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Parkie "Parkie" (England)

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Tugboat Annie [DVD] [1931] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]
Tugboat Annie [DVD] [1931] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]
Dvd ~ Marie Dressler
Offered by supermart_usa
Price: £8.51

5.0 out of 5 stars Unexpected gem, 31 Jan 2014
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I purchased this for my mother as she is a big Marie Dressler fan, and watched it myself out of idle curiosity. I was pleasantly surprised to find it's a thoroughly charming film. Frequent cinematic sparring partners, Marie Dressler and Wallace Beery play hard working, salt of the earth, tugboat captain Annie and her feckless, drunken rogue of a husband. Over the years we follow their ups and downs and the rise of their devoted son, a rather wooden Robert Young, doing really well for himself.

Partly filmed in a busy port in a beautiful part of the West U.S.A. coast, and by turns raucous, gently funny and quite moving, the film evokes a strong sense of a vibrant community and nostalgia for a bygone age. The finale is a rousing and spectacularly staged rescue at sea. The two stars are at the peak of their careers and absolutely marvellous; Miss Dressler a formidable battleaxe with a tender and sensitive side; Mr Beery a gregarious idler, his many faults softened by his obvious love for Annie. This is a reminder of an age where the two top Hollywood stars could be middle aged and both have faces that looked well and truly lived in (well and truly partied in, in Mr Beery’s case) . It was their talent and ability that made them not just the top stars of their day, but the most beloved by the movie going public.

The pace and acting may seem a little dated now, but don’t let that bother you, it’s a delightful film and a lesser known part of movie history.

A piece of Trivia, it was Marie Dressler who coined the phrase “You’re only as good as your last movie”. In this case, that must mean very good indeed.


Pardon the Expression - The Complete Series [DVD]
Pardon the Expression - The Complete Series [DVD]
Dvd ~ Arthur Lowe
Price: £25.12

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good first series, excellent second, with one or two stumbles., 24 Jan 2014
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A largely forgotten spin off from Coronation Street, this series sets Leonard Swindley, former Gamma Garments manager played by Arthur Lowe, into his own sit-com. Newly appointed deputy to department store manager Mr Parbold, Paul Dawkins, Swindley gets into various scrapes but just manages to muddle through. The comedy and characters are very appealing, apart from Mr Parbold, who never seems comfortable in the role and really only comes into his own in an episode where he plays truant. This episode is the stand out in the first series.

There are some duff episodes, mainly it seems involving Vince Powell as writer, though he was also involved in some good ones. The absolute worst is "The Pensioner", an ill-judged attempt at being heart-warming.

Ably supported by the magnificent Betty Driver and Joy Stewart, whose character swiftly becomes far more likeable than first appearances, the first series is amiable, gentle comedy with a few laugh out loud moments.

Then comes the second series and the installation of Robert Dorning (father of Black Beauty's Stacey) as Mr Hunt. With his arrival the comedy seems to step up a gear or two, becoming frequently hilarious. Robert Dorning is absolutely brilliant, and the dynamic becomes much more of a double act. Swindley's character becomes more bumbling and "well meaning duffer"-ish. Some of the funniest moments in series two are in Hunt's spoken and unspoken reactions to situations. He also has a choice of two brilliant wives, due no doubt to the assumtion at teh time that the series would be seen, enjoyed and never seen again. The first time we see Mrs Hunt she is played by the imposing Avis Bunnage, who intrudes on Hunt and Swindley's London excursion; the second time she is the delightfully fey Clare Kelly, whose hostessing skills at a dinner party are a joy to behold. For viewers of a certain age, the pause button will be invaluable as a raft of familiar faces make cameos. It's very interesting to see John Le Mesurier's turn as one of the top brass of the department chain as it gives a glimpse of the intended dynamic of "Dad's Army" before the two lead actor's were swapped over to give us small, pompous Mainwaring and lofty, vague Wilson.

As the series progresses more episodes take place outside the limited comedic opportunities of the store and involve such diversions as a ghost story (with surprisingly good effects), a fantastic James Bond spoof (apart from the final cliché), and a trip to a health farm (a rather rushed and unsatisfactory end to the series). There are still a handful of duff episodes, and it is obvious why the Christmas special went unscreened, but on the whole it's a worthwhile addition to a comedy collection.


Number 17 - Alfred Hitchcock
Number 17 - Alfred Hitchcock
Offered by Market garys Dvd's
Price: £0.01

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars accidental comedy with good effects work., 23 July 2013
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This review is from: Number 17 - Alfred Hitchcock (DVD)
Firstly, I was really tempted to give this five stars as I laughed my head off through the second half of this "thriller" from 1932, but common sense must prevail. Though precious little prevails within the movie.

This could appeal to two different audiences, the ones who admire the technical achievements of early filmmakers and those who relish dreadful B Movies. Who would have thought that a young Alfred Hitchcock could have come so close to being our very own forerunner to Ed Wood Jr? This is a very early Hitchcock movie and one he rapidly turned his back on, calling it "An appalling little melodrama". He was right, but he did overlook the "So bad it's good" factor, and that the model work in the final chase is top notch technically. Even the drab set of the first half is quite an effective depiction of decaying grandeur, although with a highly improbable feature in the cellar.

The film starts with deadening slowness when our hero, a man of astonishing blandness, follows his wind blown hat to a creepy old house. Here he encounters a corpse and the sort of cockney character who only ever existed in black and white movies of the 1930s. After two of the very silliest horror reactions ever seen, a semblance of plot emerges involving a stolen necklace, a telegram delivered through a skylight and a mysterious couple who turn up to view the house at midnight. The male half explains this with nothing more than a shifty look and a mumble, before being joined by a man who looks older than him but claims to be his nephew.

Fake identities; disappearing corpses; capture, escape and recapture; and a completely irrelevant twist concerning the house viewer's female companion ensue.

Dominating proceedings is the star turn of the elderly cockney, whose inspection of a revolver elevates the film from dreary B-movie to the kind of delirious absurdity that later made "Plan 9 from Outer Space" famous. From this point the movie becomes irresistible car crash entertainment. Ludicrous plot devices, terribly terribly stiff performances and one of the most ridiculous looking punch-ups in the history of cinema propel you towards the very well done but nonsensical climax.

Here our bland hero hijacks a bus and gives chase to a speeding train, although the bus passengers take some time to realise what's going on. The model work is absolutely superb and is worth speeding ahead for if you feel like giving up on this curiosity at any point. It was seeing a truncated version of this scene in the history of Elstree DVD that prompted me to buy this disc. Real craftsmanship has gone into the chase sequence and it is a tribute to the skill of the chaps and chapettes at Elstree in the first British Cinema boom. Make that three audiences who may appreciate it - model railway fans should be greatly impressed.

So grit your teeth through the tedious start then just let go and enjoy the nonsense. Because you simply don't get enough middle aged men in double-breasted suits and trilbies standing on the top of speeding trains in dramatic poses in films these days.


Chas Addams Happily Ever After: A Collection of Cartoons to Chill the Heart of You
Chas Addams Happily Ever After: A Collection of Cartoons to Chill the Heart of You
by Charles Addams
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.54

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent material, not so excellent presentation, 21 Mar 2013
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This collection is themed around Charles Addams depictions of courtship and marriage. While a few feature familiar faces, they are mostly one off characters. From the gentleman buying railway tickets to the woman's impatient reaction to her husband's attempted suicide, they all tread a dark path through human relationships, and are as hilarious as would be expected of the creator of The Addams Family. The problem arises in the means of production, as the originals appear to have been digitally processed, resulting in a general fuzziness, and in several cartoons an inability to make out the fine detail obscures the actual joke. Some cartoons are obviously idea prototypes, a couple without punchlines at all, but the artistry and situation are still appealing. Quibles aside, this is a good selection and an opportunity to look into the wider world of Chas Addams.


Bonnie & Clyde - The True Story
Bonnie & Clyde - The True Story
VHS

5.0 out of 5 stars Gritty realism, 17 Aug 2012
Most people are more familiar with the 1967 Warren Beatty film, but this version strips away the gloss and features a pair of leads who are the actual age of the notorious couple. As good as Beatty and Dunaway were, there is a visceral shock to seeing two very young people carrying out these acts. This movie has a bleaker and grimier feel, with the misery of the depression clouding the lives of all concerned.

Wisely, the director decided not to reproduce the famous 1967 denoument, which results, in my opinion, in a far more effective final scene. This scene alone is worth seeing the film for, initially in near silence before giving way to mayhem and filmed in a cold, detached manner with a drab palette of colours that accentuates the atmosphere brilliantly. This scene was of course ruined by the sensitive souls in TV's censorship department the last time it was shown.


The Go Kids [VHS]
The Go Kids [VHS]
VHS

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Frog Dreaming, 13 Aug 2012
This review is from: The Go Kids [VHS] (VHS Tape)
Henry Thomas plays a young boy in Australia who discovers something disturbing at an abandoned quarry, that has already claimed one life. His investigations lead him to old Aborigine stories of The Dreamtime, Frog Dreaming and the terrifying Donkejin that lives beneath the placid water of the quarry.

This is pure adventure, and is probably worth 5 stars but I haven't seen it for nearly 20 years, so I'm taking the memory factor into account here. I saw it under the title "Frog Dreaming", and goodness knows where the cover art came from on the VHS release, it certainly doesn't seem to relate to this movie.

Young Mr Thomas' natural maturity beyond his years means that although this is a "kids" film, it actually appeals to all ages as it's a no-nonsense adventure of an indomitable hero searching for the truth. I remember this as a richly atmospheric film, cleverly told in extraordinary locations, with the resolution feeling creepier than what we'd been led to believe when I stopped to think about how it would be to stumble across the Donkejin in real life.

This really deserves a DVD release.


Doctor Who Missing Stories: Galaxy Four
Doctor Who Missing Stories: Galaxy Four
by Peter Purves
Edition: Audio CD

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A lost villain, 15 Feb 2012
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I can't really add much to the other reviews except to praise the late Stephanie Bidmead. Having seen her Madam Devolio character in "Adam Adamant Lives" I was aware that she made a good villain, but I wasn't prepared for just how good she is in this. There's a melancholy malevolence about her performance that makes Maaga an unforgettable villain. She is also one of the most understandable in terms of motivation and character. The Drahvin culture explains her attitude and is neatly summed up in the discussion during "Airlock", her situation explains her actions, and Bidmead's intonation gives a real depth to her personality. It's even possible to empathise with her as she laments not being listened to by her superiors, an empathy which softens the listener up nicely for the chilling last few lines of her monologue. Hopefully we won't have to wait too long to see this moment on DVD.


Stand By For Adverts: Rare Jingles, Jazz And Advertising Electronics
Stand By For Adverts: Rare Jingles, Jazz And Advertising Electronics
Offered by skyvo-direct
Price: £17.96

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars nostalgic and new at the same time., 15 Feb 2012
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Most of these tracks are just before my time, but I recognised the advertising style immediately. It's a fascinating album to listen to from several points of view. A lost age of advertising, the early musical styles that would flourish in Gerry Anderson's productions and as a behind the scenes look into the recording process. When I first listened to this album I realised that this voice cueing in the first track was the actual voice of the man who wrote the soundtrack of my childhood, it was a strangely moving moment for me. There's much joy to be had from this collection.


Wind in the Willows Soundtrack CD
Wind in the Willows Soundtrack CD

5.0 out of 5 stars A beautiful rendition of a much loved classic, 13 Jan 2012
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Using the soundtrack from the hour long introduction to Cosgrove Hall's definitive version of this much loved story, this CD combines dialogue and music with a specially recorded narration. You may wonder whether it's worth getting this album if you already have the film. I'd say it is, because it will take you back to having the book read to you as a child, but this time, the characters really do come to life as you listen.


Les Misérables: Manchester Cast (highlights)
Les Misérables: Manchester Cast (highlights)
Price: £4.16

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars souvenir, 12 Jan 2012
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This album was produced as a souvenir from the Manchester production at The Palace Theatre in 1992, and was recorded in the theatre. This accounts for the brevity, it was produced so that the audience could have a recording of the singers they had just seen on stage performing the "Top 5" songs, one each:

"I Dreamed a Dream" (Ria Jones);
"Stars" (Philip Quast);
"On My Own" (Meredith Braun);
"Bring Him Home" (Jeff Leyton);
"Empty Chairs at Empty Tables" (Mike Sterling).

I saw the show, with the very imposing Michael McCarthy playing Javert (and later aquired his separately recorded "Stars"), loved it, thought the cast were brilliant, and hardly dare listen to my cassette any more for fear of wearing it out, so this CD is most welcome.

And I really cannot believe it was 20 years ago.


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