brilliant film about the life of Quentin Crisp and definitely was ground breaking for its time. I felt myself moved by watching this especially through the sad, tragic and intense moments when he came up against such extreme prejudice from those around him and the society he lived in. God, bless Quentin Crisp!
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Damien Tinker on 17 Sep 2002
Format: DVD
John Hurt isn't the star of this show - the story is. As much as I admire the British film industry and its fabulous wealth of character actors/actresses, this is one script that makes its own stars.
Naturally, John Hurt plays a blinder and maybe I couldn't imagine anybody else finishing off the part as he does. But the Q Crisp one-liners and humorous put downs would have been funny even if Prince Edward had grabbed it with his clumsy paws.
I won't spoil the finished article by quoting the best bits - watch it and I promise you won't be disappointed, it's a real classic.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By John Frame on 22 May 2003
Format: DVD
I had bought the budget VHS of The Naked Civil Servant several years ago and have enjoyed the film immensely - in spite of the tape's very grainy picture quality and annoying noises in the soundtrack. But the content is what matters absolutely with this film and the ClearVision DVD version has just arrived at home today from the UK. The picture quality is HUGELY improved compared to the VHS and there are no unwanted noises on the very clear soundtrack. The film was made for TV so you wouldn't expect state-of-the-art sight or sound, but this is as good a version as you will ever get. The added UK TV series documentary "Mavis Catches Up With...Quentin Crisp" is a well produced gem in which we join Mavis and Quentin in New York in 1989 chatting about how life has gone for him in the USA and how times have changed in the 15 years since the John Hurt film was made. Another good reason to buy the DVD with confidence.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Pismotality on 3 Sep 2009
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
This drama based on Quentin Crisp's autobiography was recently shown on BBC4 as a tribute to its producer, the late Verity Lambert (who also gave us Doctor Who). Having not seen it for many years, I was happy to see how well it stood up and how much had stayed with me over the years. John Hurt is outstanding and the whole has oodles of style, as befits its subject, but is also coherent: it's a journey towards self-discovery, or self-acceptance, perhaps, or more simply towards a modus vivendi.

The most poignant moment comes about in a memory of being surrounded by sailors: he is the focus of their good-humoured attention and there is no threat involved. But Crisp's tragedy, at least as suggested in this film and the book, was that the sort of man he wanted could not want him without ceasing to be the sort of man he wanted, if that makes sense.

There have been other attempts to bring Crisp to the world, not least by himself: he first came to my attention as the subject of a World in Action
programme, living out his small life in England as he did before his transatlantic crossing. Later he came to the Edinburgh fringe (circa '76), in effect to repeat the substance of his book, and later on did the same at Glasgow School of Art. Seeing him for a second time I was peeved to find it was the same show, not realising that if he'd learnt this stuff painfully over time he was perfectly entitled to make what use of it he could on whatever occasions presented themselves.

Tim Fountain, who met Crisp in New York, wrote a one man play for Bette Bourne entitled Resident Alien; this worked well because alongside the sparkling aphorisms you saw the price of Crisp's freedom to live as he wished: a squalid flat, cooking in a filthy frying pan etc.
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