Profile for JWBlatchley > Reviews

Personal Profile

Content by JWBlatchley
Top Reviewer Ranking: 720,131
Helpful Votes: 147

Learn more about Your Profile.

Reviews Written by
JWBlatchley "Julian Blatchley" (Aigina, Greece)

Page: 1
The Ferry Inn on Windermere
The Ferry Inn on Windermere
by Ian L. Muir
Edition: Paperback

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A well-presented bit of research, 9 May 2013
Thoroughly readable, and appears to be very well researched. I am from the area and have been researching it for my own writing: There is much information in this book which I already knew, and the accuracy of that information is a good indicator that that I can have confidence in that which I didn't. Mr. Muir has a clear style, very well supported by frequent and comprehensive quotations. He includes a useful number of illustrations; he clearly defines what is fact, what is assumed, and he makes his opinions distinct from his findings. This book is an excellent reference and local-interest work.

Tactics and the Experience of Battle in the Age of Napoleon
Tactics and the Experience of Battle in the Age of Napoleon
by Rory Muir
Edition: Paperback
Price: £13.48

4.0 out of 5 stars A useful addition to Napoleonic libraries, 7 Jan. 2012
I am always interested in looking behind the received wisdom in anything, and in my Napoleonic reading over the years I have noticed a lot of disparity between anecdotal records and many of the accepted tennets.

This book identifies several of these contradictions, and breaks a certain amount of new ground in discussing them... and many of the conclusions are apparently well reasoned.

Aside from the new research, the book is quite well structured and readable, and provides a coherent overview of its subjects. I would rate it as a fair balance which provides something for both a reader new to the subject and an old campaigner, although ardent Napoleonic readers probably won't be too surprised by some of the newer material.

It keeps it's place on my Napoleoonic shelf.

Maverick [DVD] [1994]
Maverick [DVD] [1994]
Dvd ~ Mel Gibson
Offered by zoverstocks
Price: £6.98

4 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Pure good fun., 7 Jan. 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Maverick [DVD] [1994] (DVD)
I rarely hear 'Maverick' talked about at all, and when I do it is generally liked, but no more; it seems to get a general rating of about 3.5-4. However, I tend to think of it as a minor classic.

It doesn't have a clear genre... it feeds off a series which many of it's viewers will be too young to remember; it is an adventure without superlative stunts, a western without bloodshed, and a subliminal 'who dunnit'. It has a bit of action, a bit of gritty period detail, and as a comedy it operates on several levels. Doesn't matter. A witty dialogue, some wonderful characters, a very catholic use of an amazing range of scenery and a twist in the tale make it a warm, witty and ultimately satisfying production.

There's nothing serious here... the film is a wise-cracking, light-hearted piece which lampoons gamblers, lawmen, gunfighters, Native Americans, settlers, European Aristocracy and even reaches forward a century to get a laugh out of Danny Glover's Lethal Weapon cameo. All the main actors do a splendid job, with Jodie Foster just pipping Mel Gibson and Alfred Molina turning in his usual captivating performance; and a very strong cast of supporting characters (amongst whom Graham Greene deserves particular metion) complete a rich performance.

Technically, the film seems to me to be very well paced, excellently written, and the cinematography is superior.

This is one I keep a copy of.

Elite 164: British Napoleonic Infantry Tactics (Elite)
Elite 164: British Napoleonic Infantry Tactics (Elite)
by Philip Haythornthwaite
Edition: Paperback
Price: £11.99

1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An excellent introduction, 25 July 2010
I was very pleased with this book... it gives a concise description of its subject with a surprising amount of detail for a relatively short work. The illustrations are generally very good, and I find it an excellent first point of reference.

Recommended for anyone who wants to grasp the basics of how the British army functioned after the reforms following the American War of Independence.

Volume One, Master and Commander / Post Captain / HMS Surprise (The Aubrey-Maturin Chronicles)
Volume One, Master and Commander / Post Captain / HMS Surprise (The Aubrey-Maturin Chronicles)
by Patrick O'Brian
Edition: Audio CD
Price: £19.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, with a tiny 'but'., 25 July 2010
This really is a wonderful reading... O'Brien's prose and Hardy's delivery is synergy. My only complaint was that I already know the books well, and this is an abridged version... I missed some of the little asides which fell under the editor's sword. Other than that, it is a five-star buy.

Jumping Ships: The Global Misadventures of a Cargo Ship Apprentice
Jumping Ships: The Global Misadventures of a Cargo Ship Apprentice
by David Baboulene
Edition: Paperback

7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I know... I was there!, 25 July 2010
This is a very entertaining book for anyone, but for a seaman who knew the traditional British Merchant Navy in the days of its swansong, it is also powerfully evocative.

'Jumping Ships' and its prequel, 'Ocean Boulevard', are pacy, witty, fun books which use some wonderful imagery to recreate a fascinating world which became extinct in the early `eighties. They both made me laugh out loud at times, and brought a lump to my throat at others.

As one who has not only read both books but was also there, I can both recommend them as a highly entertaining read and assure the doubter that they are a lot closer to the truth than many may believe!

You won't regret buying these books.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Mar 25, 2012 1:48 PM BST

The Shield Ring (Puffin Books)
The Shield Ring (Puffin Books)
by Rosemary Sutcliff
Edition: Paperback

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Inspiring!, 23 May 2009
This marvellous book was a key factor in stimulating me to an early and enduring interest in history. I read it at a very early age, and I still have the original copy, re-read who knows how many times and jealously guarded. Rosemary Sutcliff's childrens books were a wonderful body of work, but for me this was always the jewel in her crown.

Her telling of the lore of the last great Norse defence of the fells is a work of magic which I have recently re-read at the age of fifty and still found compelling... indeed, I had not forgotten the name of a single character. She does not condescend to the younger reader, rendering the brutalities of the time credibly and twisting the emotions as Jarl Buthar's people battle for survival; and yet she also extracts from the tale values of community, comradeship, determination and ultimately reconcilliation. I recall that I emerged from my first reading of it with a sense of history, identity, and above all a raging thirst for more historical matter.

These books were in every school library when I was young, and always heavily subscribed to. I wonder if that is still true???

I am delighted to see it still in print. I would recommend all her books for children, but to miss this one above all constitutes, I think, an incomplete education!

Romeo And Juliet [DVD] [1968]
Romeo And Juliet [DVD] [1968]
Dvd ~ Leonard Whiting
Offered by HarriBella.UK.Ltd
Price: £12.23

25 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Zeffirelli- The Bard's Ambassador, 6 Dec. 2006
Bravo Zeffirelli! A dramatic and visual spectacular which brings both Shakespeare's great tragedy and renaissance Italy to vibrant life. The Shakespeare buff should delight in this superbly crafted re-telling which, by it's intelligent presentation, fabulous costume, memorable music and inspired locations, should also ensnare and enchant the tyro audience.

There is much to praise here. The dramatic sense and interpretation is excellent. The casting is bold and imaginative, particularly in the probably quite daring selection of little-known and youthful leading players (Hussey and Whiting) who rise above their years and experience to give a rare and authentic sense of the impulsively destructive core theme of this tragedy; they are convincingly headlong lovers, blooming with youth and energy, superbly athletic, sexy, rash and naive. There is excellent support from a very competent cast, especially Michael York's proud and disdainfully quarrelsome Tybalt, and his counterpoise in John McEnery's passionate and dashing Mercutio. The settings are the finest that Italy can offer, the costume magnificent, the music can stand alone as entertainment in itself... in sum this is not just about Shakespeare's dialogue, it is also an audio-visual feast in its own right, a riot of colour and action. The duel between Mercutio and Tybalt is a masterpiece... manhood on display, cockscombs up, bella figura strutting a very public stage; gentlemanly sparring descending to an almost accidental fatal stroke. This is very credible public behaviour for proud young bucks trained to arms and lacking employment. Compare this, then, with the true, unbridled rage of the Tybalt/Romeo fight... Romeo transformed from arbitrator to enraged aggressor, Tybalt pushed to the brink by not only by his quarrel with the Montagu clan but also the knowledge of what he has done. Excellent interpretation, real fire.

If there are faults in this production, it would be churlish to give them much weight in view of the overall effect. The text and plot is somewhat contracted and simplified, but the integrity of the play remains intact and only the truly ascetic mind will object.

For me the lasting impression is of a timeless presentation of Shakespeare's great tragedy coupled with a persuasive portrayal of what life may have been like in the great Italian city-states; enlightened Renaissance art and culture veneered over lingering Medieval superstition and male egotism. Art and order with barely contained lust, violence and sudden death just below the surface, civilisation merely skin-deep. I hope to see it equalled; I do not expect to see it surpassed.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Sep 10, 2009 11:06 AM BST

Macbeth [DVD] [1971]
Macbeth [DVD] [1971]
Dvd ~ Jon Finch
Price: £4.49

98 of 101 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Shakespeare production for all time, 17 Feb. 2006
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Macbeth [DVD] [1971] (DVD)
When we think of screen Shakespeare, as in the theatre, we generally refer to the lead role... Brannagh's 'Henry V', or Gibson's 'Hamlet'. Despite the fact that I cannot think of an actor or actress in this production, from the King to the gate-keeper, who does not succeed admirably, yet this will always be Polanski's 'Macbeth'. The style and power of the direction are the dominant impression of this piece.
Brutally medieval in portrayal and attitude, this is a grim telling of a grim tale which captivated me entirely. At once theatrical, stunningly visual and historically believable, Polanski for me has not only done full justice to the language and drama of the work but has presented the rugged, uncertain, internecene way of life of the period so starkly that the devices of the play are seen in a truly medieval light... this production has been described as vicious, brutal, visceral... well, it is, but above all I find it credible. I think, to date, that I cannot identify a better screen production of a Shakespeare work.
If anyone still believes that The Bard does not translate to the modern age, this film should be prescribed!
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Apr 6, 2010 1:58 PM BST

Page: 1