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Paul Ess. "I almost care." (Holywell, N.Wales, UK.)

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The Singles 1983-1988
The Singles 1983-1988
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Price: 11.60

2 of 13 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Cuddle ?, 22 Oct 2013
This review is from: The Singles 1983-1988 (Audio CD)
Flaccid, identity-less non-music from persistent transgressor and all-round no-hoper Kirk Brandon, and his equally wimpy, hopeless music band.
I should leave it there but I can't resist twisting the blade a few times into the dangling, swinging, end-of-music-as-we-know-and-love-it, sack of lifeless straw that is Spear of Destiny.
Springing from the deadened loins of the definitely-as-dreadful Theatre of Hate (Kirk so likes that middle 'of' - makes him appear literate), SOD (loooool!) operated in the same sort of post-intellectual, sub-political era as the likes of New Model Army and The Alarm. Cringingly, All Mates Together.
Despairingly, Kirk saught to broaden his lumpen sound with radical sax: Amount of sleep lost by Styrene and Page ? - - None.

There's fun to be had: "Includes the UK hit singles The Wheel (no.59), Prisoner of Love (no.59), Liberator (no.67), All My Love (no.61).................." apologises the Amazon guff, obviously written by a dribbling wretch with no idea. The righteous music fan looks on bemused.
I can't help thinking of that other Kirk from 'Dear John' - amusingly archaic with a bejewelled fist for a brain - would that HE released an album. Surely to perform no worse than his gutless name-sake, but at least he has a vague idea what love is about and doesn't blub when it kicks him in the teeth.

This is a bad scene, maaaan. The most hapless failings of post-punk, flapping and gasping on the bank, while true innovators such as The Crispies and Quentin Crisp sailed off laughing into the sunset. Even amongst the mediocre, Kirk was an out-classed lost soul.

Kirk Brandon hasn't the intelligence or inventiveness to express himself any other way than convulsive faux-petulance and singing like he's split his kecks.
I don't know whether to pity him or laugh at him.
Oh, I know, I'll do both.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Feb 11, 2014 12:09 PM GMT

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Price: 11.29

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Chaos from Order., 15 Mar 2013
This review is from: Fear (Audio CD)
Visitors to Ess Towers - apart from being startled by the academic atmosphere - occasionally comment as to the musical appetites of the eager host, often with the charmingly quizzical: "Who the f*** is this ? " or "Get that s*** off !" - - preferring common drivel.
As clubbing people to death for possessing shocking taste is frowned upon by the over-pc boundaries of societal niceties in the U.K, the swami has no recourse but to strank like a toddler and comply.

Things of great beauty alarm people - especially now. Pop music needs to be ugly, manipulative and last barely a week for anyone to pay it the most minimal of neccessary heed. Today's 'kids' are not going to be playing Peter Andre or Black Eyed Peas in 30 years time, so where is today's 'Closer,' 'Blood on the Tracks,' or 'Into the Music' ? The cliche: "I didn't like it at first, but after a few plays, I really do.." is becoming steadily redundant for the simple reason that no-one gets the time to. The slow-burner has (deliberately) all but become extinct.
'Fear' is such a slow-burner; it is very much kin to Peter Hamill's excellent 'Patience' album. Initially, the songs appear dirge-like, distended, sluggish even; but after three listens things begin to drop forcefully into place. It's a wonderful realisation; like all the great pleasures in life: women, alcohol, caffeine, drugs and automobiles - you try a few out before you land the one that suits you. 'Fear' is just the same. It stands to a wonderful kind of sense. A warm beauty; a welcoming, homely sense of style. Cale sweeps from one lugubrious show-stopper to the next, affording 'Fear' the kind of disdainful "oh, that little thing.." off-handedness that all great art possesses to a large degree. A worryingly simple song such as 'Buffalo Ballet' can stay with you for days, yet you get the impression that he spent 20 minutes writing it.

People don't realise how subversive a pretty little ditty can be - otherwise consumed by other creators that announce their worthy intentions with bang and clang - 'Fear' is SO subtle it almost fails to register. Despite the beauty (or maybe because of it ! ), Cale is ruthless. An assassin of themes; a killer of concepts; a bullet in the gullet of the hippy/glam/disco/pre-punk culture that bore his album. You can taste his sour brilliance and feel it's nip.
It'll never go out of style because it's never been in.

'Fear' is marvelous; an enterprise of standing and colossal ingenuity. You can't always rely on pedigree (see Lou Reed's poorer later stuff) and eventually it becomes plain old unjustified diety-worship (see Bono, Bowie, Clapton, McCartney et al; people who've only to wake from their comas and move their bowels once every 5 years to pulsate the masses with sycophantic adoration), so it's always a genuine joy to see greatness in it's proper setting. It deserves the sanctification; justifies every accolade; proves and maintains it's strutting peacock reputation.
It DOES make sense when you think about it - but do it now before thinking becomes obsolete.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Mar 16, 2013 12:29 AM GMT

Shriek of Mutilated [DVD] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]
Shriek of Mutilated [DVD] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]
Dvd ~ Alan Brock
Offered by EliteDigital UK
Price: 19.95

5.0 out of 5 stars The Joys of Life, 16 Sep 2012
Ed Adlum, the prophet/god also responsible for the decrepit genius of 'Invasion of the Blood Farmers,' is back with the iconic, hesitantly titled 'Shriek of the Mutilated' - a tatty, tacky bigfoot shocker set in upstate New York.
Adlum is from the 'gritty verite/ no-money-at-all / devoid of any talent whatsoever' school of film-making - and I admire him for it. Not for him the fickle fan's rabid disappointment at his latest squandering of millions or envious accusations of sell-out; he has carte blanche to be dreadful and a bull-in-a-china-shop philosophy to all things celluloid. A rampant, thrusting, artistic charge, unburdened by subtlety or restraint. Or indeed, talent or creativity.

'Shot Mut' tells a simple tale of anthropology, cannibal cults and rousing adventuring, with no regard given to affectations like believability, cohesion or linear narrative. Adlum knows any one coming on any level to 'Shreik of the Mutilated' wont be expecting anything but the worst of exploitation and base culture.
What it actually says about it's culture is something else again.

After a five-second pre-credits sequence - taken from a completely different film - we learn of April: angsty, pained; and her husband Spencer: survivor, cuckoo. When Spencer hears of a proposed bout of yeti-spotting by his old oppo Dr Prell, he slashes his wife with a kitchen knife, then gets in the bath with a beer. Being not quite dead, but in terrible pain, she lashes the toaster in amongst the bloody foam - and bubbles him! Those two..tsk.

With no story exposition whatsoever, we're then off to 'Boot Island' and an 'isolated mountain lodge' for the yeti hunt proper. At last. There resides Dr. Werner - the local John Carpenter look-alike sasquatch expert; and 'Laughing Cloud' - his Al Pacino look-alike, de-tongued Indian butler. These two couldn't be more suspicious if they were dripping with the blood of baby Jesus and hissing curses and obscenities as they butchered kittens.
The 'isolated mountain lodge' is simply an ordinary house on an estate, shot at such an angle that you can't see the other houses.
Dr Prell and his four 'students' are soon plunged into a nightmare of odours, heartbeats and severed limbs as the lonely outpost is attacked by a bloke in horrific white fake fur. As if all that wasn't enough, there's a jaw-dropping twist to finish off the exhausted viewer in fearsome fashion.

The best/worst performance is by Alan Brock as Dr Prell, who makes Liev Schreiber look like Peter Ustinov.
Darcy Brown plays Lynn; one of those stereotypical plain women who takes off their spectacles and lets down their hair to become astonishing vixens. Unfortunately for Lynn - post-unfettering - she's still a shocker.
Each and every one participating in 'Shotmu' is solid oak. Make-up by Ronseal.
It operates on a similar level to 'Carnival of Souls' in that you don't really know if the characters are sinister or just plain bad actors.
An experience nonetheless, at least you know that.
And therein lies it's berserk nobility.

Seven Songs and Singles
Seven Songs and Singles
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Price: 12.04

1 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Canonisation of 23 Skidoo, 5 July 2012
This review is from: Seven Songs and Singles (Audio CD)
'Seven Songs' is quite reasonably afforded legendary status; massively influential and still frighteningly original to this day.
Unfortunately, that means pseudo-intellectual middle-class so-and-so's wearing long coats and silly little beards and bearing a deep and resolute knowledge of anything and everything in the universe cling to them tight like one of Carol Vorderman's dresses.

'Seven Songs' has tumbled down the years since its release, covering itself in more and more glory.
23 Skidoo get (unfairly) lumped in with the likes of Genesis P. Orridge and Stevo ( replete with their leatherette's and Thrashing Muses ), and 'SS' is the kind of album dull people claim to like because it makes them appear more interesting than they really are, even though they don't understand a note and switch it off as soon as their friend has gone home.

You get the feeling 23 Skidoo are playing this deep, midnight disco music in a cave in Ilfracombe. Thrusting and screeching, but crucially, scoffing their nads off the moment the pseuds backs are turned, and giggling like school-kids at the high-brow lunacy of it all.

This stuff sounds so bleakly experimental and sincere, you can't expect for a second the people who made it to be serious. 'Porno Base' sounds like comic dash at a swish factory, while the stormy, incessant 'Kundalini' carries genuinely amusing hostility.
The proclamation is funny: there AREN'T any songs, just tight, driving instrumentals and (OF COURSE !) there's just the 8 of them.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: May 22, 2013 1:38 PM BST

Moon Zero Two & When Dinosaurs Ruled the Earth [DVD] [2008] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]
Moon Zero Two & When Dinosaurs Ruled the Earth [DVD] [2008] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]
Dvd ~ Artist Not Provided

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Minor Hammer, 23 April 2012
Two lacklustre Hammer adventures set at either end of time: 'When Dinosaurs Ruled The Earth' a stop-motion, prehistoric opus which turns soft porn about two-thirds in, and 'Moon Zero Two' an incredibly nave 'space western' kicked into touch by both the real-life moon landings and the release and consequent interstellar orbiting of Kubrick's '2001'.
I toyed with the idea of pitting 'MZT' positively against '2001' and coming up with a highly controversial comparison, but even in the perverse world I inhabit and absorb culture in - it would've been laughably unfeasible.

'MZT' is worth a view for several reasons - but combined, they're still not enough to make it a good film. It has a butt-kicking theme song from dreamy Julie Driscoll, part of a great overall score from Don Ellis (Though jazz..? space..? Why?). Catherine von Schell is quite fit; Adrienne Corri - a woman with a long cv in genre films - is comely in thigh-high police boots; Bernard
Bresslaw is a most unthreatening heavy and there's a great performance from Dudley Foster - the most shifty-faced character actor in cinema history.
The rest of it's fluff: plot's weak, leading man James Olsen....well, just isn't a leading man and the sets and special effects are daft.

Luvvie old Val Guest writes and directs 'WDRTE' but the title is misleading - there are nowhere near enough dinosaurs to rule a bit of shrub never mind the entire planet. There's a pretty good pterodactyl, but the rest are mundane. No vicious T-Rex or Allosaur, and shots of the jazzed-up caymans and komodo dragons from Irwin Allen's 'The Lost World' are cheaply squeezed in to bolster the action when it flags.
Two major problems here: the script is really bad; some of the plot mechanics and situation resolves are toe-curling, and the continued use of the most unconvincing language ever devised is deeply irritating after a while.

Again, a couple things stop 'WDRTE' being an outright disaster: the magnificent camerawork from Dick Bush, who despite having a dodgy name, is rightly regarded as one of the great cinematographers; and the Canary Island locations are stunning. Some of the dusk and dawn-breaking sequences defy description, and it's not surprising cave-women hotties Victoria Vetri and Imogen Hassall look so dynamic when they're lit by Bush.

But ultimately 'MZT' and 'WDRTE' offer disappointingly mediocre entertainment. Where Hammer were usually and instinctively first out the blocks, here they're left trailing behind more ambitious efforts elsewhere - accelerating away into the distance. The exploit-naked-ladies attempt to rescue 'WDRTE' is lamentably crass, and it's all well and good being a cult but 'MZT' never inherits the character-from-badness mantle handed down by far more uninhibited and unstable predecessors.
Go see 'Barbarella' instead...
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jun 7, 2012 4:13 AM BST

Fantasy World
Fantasy World
Price: 10.99

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars 22nd Century Boy, 11 Dec 2011
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Fantasy World (Audio CD)
At least the man who describes himself as a 'croaking old frog' and also an 'overactive giraffe' - and his producer/ musician Francis McDonald - still have an iota of the sense required to realise a 90's ironic music album should have, as a pre-requisite, a loud punk rock guitar. Fowley has always - to my knowledge, anyway - been as mad as a badger. A loonie of impressive proportions; busy hawking his wares through every sleazy record exec while meddling and clamping himself to every musical fad and phase since the lute.

It has to be said though, that 'Fantasy World' is very good. It has guts, and more than a fair few twists and turns along it's gravelly way. The Bonos and Bowies of this world could look to Fowley as an example of how to age - both creatively, and, more importantly, without hilarious embarrassment.
'FW' is well fierce. Scary even. Fowley's got some serious raunch to agitate. His years in 'the business' have gradually brought home a few home truths and made him quietly angry.

If 'Fantasy World' was vinyl, you would have spit on your stylus. Take the percolated-riff opener 'School Girl X,' Fowley - sounding like Stewart Copeland in his Klark Kent days - trying to entice his childhood sweetheart into suicide by declaring his everlasting love and promising: 'there are no drum-machines in Heaven' - - though he evidently can't remember her name. Such is his pathetic loserism stamped.

Inspiring anthems, crooked ballads, timid marches and even odd, deadpan monologues can be found in various levels of spirited glory on 'Fantasy World.' It has no ego, no cliche nor forced contempory-ness. If he was going for some kind of East Coast surf-punk vibe, he failed - but if he meant to offer some antidote to the numbing dreariness of 90's indie, then he succeeded with a medal.

Offered by best_value_entertainment
Price: 1.65

13 of 40 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Ah, soul..., 18 Oct 2011
This review is from: Letters (Audio CD)
So, a rock singer with stubbble has won X-Factor. Wow, one for the purist masses, there.
Matt Cordless (plain, no charm - the one Dermot would vote for) is one of these 'modern' singers that the culture has thrown up over the last twenty years or so. Alan Parker's tiny, condescending, APPALLING film 'the Commitments' bears a fair bit of responsibility for this...
Pop singers in the eighties were sinister and shadowy: Curtis, McCulloch, Van Day, Rowland, Grogan - even pretty boys like Limahl and Howard Jones had a suspect edge - a deepness in the eyes, a shift to the gait, a shortness of the temper....
Then 'the Commitments' hit, and suddenly everyone is sweating, roaring, and stomping their clogs like Scandinavians. Every rock singer suddenly had to be gormless, and have stubble - and 'soul'. Emotion must pour from the furrowed brow for every second of the pointless 200-date tour, from Aberdeen to St Austell. Live turns expanded from static, modernist 4-pieces to clunking, endeavor-handed, lairy stagefuls. Grace and elan pushed brutally to the periphery; effort and 'soul' (actually, you get 'soul' from a pretty girl; or bacon butties and sugary tea round at your mum's - not from Simon Cowell !), clumsily, perspiringly wedged in their place.
Gone was the chilly snobbism of Robert Palmer, the treacle croon of Bryan Ferry ~ in was quasi-James Brown spaz-dancing and hoarse, corny 'soul'.
In other words: the kind of singer I despise most.

So now (unsurprisingly, many years too late), we get Matt (good name - no gloss or shine) Curdle's wretched, heartless, bungled album (Jeez, is it Christmas already ?) . You just know 'soulful' horns are gonna blow, man; those gospel-style backing singers can't fail to effervescently whip everything right up; that powerful, echoey Motowny orchestra is going to tweak the heartstrings of the eager British public. There'll be a perfect ratio of 'soulful' stormers, 'soulful' ballads and 'soulful' cover versions - same as every other X-F release since the dinosaur. Each as hoary, distasteful and downright tiring as the one before.

The whole knackered phenomenon is now only just about worth thinking up words to insult it. The people who buy this stuff are either psychotically stupid or simply too weary to care. About anything.
Just hear "Amazing" (BIG lol) - angst and hokey loyalty well on view. The man is so genuine; you can so feel his pain; his voice is 'unique' (even BIGGER lol) like that because he gargles cognac for breakfast while smoking twenty Woodbines - and now his baby's gone. Oooh yeahhhh! Can't you just touch his anguish through the plastic and hype ? No. You can't. His style is twenty years old and was never much in it's heyday. Matt's like a less cool, eunuch Randy Newman - without the excuse of effortless brilliance. Unforgivingly, the seemingly endless slurry of totally predictable collaborations and the odd weak standard come and go; only the actual tempo of the songs betraying any differential. In this instance the bellowing is ineffectual, puny and shrimpish; Mutt is simply a non-talent, non-personality and non-existent. On a base level - if you were to look not at all deeply, you could substitute the actual word 'soul' with the word 'thick,' - thick in a kind of classless, originality-less, stylistically destitute sense.
In short, his earnest, dim-witted album lacks anything even faintly resembling......well, children, can you guess ?
Comment Comments (19) | Permalink | Most recent comment: May 4, 2012 3:34 AM BST

The Boy Friend [DVD] [1971] [US Import] [Region 1] [NTSC]
The Boy Friend [DVD] [1971] [US Import] [Region 1] [NTSC]
Dvd ~ Twiggy
Offered by supermart_usa
Price: 9.07

24 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars That Perfect Thing Called....., 20 July 2011
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Ken Russell's 'The Boyfriend' has a heart-breaking editorial history stemming back to the early seventies.
Briefly, the moguls at MGM decided they knew better than the likes of Russell and Sam Peckinpah and set about butchering some of their major works. In Peckinpah's case, 'Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid' ~ which to this day has never fully recovered.
The hailed-to-the-heavens 'director's cut' remedied the situation to a large degree, thanks to Spottiswode and Halsey's timely intervention - but it remains a somewhat early-bird director's cut; certainly some of the editing suggests Peckinpah hadn't completely finished attending to it.

Fortunately, with this release of 'the Boyfriend' we now have the final word on this previously unattractively decimated work. With all the footage previously only seen on the ridiculous - but at the the time, vital - 3-sided laserdisc, restored to it's pomp, Russell's tiny, provincial tale of back-stage back-stabbing and ultimately triumphant true love can now be properly appreciated.

It's the cliched tale of a shy, baleful understudy, Polly Browne (Twiggy) who gets her big chance when the leading lady (an un-credited, biting cameo from Glenda Jackson) breaks her ankle - and proceeds to wow and win over the ten people in the audience, while predictably capturing her true love, Tony (Christopher Gable).

So far so not-so-inspiring, it's only when Russell goes into Busby Berkely mode that 'the Boyfriend' kick-starts ~ and some of the numbers are jaw-dropping. Throwing everything at it, Polly goes from Vision of Ecstasy to sweetheart of Bacchus without drawing breath. The images are astonishing, and so charmingly overstated by an obviously-in-his-element Russell and his rip-roaringly in-simpatico cast, that it would take a cold heart indeed not to be invigoratingly warmed by it all.

The ambitious, bickering supporting cast - led by a hysterical Max Adrian and foxy Antonia Ellis - are uniformly superb. Each wishing failure and disgrace on each other, and each's self-delusional over-the-topness (hey, we're back to Cowell again !), escalating to frenzy when it's revealed that the mogul film director, Cecil B. De Thrille, is talent-spotting from his vantage high above the sparse viewing congregation.
Occasionally, what plot there is, does seem slightly contrived to get from one flowing musical opus to the next, but it's not a deal breaker. Russell powers the whole shebang along in such fine, frivolous fashion that you scarcely notice. In fact, it plays like a horror movie in that the dialogue is sporadically just a segue into the next marauding, throbbing set-piece. The charm factor is amusingly high; from every over-played routine or belted out song to every chirpy, stilted dialogue exchange, the film drips it from every frame.
'the Boyfriend's hues dazzle, it's message reassures and it's exuberant innocence refreshes. It's a simple but satisfying way to spend 2+ summer hours, if, as I do, you despise the sun.

Ken Russell at some kind of apex; amazing to think it has to be regarded as an 'early work' when it's so polished.
And not a nubile naked nun nor nightmare nympho nazi to be seen anywhere.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jan 29, 2014 12:44 PM GMT

The Music Lovers 1970 DVD
The Music Lovers 1970 DVD
Dvd ~ Richard Chamberlain
Price: 10.66

9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Big It Up For Blighty, 3 July 2011
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: The Music Lovers 1970 DVD (DVD)
Ken Russell's Tchaikovsky opus, while not quite given the release it deserves, is here available in the best version since the film caused such a hue and cry on it's original cinema release over 40 years ago.
I don't want to wish my life away, but I'd have loved to have seen the hullabaloo: a fried homosexual married to a deranged nymphomaniac!! Those oh-so-earnest arts programmes - which inspired so many infinitely more entertaining Monty Python sketches - aghast at the treatment of one of orchestral music's guiding lights, yet pragmatically defending the artist's right to free expression and establishment non-intervention......
Proper culture.

Looking back at 'the Music Lovers' today, the only real shock comes in the realisation that behind all the grotesquerie and frenzied headiness, there's actually a damned good film going on ~ and one that really shouldn't be taken so seriously.
Richard Chamberlain is great as potty old Peter and Glenda Jackson equal to him as his driven-loopy-by-sexual-frustration (and we've all been there !) gold-digging spouse.
The rest of the well-capable cast is from Russell's own personel stock: Aris, Gable, Telezynska, Faulds, Colley, Armitage, Claire with a special mention to Max Adrian - always magnificent for Russell - as Tchaikovsky's critical professor and one of the earliest cultural exponents of tough love.

It's a well known fact that Russell only managed to secure finance for the picture after promising the keepers of the UA purses that he would completely sensationalise the story - and this he did...
The British film industry was split three ways in the early seventies: Hammer horror was merrily stripping off in the wake of the relaxation in censorship; the bawdy Carry On films were also taking advantage, the euphemisms more lavatorial than ever; and the 'worthy' 'art' film: Loache's 'Kes' and Anderson's 'If' being recent - and brutal - examples, were operating embryonically effectively, but still very much in the margins.
Russell combines all three, as usual with not much subtelty and even less restraint. He lashes his spunky creativity to every frame; exaggerating and mocking each genre until the droll mutation is irresistibly defined.

'The Music Lovers' is hilarious, ugly, cruel, angry, beautifully shot and wonderfully acted. It's the kind of film that needed to be made in the UK in 1970, delivering a hefty swift one to the cobblers of all that had cinematically preceded it in the previous purple satin decade (even, to some extent, Russell's own work).
It isn't by any leap, a hasty follow up to the collectively inferior 'Women in Love' ~ it's its own bellicose beast. A veritable black box of hysterical despair and lewd, clever, rip-roaring black humour.

How factual it all is is open to debate (and debate, and debate...), this is obviously Tchaikovsky's story as Russell sees it - and, as has been observed elsewhere - it is a strange truth he sometimes sees. No-one should care. To paraphrase from another vulture of controversy hovering around at the time: 'The Music Lovers' is a 'man sized crast.' Who is bothered if he never actually met Madam von Meck, his adoring patron; or the men in white coats didn't come for his cuckoo missus til AFTER his death ? Not this reviewer for chips.

Enjoy it in 'Scope for the first time, too; a film this size thrives on Panavision like the cholera bacteria thrives in fecal waste water. Yet even in it's eye-pleasing vastness, 'The Music Lovers' paints tiny cameos. Russell - like David Lynch - should be forced to film everything he does at 2:35...including his tv work. Great visualists (cinematicians I call them) have nothing to fear from the empty corners.

Another reviewer claims 'The Music Lovers' to be the greatest British film ever made, and this may well be so. The proclamation seems wild, yet I can't think of many UK productions more important or so thunderously enjoyable.
What the Puttnam/Forbes axis would make of that I really can't say, but I'd kill to be in the studio audience of that Idle-presented, profoundly reverential tv show, when they, Russell and Melvyn Bragg ('The Music Lovers' excellent scriptwriter) thrash it all out.

And Then There Were None [DVD]
And Then There Were None [DVD]
Dvd ~ Oliver Reed
Price: 7.25

1 of 7 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Lacking Sand, 3 May 2011
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
'And Then There Were None' is an updating of Agatha Christie's 'Ten Little Indians' ( originally titled 'Ten Little N*ggers' and soon no doubt, there'll be those shrieking for it to be re-named 'Ten Little Sociological Racial Minorities' !) set in a deserted hotel in Iran (!) and featuring a fading - and rather gruff - 'all-star' cast.

Notably, 'And Then There Were None' carries the stamp of Harry Alan Towers ~ a sort of artless, swishless euro-tinker. He raises money then gives it to the likes of Jess Franco to make infinite numbers of non-studio films about blaise murderers and their bland victims. Credit wise, 'The Face of Fu Manchu' is probably his pealing glory; while two early nineties Christopher Lee/Sherlock Holmes yarns also warrant a mention.
Adopting many aliases - script-writer Peter Welbeck being principle - he was still producing films in his mid-eighties. That he NEEDED TO tells you much....

He's been responsible for at least three versions of this tale ~ this one directed by Peter Collinson, who also did the kitchen sink flag-waver 'Up The Junction' and the excellent suspense slasher 'Fright.' ~ but to be fair, this one plods.
There's limited mild amusement to be garnered trying to guess the murderer from amidst the legion of 'celebrities' hamming it up like so much lunchion meat, but even here, it's difficult to glean much sympathy for the nasty likes of Herbert Lom, Adolpho Celi and Charles Aznavour; each jostling like feeding geckos for the red herring of the Caspian award.
Surprisingly, it's left to Oliver Reed (!) and Elke Sommer (swoon!) to add some dignity to the dusty old pot-boiling and what dear old Dickie Attenborough is doing shuffling around in the murk is anyone's guess.

Fans of Ollie, though, will find much to enjoy; his is quite a restrained performance (for full blown Ollie - outside of Ken Russell, obviously - you need 'The Shuttered Room.') with only splinters of bullishness here and there. The fact that his character is the most likeable of the guests betrays much about the philosophy of 'ATTWN.'
Personally, I like to see lithe, mammiferous doxies getting iced because no matter how stupid and annoying they are, you usually feel decently compensated that you've at least seen SOMETHING worthwhile !
When all you have is Orson Welles' voice curling from a tape, and Gert Froebe rolling his eyes trying to appear guilty - you haven't even got that.

Harsh, but it's a hard place we're living. Avid Ollie-watchers will lap this up, but unless Charles Aznavour doing a punk version of the title song or Stephane Audren's sensual punt at the well-worn 'famous-actress-playing-a-famous-actress' routine floats your boat, there's only bits and bobs for the rest of us.
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Dec 13, 2013 10:50 AM GMT

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