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Space Precinct [DVD] [1995] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]
Space Precinct [DVD] [1995] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]
Dvd ~ Ted Shackelford
Offered by supermart_usa
Price: £9.00

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An under-rated Anderson gem, 7 Aug 2013
I bought this box set for three reasons: 1. Simone Bendix, irrestistible in or out of uniform 2. Gerry Anderson was the series creator and producer 3. I like science-fiction shows in general. I would have purchased it in Region 2 format but it doesn't seem to exist as such, apart from in wildly expensive single episodes; I don't have a multi-region DVD player but it's not hard to find out on the Internet how to 'dezone' your machine using the remote control so that it will play discs from anywhere in the world. The purchase price was frankly ridiculous compared to many new DVDs that appear on the market and delivery to Europe from the USA is quite fast.

Although a Gerry Anderson 'fan' of both puppet and live action shows (Thunderbirds, Space 1999, Captain Scarlet, UFO etc) I had not previously seen 'Space Precinct' (I live in France - well, somebody has to) and I'm not sure it has ever been on TV here. I didn't really know what to expect as some older sci-fi programmes can show their age and some reviews of this show were mitigated. However, I must say that having almost come to the end, I am really enjoying it. The 'human' actors do not take themselves too seriously and the programme contains quite a little humour. The masks that the 'alien' creatures wear are superb in my view - each is different and allows for eye movement and facial expressions that almost make you forget you are watching 'a man (or woman) in a suit' and the characters have a distinct personality.

Some say the story lines are a little corny, perhaps so but they are entertaining and allow for the car chases and explosions and superb models (such as the robot Slomo) that we associate with other Anderson productions. There is even a little suspense - will Officer Haldane finally get the girl (Officer Castle)? One wonders what on earth (or should I say on Altor) is the man waiting for! It is true that the commercial break 'bumpers' can be somewhat frustrating every few minutes but you get used to them. One regrets no subtitles and no bonus features but the five discs fit nicely in plastic case only 1½ times as thick as a normal one. This set is well worth taking the risk - I think you'll probably succumb to its charm (and certainly that of Simone...)


Islands of Britain [DVD]
Islands of Britain [DVD]
Dvd ~ Martin Clunes
Price: £8.10

4.0 out of 5 stars Beauty and the best (presenter), 1 Jun 2011
This review is from: Islands of Britain [DVD] (DVD)
Travel documentaries presented by established TV personalities seem to be something quintessentially British, at least for someone living in France where this sort of programme hardly exists. And in spite of beautiful seascapes or vistas from the air, what makes them really enjoyable is the personality of the guide. I was acquainted with Michael Palin and Stephen Fry in this role and having recently 'discovered' Martin Clunes in shows like 'Men behaving badly' and 'Doc Martin', it was interesting to see him in a completely new light. He makes a very good job of being a travel guide, as he comes across as an extremely likeable person who takes a genuine interest in the people he meets. His enthusiasm is that of a big kid making new finds - each episiode is liberally punctuated with 'Oh my God's, 'Wow!'s and 'Weh Hey's as he discovers breathtaking landscapes or gets involved climbing up steep ladders to the top of cliffs or plunging into freezing seas to examine a shipwreck. We also share his nervousness when faced with heights, for example.

We learn a lot about small islands many of us never even dreamt existed as well as facts about bigger ones we have actually heard of - on Sark, for example, a man still has the right to beat his wife with a stick, as long as it isn't thicker than his little finger! We all end up feeling 'How romantic it would be to live on an island' but learn that in everyday life you must take into account the often lack of electricity or running water, ferocious and dangerous seas, quicksands and violent winds or the absence of a little shop around the corner. The communities are small and tight knit and determine the island's personality. We learn that in many cases it helps to be very wealthy if you want your dream of an island existence to come true.

Beautiful photography, engaging encounters, Clune's own boyish enthusiasm. The missing star is not for the series or the DVD but because it could have been much longer with 1,000 islands to choose from. The selection is of necessity arbitrary and the visits short so there could have been a wider coverage with twice or three times as many episodes. But what there is is very good and will likely enthrall you.


The Blue Lamp [DVD]
The Blue Lamp [DVD]
Dvd ~ Jack Warner
Price: £8.00

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Dixon before Dock Green, 27 April 2011
This review is from: The Blue Lamp [DVD] (DVD)
Good drama usually stems from pitting the good guys against the bad guys. This film is no exception: old-fashioned police constable Jack Warner (George Dixon) walking the beat, ably assisted by new boy Jimmy Hanley are pitted against the likes of scared robber Dirk Bogarde in an early starring role. In 1950, shooting a 'copper' was the ultimate crime which united even the shady underworld in the search to bring the culprit to book - in this case, the hangman's noose, a fact of which even the child who finds the murder weapon is only too well aware. This is a Britain that no longer exists, with streets with no traffic where a police chase in squad cars with dringing bells encounters no more obstacles than a group of school children crossing the road. It is a London still full of bomb sites where small children play around puddles, dressed in torn rags and live in slums. It is a world where people look so much older than at the same age today - Warner was 'only' 54 in 1950 when the film was released but he already looks ripe for retirement let alone going on to be Dixon of Dock Green until his eighties. One wonders why such a good copper as Dixon was still only a constable at such an advanced age and only a sergeant in Dock Green? Bogarde's love interest, Diana Lewis was supposed to be 17 and although Peggy Evans was admittedly 25 at the time, she still looks nothing like a girl of the same age today. It's an age of raincoats and hats, of barrow boys, of cinema accents which still tended to be rather cut glass (even little Queenie's repeated 'No's!), of where Tessie O'Shea with her ukulele was top of the variety hall bill. There's a whole world of nostalgia here.

The film itself is enagaging with its tear-jerking moments and others of levity and can be watched again and again. Optimum's DVD is a lovely crisp, well-contrasted black and white copy with good sound but has this company's usual failings of no sub-titles or extras.


Casio Unisex Quartz Watch with White Dial Analogue Display and Black Resin Strap MQ24/7B
Casio Unisex Quartz Watch with White Dial Analogue Display and Black Resin Strap MQ24/7B
Price: £7.11

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Watch out for this watch, 26 April 2011
If you need to know what time it is in Hong Kong or Washington, or how long it takes to you to run the 100m to the nearest hundredth of a second, or to read the time in absolute pitch blackness or whilst deep sea diving, this is not the watch for you. If you like to have a timepiece covered in lots of little dials and with lots of buttons you can press to pass the time, this is not the watch for you. If you like to have a fat chunky watchstrap that irritates your skin, this is not the watch for you. If, on the other hand (or should I say, wrist) you want a simple, very economical watch that's quite smart and has a large, clearly readable face which tells you the time with the utmost precision, order this one without a second's thought! It's time to grab an excellent bargain and none too soon either!


Vacation From Marriage (aka Perfect Strangers) (1945)
Vacation From Marriage (aka Perfect Strangers) (1945)
Dvd ~ Robert Donat

15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Great film, poor DVD, 16 April 2011
My rating of three stars is purely for this DVD as otherwise I would give the film itself five - it is certainly one of my favourites with Robert Donat. How disappointing then to finally be able to buy a copy of this neglected film only to discover that it is barely watchable by modern standards when so many 'old' films have been expertly restored. No such attempt has been made in this case and whilst scenes filmed in the studios are passable, exterior shots disappear into a sort of grey mist as there is so little contrast. Scratches and flying objects other than barrage balloons often flit across the picture. The sound is passable without being anything to write home about. There are no subtitles or extras, in short it looks like a bad copy from a VHS tape. I am sure I have seen better quality versions of this film shown on TV so it could have been much better.

As for the film itself, Donat and Kerr are both excellent as the young married couple with hang-ups who live a mundane existence in the early days of the war only to be separated by this very war which changes them so much that they can hardly recognise each other; the end of the Wilson couple seems all too likely as each remembers the dull, stiff person they married. Second roles, especially Glyniss Johns as Cathy's Naval Wren colleague are also very good although by modern standards it is often hard to imagine that these people are supposed to quite young, as Donat himself and Roland Culver both look anything like young lovers. But it is an immensely enjoyable film and anything directed by Alexander Korda can't be at all bad.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Oct 29, 2013 1:13 PM GMT


Eric and Ernie  [DVD]
Eric and Ernie [DVD]
Dvd ~ Bryan Dick
Price: £7.30

16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The uneasy road to stardom, 12 April 2011
This review is from: Eric and Ernie [DVD] (DVD)
I am always a little wary about TV dramas retracing the lives of much-loved icons, especially ones you feel you know as well as Eric & Ernie. But when it's done tastefully with a good script and excellent actors, you almost forget that you are seeing only a recreation of their lives. Of course it is a dramatisation for greater effect but anyone who has delved into the lives of Britain's favourite comic duo will recognise the stages, scarifices and hard work that the boys went through to be successful in what they saw as their calling. It's a lesson, a far cry from today's youngsters who think that they have become a star after appearing in some TV reality show. We realise that it even takes a lot more than just talent, as Eric's mother tells him, to make the 'big time'.

We begin with Ernie's solo breakthrough on the stage as a teenager while Eric, still Eric Bartholomew, is content to make his pals laugh on Morecambe beach. The real driving force here is his mother, Sadie, played by Victoria Wood, who apprently was also that behind the whole telefilm. She pushes a reluctant son onto the stage and becomes his chaperone and encourages the formation of a duo with Ernie, already 'half a star' as Eric might later say. We work our way through three sets of Eric & Ernies at various ages until they make a recovery after their first disastrous TV performance, one which almost shakes even Sadie's faith in her own son. The boys are eager to succeed but neglect her advice to trust their own material as they know what works. Each pair of actors is very creditable, especially the youngsters and the men in their mid twenties. A special mention must be made of Daniel Rigby as the adult Eric who is not only made to resemble him physically but marvellously adopts mannerismas and even the voice of his alter ego. The casting is very good as a whole, even in the smaller roles. Fitting over ten years into less than 90 minutes obviously means that more or less stress is put on selected moments of their lives but we get a good overall picture of the hardships involved in such a life - separation from family, living in often uncomfortable digs, hostile audiences (especially in Scotland), the difficulty of having a personal life etc. There are also a number of nice little touches that M&W fans will recognise such as an early gentle mocking of Des O'Connor or how 'Not now, Arthur' evolved. All in all, a worthy tribute to the duo's early life and proof that stardom doesn't just happen overnight.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Apr 20, 2011 12:51 PM BST


Edward And Mrs Simpson [DVD]
Edward And Mrs Simpson [DVD]
Dvd ~ Edward Fox
Price: £7.81

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great drama, 18 Jan 2011
This review is from: Edward And Mrs Simpson [DVD] (DVD)
There is no need to cover the ground extensively trodden by other reviewers as to the great acting, superb casting, magnificent 1930s atmosphere and wonderful sets. Edward VIII is one of those roles in which it is impossible to imagine anyone else other than Edward Fox. Some have commented on the picture quality of the DVD - I found it to be quite good considering it was made for television in 1978 on a mixture of film for the exteriors and videotape for the interiors. The only reproaches are to be found with the DVD production company Network - as always on their DVDs, there are no subtitles at all (they should be obligatory). Others regret the inclusion of the 'break bumpers' announcing 'End of part 1' etc; I believe the company is right to leave these in as I much prefer to see programmes 'as broadcast' rather than with bits, however apparently insignificant, edited out. For some programmes it is a necessity as the music or action of a scene may overlap the appearance of the announcement of the commercial and to cut it would damage the original and often appear odd, although this is not the case here. We even see the Thames countdown clock to the beginning of Part 2 in the break in episode 5 where the space between the announcements is abnormally long. Note that DVD1 announces 4 episodes and DVD2 only 3 - in fact there are only 3 on the first and 4 on the second. Rather unusally for Network, there are no bonus items on the DVDs but there are some useful notes on the jacket insert.

This series is rather like the Titanic - you know full well how it is going to end and yet you just want to read on (or view on here) as the tension mounts - surely the proof of excellent drama.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Feb 21, 2011 6:01 PM GMT


The Michael Parkinson Collection [DVD]
The Michael Parkinson Collection [DVD]
Dvd ~ Michael Parkinson
Price: £9.39

29 of 29 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Could have been so much better, 3 Dec 2010
What there is of it makes for compelling viewing. It's tempting to sit back and watch the 2 hours and 38 minutes of Parkinson on the first disc in one go. You relive a lot of fond memories and you come to realise that this fairly unassuming journalist really did get to meet and talk to all the greats of the late 20th century, especially in the realms of cinema, television and sport. It is very much Parky's personal selection and perhaps overlarge chunks are devoted to two of the men he admired the most - Muhammad Ali and David Attenborough. Over 800 shows, some guests returned up to 15 times, which explains why Billy Connolly and Stephen Fry also earn a large place in this compendium. This leaves very little time for the remaining hundreds of personalities, unfortunately.

Especially as the second disc is put to poor use, harbouring only a 35 minute documentary with a few more clips, together with an 8 minute compilation of Parky singing, dancing or playing snooker with his guests and a final 4 minutes of days when things went less than planned. 2 entertain could at the very least have given us a second helping for another 2½ hours of clips for our money, there being such a phenomenal range to choose from. Obviously ten or a dozen discs would have been necessary to satisfy everyone, but to 'waste' Disc 2 in this way is a great shame and shows little respect for the people the company is trying to persuade to buy this set. As is usual with BBC video, there are English subtitles available.


The Sucker ( Le Corniaud ) ( Colpo grosso ma non troppo )
The Sucker ( Le Corniaud ) ( Colpo grosso ma non troppo )

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Just as good, 45 years on!, 26 Sep 2010
I always think it a shame that the British rely so heavily on American comedy when there are so many excellent examples much closer to home. Just across the Channel in fact. It's another one of those myths that the French have no sense of humour. In the mid 60s, Gérard Oury made two comedies with a pair of France's most loved comic actors, Bourvil & Louis de Funès, Le Corniaud (1965) and La grande vadrouille (1966). Both were box-office smashes at the time in France and despite being broadcast nearly every year on French TV, still attract huge audiences. Le Corniaud (in the English translation 'the sucker') is Bourvil, the average warm-hearted but naive Frenchman who sets out from Paris on holiday to Italy in his trusty 2CV. After a few hundred yards, the Bentley of a rich import-export director (de Funès) reduces his car to a heap of spare parts in one of French cinema's most fondly remembered scenes. Here enters the third star of the film, an open top white Cadillac that de Funès offers to let the sucker drive from Naples to Bordeaux, prior to being exported back to the USA, as compensation for his spoiled holiday. It comes as no surprise that the car is stuffed full of gold, drugs and jewels, including the world's biggest diamond, the You-koun-koun. Tailed by both de Funès and the mafia who have got scent of the affair, we follow Bourvil's hilarious journey with classic scenes such as the repairs in an Italian garage and his attempts to thwart the jealous boyfriend of a beautiful girl hitchhiker as he reveals that he is not as dim as was thought. In short, a classic comedy that just begs to be discovered by a fresh audience. The film may be 45 years old, but it still retains all of its original charm. Give it a try!


La Grande Vadrouille [DVD]
La Grande Vadrouille [DVD]
Dvd ~ Bourvil
Price: £8.00

54 of 54 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Still France's most favourite film, 6 Sep 2010
This review is from: La Grande Vadrouille [DVD] (DVD)
Ask any Frenchman what his favourite film is, and chances are this one will come out on top. The film came out in 1966 and it held the French box-office record until Dany Boon's 'Les Ch'tis' in 2008! It stars two of the country's best-loved comic actors, Louis de Funès and Bourvil, in a WW2 comedy also featuring the talents of Terry-Thomas. The original title "La Grande Vadrouille" is difficult to render but refers to the mad dash across occupied France. In 1942, an RAF plane is shot down over Paris and the three airmen parachute to safety: one lands on Bourvil's painter's scaffolding, another on the roof of the Opera house where the orchestra (led by de Funès) is rehearsing and Terry-Thomas ends up in the seal's bathing pond at the zoo. Our two heroes somewhat reluctantly join forces to take them under their wing(s) and thwart the occupying German police's efforts to capture them before they can escape to the 'free zone'.

The comic moments from this film by Gérard Oury and now firmly engraved in the French people's subconscious are too numerous to mention. Watch it in French with subtitles rather than a dubbed version - there's a fair amount of English in it anyway. You'll find yourself whistling 'Tea for Two' the next time you visit the Turkish baths, that's for sure! It's hard to believe that this film is practically unknown in Britain. Don't neglect it any longer. If you like it, give "Le Corniaud" a try as well - by the same director and with the same two stars - the scene of the crash with a 2CV at the beginning is THE classic comedy moment in French cinema!


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