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John Ellis "jonthes" (New York, NY United States)

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The BBC Quatermass Experiment [DVD] [2005]
The BBC Quatermass Experiment [DVD] [2005]
Dvd ~ Andrew Tiernan
Price: £12.71

3 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A botch, 9 Sep 2009
The gimmick of a live telecast meant that the producers cut so much of the script it was less detailed than the feature film, which cut huge sections of the original television broadcast (of which only the first segment survives). So once again we do not have a filmed version of Neale's complete original script. Hopefully someone will finally do it, someone who will remain faithful to his brilliant tone. The actors are too young for the roles, relatively Hollywood, and the end was just flat for me. The wonderful monstrous single rolling eye of the feature film was miles ahead (for much less money). It looked like a budget trick - just have nothing at all and they'll think we're brilliant.

There seems to be something in British culture that will not respect most artists in the performing arts at least until they are gone and then some (witness the semi-botched Beatle box sets and the lost BBC footage and soundtracks from years and years, Cook and Moore, Barry Humphries, etc.) of which this is just another example. Perhaps some brilliant Aussie director will finally do this right. There seems to be no hope in the UK or US.

The Beatles In Mono
The Beatles In Mono
Offered by Amore DVD
Price: £129.99

4 of 14 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Price is ridiculous; a conjecture, 16 Aug 2009
This review is from: The Beatles In Mono (Audio CD)
First of all, the Beatles did not work in stereo, they left the studio after the mono masters were finished and George Martin made artistic changes that he wasn't authorized to do - the only good one being "I've got blisters on my fingers", which the mono buyers will be surprised to find is not there. The sound is cleaner and sharper, and details like Paul chuckling on "Maxwell" come out. Yes "Maxwell" because there is a mono "Abbey Road", it was issued in South America on vinyl and I've transferred and cleaned a CD copy myself for my personal use and it's real mono and though closer to the stereo than any other competing mix of their other albums, it's better. So to begin with it should be in the set. Why is the mono more expensive when the stereo has more discs and a DVD? I'm sure the sound will be what it should have been years ago, but EMI has made millions - billions? - on the Beatles, so the gouging price is ugly. Marring what will be a celebration otherwise. There are also mono "Let It Be" takes too. What I'd love is if Paul and Ringo would mix stereo versions that have their mono artistic choices, because the differences are often substantial, particularly on "Revolver", "Pepper" and "White" - the heart of their output.

Addenda : If there was no "Abbey" mono lp, why are there studio takes in mono with mono matrix numbers? It was not a 'fold-down'. And where is the mono "Ballad of John and Yoko" and "Old Brown Shoe?"? These exist too. Don't get me wrong, I love what was issued, despite the price, but who is it that makes these decisions in the face of the obvious? Perhaps in forty years the errors will be corrected. Furthermore : there is a mono issue of McCartney's "Ram" and IT'S better, so this didn't end with "Abbey Road". George Martin was a brilliant producer (and trusted by The Boys because he produced The Goons) but he took his title of Fifth Beatle way too far, and now you can hear it.

Compare the end of "Within You", the most egregious change - the mono has a braying laugh that George Harrison chose to ridicule anyone who would laugh at his message; George Martin chose the light laughter of a handful of people which in effect gently mocks Harrison, exactly the opposite of his intention. It was reported Harrison was shocked when he heard the stereo, long after it was issued.
Comment Comments (17) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Aug 22, 2009 6:42 PM BST

Beatrice Lillie
Beatrice Lillie
by Bruce Laffey
Edition: Hardcover

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Memoir disguised as bio, 22 Jun 2007
This review is from: Beatrice Lillie (Hardcover)
Bea Lillie's 'autobiography' was a paste up of old press releases when she couldn't finish it (or begin it) so this is the only true account of her rather fascinating life. Laffey was a friend, stage manager and keeper of the flame for Lillie, and the last half of the book (the best half by far) is a memoir written in the third person. Her relationship with John Huck (who renamed himself Philip), her junior by decades, darkened her last years, though he stuck by her when she spent her last twenty five years in a state of something close to stupor. She was the greatest international stage star in the world from roughly the mid-20s to her last appearance, in 1964 in "High Spirits". Her films give you a good look at her talent, particularly "On Approval" and the great silent "Exit Smiling" (restored by Turner but with a heavy inappropriate score), which rivals "City Lights" (Chaplin called her the 'female Chaplin' after seeing it and she was, a Chaplin who also sang and could play classic comedy). This bio gets at her too, but no one who didn't see her live will ever get the full force of this magnificent comedienne.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Mar 22, 2012 11:36 PM GMT

Kath And Kim - Complete Series 1 (2 Disc Set) [DVD]
Kath And Kim - Complete Series 1 (2 Disc Set) [DVD]
Dvd ~ Gina Riley
Offered by Digizoneuk
Price: £14.99

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Low Rent Ab Fab, 25 Dec 2006
As another reviewer noted, they are the French and Saunders of Oz. In the US we have to hunt and peck to pick up the odd run. The first US cable channel that carried them bit the dust (unique here), though Redford's Sundance Channel picked them up. Just saw the Christmas film 'introducing' Barry Humphries with several major developments in their spotty lives, complicated by an evil albino hunchbacked monk who shadowed Kath and Kel after their French DeVinci Code Tour. Hopefully this will show up on Amazon soon.

The combination of visual humor, verbal slapstick and satire isn't to be had otherwise on US television. Second viewing is usually rewarded.

Palm Beach Story [DVD] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]
Palm Beach Story [DVD] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]
Dvd ~ Claudette Colbert
Offered by supermart_usa
Price: £5.78

1 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Best, 31 Aug 2006
This is the best American comedy film ever made. How's that? Perfectly written, directed and cast. Shakespeare would have been jealous and thought of how he might have cribbed a "Taming of the Shrew" sequel out of it.

It has one flaw, that has maybe been nearly fatal for getting the attention of people who have never heard of it. The title is as plain a linoleum.

There is one better Sturges film - "Remember the Night". But it is as much a drama as a comedy.

Buy this but in the box set, as us Yanks must because most of the them haven't been issued in the US. Or are $40 a pop.

Sunboat (1985) [VINYL]
Sunboat (1985) [VINYL]

3.0 out of 5 stars Rare Beefheart lyrics, 30 Aug 2006
This review is from: Sunboat (1985) [VINYL] (Vinyl)
A middling MOR-ish LP from the Krokodil singer Hepp. Mostly of interest because it includes the song "Mirror Man Me", with lyrics Hepp got from Don Van Vliet during a US trek (DVV denies it). This version (there was an earlier one) has a very soft rock tune and Anita Kerr herself sings backup. Henry Kaiser did this as a bonus track on "History" but with DVV's original tune for "Mirror Man" instead, which is a better fit though Don probably wishes no one had done anything with it at all.

Macbeth [DVD]
Macbeth [DVD]
Dvd ~ Orson Welles
Price: £9.52

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Masterpiece with a cracked face, 8 Mar 2006
This review is from: Macbeth [DVD] (DVD)
Welles lost Agnes Moorehead (he owed her money), had a very tight budget, had his soundtrack scrapped when the US studio objected to the brogues, in other words this was a typical Welles production post RKO. All the same, he gets at the dark heart of the play and the character by flashes of crude dark shadows and brilliant moments that are seldom touched in any production. His relatively crude face and heavy voice are actually well suited to MacBeth. The witches and magic, played for real, ground the film in the mud, which is where it belongs. Those who can only appreciate the more ethereal style of Shakespeare will be disappointed. This is the blood and guts.

The Tender, The Moving, The Swinging / Soft and Beautiful
The Tender, The Moving, The Swinging / Soft and Beautiful
Offered by dutchtoni
Price: £29.49

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Aretha AOR, 8 Mar 2006
Aretha was really a jazz performer in this period and great at it. Carmen McRae was a huge fan of this material. Columbia's only problem was it didn't make money. The Atlantic period was ethereal, but this period is miles ahead of anything Aretha has done since the disco period. At times she's Nina Simone with a huge vocal range. Why all her albums from this time (and no doubt some vault material) haven't surfaced must be due to some kind of legal action on her part, but I hope this is just the start of either a comprehensive UK or Japanese issue. The comps drawn from these LPs are lovely but inadequate. Paramount is a complete issue of the great jazz trio "Yeah" LP, tricked up to sound like a club date in front of a rude audience, revealed by a few cuts on the comps. Any Aretha fan curious about this era, this would be the ideal place to start.

Peter Cook and Dudley Moore - The Very Best of Goodbye Again [DVD] [2005]
Peter Cook and Dudley Moore - The Very Best of Goodbye Again [DVD] [2005]
Dvd ~ Peter Cook
Price: £4.70

38 of 39 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars ....But wonderful anyway, 8 Mar 2006
This collection is edited like a collage (slamming from black and white to color sequences, giving the endings no room to breathe) and the little snippet interviews are pointless and inane. There is nothing here that reaches the heights of half of "Not Only", almost nothing you'd hold up as their best work (maybe the Swedish interviewer, and Pete and Dud are always on game). A rudimentary Sherlock Holmes sketch was stretched into the rudimentary feature film. And yet, it's still mostly wonderful, with the usual high level of visuals on what was a television budget, and very sharp writing and characterizations. If this was the only Cook/Dudley material to be had, they'd be discussed as the equals of Monty Python, at least. So buy "Bedazzled" and "Not Only" first, but this is essential too. Hope there is more (how about a collection of the rest of the existing "Not Only" shown on the BBC as specials years ago and whatever was left off this - hell, or anything else they did).


5.0 out of 5 stars Fake Live but Splendid, 23 Feb 2006
This review is from: Yeah (Audio CD)
Though the recent reissues of Columbia material confirmed the suspicion that this was a faked live recording (with sounds of a rude audience clicking glasses and talking low even), it remains maybe the best Aretha Columbia LP, in a very jazz mode with a trio. She's very much Nina Simone with a greater vocal range here and could have had a career as a jazz singer that would have left her much poorer financially, but maybe never to wander into disco. Hint to the holders of the copywright - put this out with the fake background stripped as you did a couple of cuts on the comp. Til then drink this up. And hope there is more in the vaults like it.

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