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Ka Thomas "maninasuitcase" (UK)
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The Complete Minder
The Complete Minder
by Brian Hawkins
Edition: Paperback
Price: £16.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Worth every sov., 24 Nov 2014
This review is from: The Complete Minder (Paperback)
Well, I have been a fan of 'Minder' since the show first aired back in late 1979 and watched every single episode (barring one from S1 when we had a power cut in early 1980) on its first run. I had only watched the series once in the last 5 years so I have to admit I was a little bit rusty on my knowledge of quite a few episodes.

The author paints a picture of a pretty bleak Britain some 6 months into Thatcher's first term as PM, The Labour Party crushed after the Winter of Discontent, a seemingly endless strike at ITV, etc. 'Minder' did seem like a breath of fresh air to me when it aired nearly 2 months late on 29th October 1979.

We then get interesting profiles of the main players in Minder's long history; Dennis Waterman, George Cole, Leon Griffiths, Gary Webster, Glynn Edwards and Patrick Malahide. I was surprised not to read more about three key production team members; Verity Lambert, Lloyd Shirley and George Taylor. There were lots of little gems of information to be found, I didn't know Denholm Elliot was considered for the role of Arthur. Thankfully common sense prevailed and Euston Films chose the perfect man for the part.

After those brief profiles we are treated to the author's entertaining guide to all 10 series of the show. This is where this excellent tome comes into its own with a well thought out analysis of each series and the overall impact of such an iconic TV series had on the British (and Australian) public. We learn why Nicholas Day (DS Morley) was a late choice for his key role, the rare Premium Bond TV advert, Minder Annuals, etc. It really covers most bases and I found out lots of fresh information which was totally new to me. I thoroughly enjoyed the piece 'An embodiment of the Thatcher era' where we are reminded of Arthur's adoration of our leader during the 80s. Despite Arthur's dodgy (and often illegal) deals he still had a soft spot for The Iron Lady. I think this all added to the comedic elements of the series. We also do get a mention of the rather poor Shane Richie sequel series. This section is neatly rounded off by a concise examination of 'The Minder Phenomenon'.

We then get to the "Where are they now" piece which tells us what has happened 'After Minder'. I didn't realise Gary Webster had heart problems 3 years ago and got himself into financial difficulties.

'Minder', of course, was full of Cockney Rhyming Slang and we are given details of words like codgell, Chalfonts and the like. Some like "elephant's" (drunk) are well known but others like "kite" (a worthless cheque) were new to me.

The book then does become more of a reference book with lists of Writers, Actors, Directors, UK And Aussie First Transmission Dates, Key Characters/Situations and Episodes. Useful if you quickly want to find out who was in what and what happened in a particular episode.

The author then takes us on an Episode Guide of all 108 shows with little tit bits of information added to the basic plotlines. I would have liked to heard more about what the author thought on some key episodes. Did he find 'An Officer and a Car Salesman' as disappointing as I did. That would have been good to read.

Sadly, there were no photos apart from a solitary one of Dennis & George adorning the front cover. I presume that was down to licensing costs?

Anyway, I really enjoyed this book, it brought back loads of memories of a truly wonderful TV series that spanned my life as 6th Form student to a married man into his 30s!


The Quiller Memorandum [Blu-ray]
The Quiller Memorandum [Blu-ray]
Dvd ~ George Segal
Price: £9.10

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars 5 Stars for a great movie but 1 star for the awful picture quality on Network's Blu Ray, 14 Aug 2014
This is one of the worst blu rays I have ever seen for picture quality. Simply awful. There is a "strobing" effect in many scenes that is enough to give you a migraine. The lack of clarity and fuzziness (especially in the night time shots) is really bad. I am sending my copy back to Amazon for a refund. What are Network playing at? Normally their BDs are great quality but this is an absolute stinker. Avoid!

BTW the Extras are the same as Network's DVD.


The Killers [Blu-ray] [1964]
The Killers [Blu-ray] [1964]
Dvd ~ Lee Marvin
Price: £11.60

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Arrow BD - The Killers - The Best TV Movie ever made!, 1 May 2014
This great movie was intended to be the first ever TV Movie but was deemed too violent to be shown on US TV (in the wake of the Kennedy assassination in Nov 63). It was always intended to be released abroad and indeed it was shown in UK cinemas.

Watching it these days on BD (released by Arrow Films in the UK), you can see it was a low budget movie but it truly is a classic.

'The Killers' was based on a short story by Ernest Hemingway and already had been filmed in 1946 with Burt Lancaster. The 1964 film is much, much better than the 1946 version. With Lee Marvin, Angie Dickinson, John Cassavetes starring and Don (Dirty Harry) Siegel directing, it was always going to very interesting. The film has also become notable for being Ronald Reagan's last ever film role (thankfully). It was also the first movie that Lee Marvin was given top billing.

Marvin (despite being half cut, his alcoholism was getting out of control) steals this movie as one of the contract killers (Charlie Storm). He just oozes meanness and looks so cool in every shot. The scenes at the end really showcase what a quality actor Marvin was in this sort of role.

Playing Marvin's sidekick is Clu Gulager who does a really good job with an impossible role. Trying to out act and be as cool as Marvin was truly impossible in this film.

The femme fatale is played by the beautiful Angie Dickinson who gets injured racing driver Johnny North (John Cassavetes) involved in a robbery which is masterminded by arch crook and businessman Jack Browning (Ronald Reagan). Reagan is truly awful in this movie, he is wooden and totally unbelievable as a gangster. He didn't want the role but had to take it because he badly needed the money. Lee Marvin despised Reagan (they had worked together in the 50s) and enjoyed trying to make Reagan look bad in The Killers'. They would do several takes of each scene, Marvin would deliberately do something different each time to try and put Reagan off. It never worked because Reagan just said his lines like he was reading a newspaper aloud.

There is a lot of unconvincing back projection in the movie. Check out the go kart scenes. And as for the view from Reagan's office window! It is a really obvious painted backdrop. But this was a movie originally made for TV and the budget was set low accordingly. The film is mostly set in Florida but clearly filmed on the Hollywood Universal back lot standing city set and the Californian (used for Florida) countryside looks remarkably like Hazzard County. I half expected to see the General Lee.

The violence seems quite tame by today's standards but the opening scenes where Marvin and Gulager casually stroll into the school for the blind, terrorise the blind receptionist and carry out a hit is really powerful stuff.

The BD looks truly amazing (a few very minor marks on the print here and there) and I recommend this film to crime movie fans. The extras (as per usual for an Arrow release) are fantastic and very informative. 10/10.
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Nov 8, 2014 3:37 PM GMT


Sands of the Kalahari [DVD] [1965] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]
Sands of the Kalahari [DVD] [1965] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]
Dvd ~ Stanley Baker
Offered by RAREWAVES USA
Price: £12.67

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great movie of survival in a lonely place., 3 Mar 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
The print looks truly fanastic, very clear and I can only imagine how wonderful it must look on BD. The movie, about a plane crash in the desert was released in 1965 (the same year as the similar 'Flight of the Phoenix' with James Stewart). Both are excellent movies and well worth checking out but I found 'Kalahari' to be more grim and realistic.

The film's star and co-producer was Stanley Baker (wearing a very obvious blonde wig/hairpiece) but he gets far less screen time than Stuart Whitman. The movie was really well directed by Cy (Zulu, Hell Drivers) Enfield. The film benefits by being virtually all shot on location in Namibia and Spain. This print really does make it look gorgeous with the natural scenery looking wonderful against the sky blue backdrop,

Baker's co-star should have been George Peppard but he was going through his "difficult stage" and pulled out after a few days filming. Stuart Whitman was brought in as a last minute replacement and he carries off his role very well. BTW Richard Burton & Liz Taylor were, at one stage, going to appear but it didn't work out.

Baker plays a subdued down on his luck drunk and Whitman is a very brash big game hunter. Susannah York, only 25 when the film was made, looks absolutely gorgeous. The other members of a quality cast were character actor Harry Andrews (playing a German for once!), Theodore Bikel and the late Nigel Davenport. Sadly only Whitman (aged 86) and Bikel (aged 89) are still with us.

The film doesn't waste much time before the plane crash strands a bunch of strangers in the desert. It revolves around their survival and how far one person will go to make sure it is he/she that makes it to civilisation. They find shelter in some caves but there are baboons living in the area......... I will warn you that a few animals are "killed".

Again, another Stanley Baker/Cy Enfield gem of a movie that I really do recommend to everyone.


Perfect Friday [Blu-ray + DVD]
Perfect Friday [Blu-ray + DVD]
Dvd ~ Stanley Baker
Price: £8.10

5.0 out of 5 stars Perfect Blu Ray/DVD of a little known British classic., 23 Feb 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
The BD transfer is very good with only a few minor marks here and there that won't spoil your enjoyment.

This British movie features the three leads, Ursula Andress, Stanley Baker and David Warner and the film centres on this trio whilst they plan to steal a large sum of money from a bank vault. The money is stored in a bank where Baker's character Mr Graham is an assistant manager and he cleverly comes up with a fool proof plan to nick the cash. However he needs to involve two other people in his scheme and recruits Britt (Andress) and Lord Nicholas Dorset (Warner) to help him carry it out. When you first see Lord Dorset he is as camp as a row of tents but his character seems to "straighten up" as the movie progresses!

The film is mostly shot on location in London and a lot of the outdoor shots will be familiar to location spotters in the capital.

This movie is light hearted in tone and it feels very "60ish". A crime movie and there are no shooters, car chases or violence! The plot has lots of twists and turns and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Baker is nothing like the hard man he plays in 'The Last Grenade' and 'Innocent Bystanders', he plays the scheming mastermind with aplomb. David Warner is really good as his Lordship and Andress (not dubbed for a change) is OK but her good looks were her best asset! Her nude scenes are very revealing, no stunt double used in this movie for its star!

The rest of the cast hardly get two dozen lines between them and is it really does concentrate on the interaction between the three lead actors. Johnny Briggs (AKA Corrie's Mike Baldwin) and Garfield Morgan (Frank Haskins in The Sweeney) appear in minor roles.

Yet another Stanley Baker movie from the early 70s that I really do recommend for film fans to take a look at.


Executioner [DVD] [1970] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]
Executioner [DVD] [1970] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]
Dvd ~ George Peppard
Offered by RAREWAVES USA
Price: £12.85

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Quality British spy thriller., 8 Feb 2014
"Every day he lives, somebody else dies!" - the 1970 tag line for the movie.

I saw this 1970 British spy thriller this week and what a really good Cold War spy movie it is. You may ask why George Peppard is starring in a film about British secret service agents! More later!

I never really rated Peppard as a great leading man but I found him convincing in the lead role as Brit spy John Shay. Although some critics of the day said Peppard's performance was "wooden" "and "easygoing".

Peppard's career was in decline by 1970 because he was an alcoholic and notoriously difficult on set. TV roles in 'Banacek' and 'The A Team' were not far away when he accepted the role in this relatively low budget movie which is nicely directed by the American Sam Wanamaker. The movie benefits tremendously by being virtually all filmed on location in London, Athens and Corfu. Even scenes where the stars are talking in Peppard's moving Lotus Elan sports car avoids the typical 1960's/1970's unconvincing rear projection. The scenes supposedly in Turkey were shot in Corfu Town.

Back to the movie. George is playing a Brit spy who was born in the UK but raised in the USA. Simples eh? Peppard's spy ring is betrayed abroad and he goes on an unofficial one man mission to discover if there is a mole in the British Secret Service. It is not too violent a movie and was certified AA on its original release. I really liked the flashback scenes throughout the film and they helped keeping me guessing what was going to happen at the movie's conclusion. There are plenty of plot twists and it really held my interest until the final credits.

The supporting cast: Joan Collins is better than I expected as a wife of one of John Shay's colleagues who he thinks may be a Soviet agent. He is played by Aussie actor Keith (Captain Beaky) Michell. It seems strange that the British Secret Service in this movie is staffed by foreigners! Where there no British actors available? At least the Soviet agent Racovsky was played by the Austrian actor Oskar Homolka (Funeral in Berlin, Billion Dollar Brain)! The two British Secret Service bosses are played as two Oxbridge toffs who like to spend all their time at the snooker table! Charles (Blofeld in 'Diamonds Are Forever') Gray and Nigel Patrick are well cast in these roles. George (Inspector Wexford) Baker crops up as the token scientist who is working on a top secret project that the Soviets are interested in. The only one of the cast that I thought was poor was Judy (Brannigan) Geeson. She play's Peppard's girlfriend Polly and I found her performance very weak and unconvincing. She looks very pretty but IMHO she was not a good choice for the movie. Maybe she got fed up with George's attitude off screen and this was reflected onscreen with the total lack of chemistry between the two leads? Who knows?

The print used on the DVD? Looks really crisp and clear. Athens & Corfu look particularly beautiful. This movie needs a Region 2 DVD and a BD release.

Yet again, like the excellent 1972 Brit movie 'Innocent Bystanders', this is only available in a decent quality print from the USA. There is a Region 2 release available from Spain which, according to a review on here, uses an unwatchable print. So, if you do want to check out this movie please buy the version imported from the USA!


Innocent Bystanders [DVD] [1972] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]
Innocent Bystanders [DVD] [1972] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]
Dvd ~ Stanley Baker
Offered by supermart_usa
Price: £9.57

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Stanley Baker stars in a really entertaining Bond-like spy thriller., 26 Jan 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I have just finished watching this quality spy thriller and I reckon it is a Brit film that really needs to be seen by a wider audience. It is based on a book by James Mitchell who created the classic TV spy series 'Callan',

It stars one of Britain's finest actors, Stanley Baker as the over the hill agent John Craig who is sent on a dangerous mission by his boss Donald Pleasance. Pleasance is brilliant in this role and his deadpan delivery, especially at his member's club, is really amusing.

Playing Baker's fellow agents are Derren Nesbitt (Special Branch) and Sue Lloyd. Nesbitt and Baker have a nasty fight in the beginning of the movie which is well handled by the director Peter Collinson (The Italian Job). The film overall is quite violent but it was 1972 and this isn't quite James Bond!

We see the American secret service getting involved. Played by Dana Andrews (he doesn't look too drunk in this film) and Cec Linder (Felix Leiter in 'Goldfinger'). They supervise a "torture" scene for Craig which is a bit unbelievable. The "US locations" are obviously filmed in London and outside the Pinewood Studios building!

The genuine location filming was shot in Turkey and adds some class to what must have been a fairly low budget movie. Well, low budget compared to a Bond movie.

Warren Mitchell, who is really on top form, steals the movie for me. Not bad seeing he is up against the likes of Stanley Baker. There is quite a bit of humour in what is quite a violent movie. I laughed out aloud a couple of times, it is generally a well written script.

Unintentionally funny moment: when Baker takes a shower he comes out all wet. Yet his dodgy toupee is completely dry! :lol:

If you haven't seen this movie I advise you to check it out.


Cornwall from the Coast Path
Cornwall from the Coast Path
by Michael Kent
Edition: Paperback

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This is an excellent guide book., 8 April 2009
This is an excellent guide-book.
The coastal path is divided up into 16 sections with an easy to follow map, and the distance involved, at the start of each walk. Directions are clear and concise; descriptions are fulsome and often reveal hidden gems that are easy to miss.
What gives this guide an extra dimension is Michael Kent's voice and his passion for, and dedication to, the task he has undertaken.
Various sites are highlighted, as he obviously does not want the reader to miss them. For instance, Par Harbour is written up in some detail, as are Place House, Serpentine, Wilkie Collins and Botallack Mine - to name but a few.
The numerous photographs only serve to enhance what is a most enjoyable book, from the tranquil sweep of Polkerris Cove, a kite surfer in Hayle, a Kittiwake and her young and the inside of a cave at Kelsey Cliffs; all show the unique wonder of Cornwall.
If the weather is poor, this guide will be enjoyed in the comfort of an armchair. One can hear the sea and smell the hedges.
Pat Quayle (Cornish World Magazine).


Cornwall at War: Memories, Letters, Reflections
Cornwall at War: Memories, Letters, Reflections
by Elizabeth Hotten
Edition: Paperback

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An absorbing insight, 8 April 2009
Cornwall at War, Memories , Letters & Reflections from the Parish Magazines is an absorbing insight into the effect of three major wars on Cornish life.
Elizabeth Hotten has examined letters sent home from serving personnel, stories of military actions and civilian life on the home front as recorded in regional publications and church and chapel newsletters.
The conflicts covered are; the Boer war, the First World War and the Second World War and dates from 1889 to 1951. The book is illustrated with images of ration coupons, identity cards and over 50 photographs from the times. In particular, the letters sent to the parishes of Probus and Ladock from soldiers in the Boer War are of great interest.
During the world wars, troops were ordered not to discuss military operations in their letters home. This was to prevent any information falling into enemy hands. Soldiers in the Boer war were free to describe military operations in their letters and so there are many interesting reports of operations in the Transvaal.
The evacuation of city children to the countryside had a big impact on rural life during the Second World War. Parish newsletters on the arrival of the children show the organisation necessary to find the evacuees good homes.
This is an ideal read for anyone who remembers wartime or whose relatives were involved - indeed anyone with an interest in the local history of Cornwall.
Geoff O'Donoghue (Cornish World Magazine).


Beneath Cornish Seas
Beneath Cornish Seas
by Mark Webster
Edition: Paperback
Price: £4.99

1 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An inspirational work, 8 April 2009
This review is from: Beneath Cornish Seas (Paperback)
Newlyn copper: Arts and Crafts Copper Work in Newlyn proves to be a meticulously researched guide to the history of the Newlyn industrial class.
It explores initial social and economic factors, along with individuals' influences that together provided the catalyst for the establishment, and following success of, the craft guild at Newlyn. The text also describes how copper repoussé is created and even divulges secret techniques, which the Newlyn craftsmen strove to keep hidden, used in the production of their stunning copper work.
This tome begins by describing how the preoccupations of certain individuals had a huge impact on the popular taste for hand made crafts and, consequently, the founding of early the arts and crafts movements. It seems that the origins of the Newlyn industrial class stretch back as far as 1829. At this time leading thinkers, such as Carlyle and Ruskin, began the fashion for hand made goods by `observing the mechanical age with grave doubt', criticising perfect machine made crafts as `signs of spiritual collapse'.
The layout has the effect of making the text very accessible, making `Newlyn Copper' an excellent source of reference. This quality is emphasised by the repetition of facts and dates, ensuring that important information is not forgotten. Moreover, it enables readers to absorb the information at their own pace. Also a timeline is provided as a quick reference for those of us with weaker memories.
Newlyn Copper is brimming with photographs of original repoussé artefacts, contemporary adverts and newspaper articles, again accentuating the thoroughness of its exploration of the subject.
Georgina Yates (Cornish World Magazine).


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