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Al Baker

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The Cracksman [DVD]
The Cracksman [DVD]
Dvd ~ Charlie Drake
Price: 9.02

1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Third time unlucky, 9 Mar 2014
This review is from: The Cracksman [DVD] (DVD)
Associated British Picture Corporation's third attempt at turning Charlie Drake into a big screen star is an improvement on it's predecessor, Petticoat Pirates, but that is not saying much. Once again lavishing Technicolor and CinemaScope on the popular TV comedian, the producers at least have the star playing a character, integral to the plot, with a name rather than himself. Unfortunately, the movie is killed by the snail's pace at which things proceed, with regular slapstick set pieces for it's star to demonstrate his pratfall abilities holding things up. Clearly intended by ABPC as a response to arch rival Rank's Norman Wisdom series (which had been raking it in at the box office for ten years), by 1963, the world was moving on from sentimental "little man" comedies and even Wisdom was on the way down. Trimming 30 minutes from the running time would have improved things, but if you must watch a Charlie Drake film this is probably your best bet. As with Petticoat Pirates, a cast full of familiar British character actors is on hand, including Ronnie Barker having a pre Porridge stint inside.


Petticoat Pirates [DVD]
Petticoat Pirates [DVD]
Dvd ~ Charlie Drake
Price: 8.57

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A lesser naval Drake, 20 Feb 2014
This review is from: Petticoat Pirates [DVD] (DVD)
This shows all the signs of having been an existing script which Associated British Picture Corporation allowed Charlie Drake to write some scenes for himself (he has co-writer credit) in their second attempt to bring the popular TV comedian to film stardom. If you cut out all of Drake's woeful slapstick scenes, you would not alter the thrust of the story one jot. Basically an innocuous comedy about WREN's not being able to serve at sea (quite an unusual subject for 1961), if this had been another in the long list of black and white British comedies of the era (and Drakeless) it would probably linger fondly in the memory. ABPC, however, filmed it in Technicolor and CinemaScope and allowed Drake (whose character is imaginatively named Charlie Drake) to ruin it. If you fast forward through Drake's irrelevant scenes, you might enjoy this film, packed with familiar British comedy stars of the time.


Concretopia: A Journey Around the Rebuilding of Postwar Britain
Concretopia: A Journey Around the Rebuilding of Postwar Britain
by John Grindrod
Edition: Hardcover
Price: 18.80

6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good book, poor pictures, 23 Dec 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
For those interested in the development of Britain in the fifties and sixties this is a fascinating read, even if you are not particularly interested in architecture. Unfortunately this is a subject that cries out for good illustrations and plenty of them. However, the photographs in the book are few in number, usually small and poorly reproduced.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jan 9, 2014 1:33 PM GMT


Agatha Christie's Marple - Series 6 [DVD]
Agatha Christie's Marple - Series 6 [DVD]
Dvd ~ Julia McKenzie
Price: 7.50

6 of 18 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Where's the Blu-ray?, 23 Dec 2013
What is the point of ITV Studios making programmes in High Definition and then refusing to release them on Blu-ray? The only major ITV series on Blu-ray is Downton Abbey and that is because it is not an ITV Studios production and they do not own the home video rights. It seems that I should invest in a Blu-ray recorder, record the HD broadcasts and burn my own discs. Expensive!!
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jan 18, 2014 3:50 PM GMT


An Adventure in Space and Time [DVD]
An Adventure in Space and Time [DVD]
Dvd ~ David Bradley
Price: 8.75

5 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Poor value DVD, 22 Nov 2013
This was a brilliant and evocative recreation of the beginnings of Doctor Who. However, why is it being released only on DVD at the exorbitant price of 13.75 when The Day of the Doctor is being released on 3D Blu-ray at 11.25?
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Nov 24, 2013 3:57 AM GMT


Downton Abbey - Series 4 [Blu-ray]
Downton Abbey - Series 4 [Blu-ray]
Dvd ~ Maggie Smith
Price: 23.13

18 of 24 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Highlights package, 16 Nov 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
As I refuse to watch programmes interrupted by adverts every 10 minutes and Downton is issued on Blu-ray (unlike Poirot), I didn't even bother recording this series. I have just finished a three night binge on series 4 and, although the production and acting are generally top notch, I feel that I have been watching the highlights of a much longer story. Characters come and go in the most perfunctory manner, and what one assumes are going to be major plot lines are summarily dismissed in a few lines (e.g. Lord Downton's visit to the USA and the resolution to Anna's "experience" (not wishing to spoil it for those who have not yet seen series I can say no more). I presume that Julian Fellowes now regrets setting Downton in Yorkshire as members of the family and other characters routinely make the trip to and from London as if it were just down the road. In those days the journey by train would have taken about five hours each way, while a road journey would have been, at the very least an all day affair and more probably a two day trip with an overnight stop. In spite of all this, the show remains a hugely enjoyable viewing experience, not least due to Dame Maggie Smith's double act with Penelope Wilton (they would have given Morecambe and Wise a run for their money).
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Feb 28, 2014 11:46 PM GMT


Court-Martial of Billy Mitchell [Blu-ray] [1955] [US Import]
Court-Martial of Billy Mitchell [Blu-ray] [1955] [US Import]
Dvd ~ Gary Cooper

0 of 9 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Region A locked, 15 Aug 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
One star for Olive films. Previous Olive Films Blu-rays I have purchased have been region free, unfortunately, this is region A locked.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Sep 5, 2013 7:56 PM BST


Titanic: The Ship That Never Sank?
Titanic: The Ship That Never Sank?
by Robin Gardiner
Edition: Paperback
Price: 7.19

2.0 out of 5 stars Flawed conspiracy theory, 9 Aug 2013
The author's theory is intriguing, if unlikely. However, Mr. Gardiner loses credibility in his ignorance of detail. For example, ships do not have nameplates screwed to the hull. The letters of the ships name are individual castings riveted to the hull, rather less easy to remove than the author suggests (though not of course impossible). The implication that the scam was concocted as a result of White Star losing it's appeal regarding the Hawke collision is of course nonsense. The appeal went against White Star in April 1913, a year after the Titanic had sunk, and the House of Lords judgement was in November 1914. Hardly possible for E.J.Smith to have been encouraging White Star to pursue the matter from beyond his watery grave. The book is an enjoyable piece of hokum, but I am afraid that the likelihood of there being any truth in it is slim indeed. Too many people would have known what had happened for nothing to have come out.


Sea Fury [DVD]
Sea Fury [DVD]
Dvd ~ Stanley Baker
Offered by Helgy
Price: 5.55

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Seafaring yawn, 8 Aug 2013
This review is from: Sea Fury [DVD] (DVD)
This was the first occasion that the Baker-Endfield combo followed up an excellent movie (Hell Drivers) with a bit of a stinker (the second being the superb Zulu and the execrable Sands of the Kalahari). Although the title suggests otherwise, the story is about a rather boring "love" triangle rather than seafaring antics. A rather perfunctory "jeopardy at sea" climax is tacked on but fails to generate much excitement. It is rather disconcerting to see the ancient McLaglen, looking about 100 and on his last(sea)legs, leering after the nubile young Paluzzi, no prizes for guessing who she finishes up with! This is one of those films that takes forever to get going, only to find it has nowhere interesting to go. Badly paced and poorly directed, I found it difficult to stay awake. The lucky Americans got a 72 minute version on original release, they didn't miss much. On a technical note, as others have noted, this in the wrong aspect ratio, the movie was shot for 1.75:1 widescreen presentation.


The Man Who Finally Died [DVD]
The Man Who Finally Died [DVD]
Dvd ~ Stanley Baker
Price: 5.25

3 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Almost forgotten movie, perhaps justifiably., 8 July 2013
Or "The Film That Finally Ended". A rather sluggish effort that will not be considered the high point of any of it's participants careers. Good to see a decent anamorphic 2.35:1 transfer unlike some recent releases of British films of similar vintage which have been released panned and scanned. The strange thing about this movie is the number of well known actors in uncredited roles, Alfred Burke has as much screen time as Mai Zetterling for no credit, while perennial bit part player Ivor Salter also turns up and Mela White gets some practice for her much later Bergerac role by playing a hotel waitress/maid.


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