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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Penetrating insight into a troubled soul
A candid, 'warts and all', biography review of a composer perpetually at war with his inner demons. In places, it may be too candid in dealing with Malcolm Arnold's many problems, yet frequent illustrations of his music, played by an orchestra well-acquainted with his symphonic repertoire, help to remind us of the genius secreted behind what seems to have been at times...
Published on 1 Jun 2009 by Mondoro

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10 of 13 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Marvevellous DVD but...
My disk came in NTSC format (North American) so I had to reconfigure my player to run it and then reset back to the European standard. This will have to be done every time I watch it. So best check if your player can do this and you know how to set it.

The film is splendid though some of director's views might raise eyebrows; still one can live with that. Less...
Published on 7 Feb 2008 by music lover


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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Penetrating insight into a troubled soul, 1 Jun 2009
By 
Mondoro (United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Toward the Unknown Region ; Malcolm Arnold - a story of survival. [2004] [DVD] (DVD)
A candid, 'warts and all', biography review of a composer perpetually at war with his inner demons. In places, it may be too candid in dealing with Malcolm Arnold's many problems, yet frequent illustrations of his music, played by an orchestra well-acquainted with his symphonic repertoire, help to remind us of the genius secreted behind what seems to have been at times an unattractive personality. His final redemption, helped by caring friends, is movingly told in the final section of this outstanding documentary.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Malcolm Arnold (Tony Palmer), 4 Sep 2011
This review is from: Toward the Unknown Region ; Malcolm Arnold - a story of survival. [2004] [DVD] (DVD)
To my mind this is one of Tony Palmer's best classical composer portraits to date. It is a well-balanced assessment of the life of Sir Malcolm Arnold from his early life and musical studies in his home town of Northampton, via his legendary prowess as a trumpet player with the London Philharmonic Orchestra (to which he was appointed Principal trumpet at the age of 21), his rise as a significant composer, and his years spent in Cornwall, to the dark years of his mental breakdown in Ireland, and his partial recovery under the supervision of his carer Anthony Day. Many of the people intimately involved with Arnold's life, including friends, family and fellow musicians are interviewed to provide an intimate portrait of a man of contradictions, and these are dovetailed into a rich selection of musical examples. Thus, we can see how the contradictions in the music (wistful melodies juxtaposed with anguished crescendos or breezy marches; tonal writing contrasting with serialism) refect those of his own life. There are also contradictions in the opinions of the various interviewees, especially about Arnold's standard of care at various stages when he proved incapable of looking after himself, and some of the revelations pull no punches. Naturally, most of those interviwed see Arnold's compositions as significant (although I'm not sure I would go quite as far as Richard Attenborough in putting him on the same pedestal as Vaughan Williams and Walton), but the story is also one of neglect by the establishment which, so it is suggested, contributed to Arnold's mental decline; yet the film does not shy away from laying at least part of the blame at his own door - especially his decline into alcoholism. Due attention is paid to the composer's film music, and the amazing speed at which he could compose it.

To sum up, Palmer has created a sensitive portrait of a man of amazing musical talent, both as a performer and composer, who suffered disintegration as a result of his own lack of discipline and the treatment he sometimes received from others, and a subsequent restoration under the care of Anthony Day. The viewer is invited into the composer's own tortured world - the scene in the mental hospital, for instance, is really quite harrowing - but also to form his or her own judgement about where the ultimate responsibility lies; each interviewee is free to tell his or her own story without prejudice. This is a fine film - easily a match for Palmer's portraits of Vaughan Williams and Holst - and although issued in 2004, remains compulsive viewing for anyone interested in English composers and their music.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars MALCOLM ARNOLD CRUCIFIXION AND RESURRECTION, 11 Nov 2008
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This review is from: Toward the Unknown Region ; Malcolm Arnold - a story of survival. [2004] [DVD] (DVD)
Toward the Unknown Region ; Malcolm Arnold - a story of survival. [2004]
Nothing wrong whatsoever with sound or vision in my copy. This wonderful documentary does tremendous credit to all involved in its production. Contains some enlightening historic clips and musical excerpts some of which are new to me. I originally watched this on the The South Bank Show presented by Melvyn Bragg in two episodes a few years ago and cursed myself that my recorder was malfunctioning at the time. Good fortune that it has been released on DVD. I won't spoil anyone's enjoyment and woe that I hope you will experience by detailing anything whatsoever. Simply to say that it includes his collaboration with Deep Purple, Benny Goodman ,and his work with brass bands and young people in addition to the music you might expect from Arnold. Maybe I am biased as he is the only composer I have ever met in person. Parts of it bring me to tears and some of the interviewees I find somewhat irritating but anyone with a heart and feeling for music and can appreciate the challenging life a composer who undergoes despise by the establishment will warm to this DON'T MISS DVD. My title I hope, will serve as an apt description of its contents
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Toward the unknown region, 11 July 2009
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This review is from: Toward the Unknown Region ; Malcolm Arnold - a story of survival. [2004] [DVD] (DVD)
Excellent study of the composer. However it does make uncomfortable watching if you are an "Arnold" devotee. All the more reason though to take a peek behind the surface of this truly gifted musician.
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10 of 13 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Marvevellous DVD but..., 7 Feb 2008
This review is from: Toward the Unknown Region ; Malcolm Arnold - a story of survival. [2004] [DVD] (DVD)
My disk came in NTSC format (North American) so I had to reconfigure my player to run it and then reset back to the European standard. This will have to be done every time I watch it. So best check if your player can do this and you know how to set it.

The film is splendid though some of director's views might raise eyebrows; still one can live with that. Less easy to live with is the way the music completely breaks up when above certain volumes (my player is a top-of the range Panasonic and I use headphones and its not happened before). Something to do with the NTSC? Maybe there is more tweaking to do with the settings... Curiously, the same fault was present on the C5 broadcast.

Despite its shortcomings, I still find a compelling magic about it.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, 7 Oct 2012
By 
Mr. J. Lazzerini "Jonathan" (Quimper, France) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Toward the Unknown Region ; Malcolm Arnold - a story of survival. [2004] [DVD] (DVD)
This is the best documentary about a composer that I have ever seen (amongst many). Very moving, sometimes funny, sometimes sad, with detailed insights and interviews. The musical excerpts, although presented in a seemingly random order, cover most of the spectrum of Arnold's compositions. Although the central theme running throughout is his decline into mental illness, this is not over-dramatised, and leads to a hopeful resolution.

Techically, the DVD quality is very good, with 16/9 image, good sound quality and lasts for a satisfying 2 hours and more.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, 31 July 2014
By 
David Orme "Fantasy Forever." (Sydney Australia.) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Toward the Unknown Region ; Malcolm Arnold - a story of survival. [2004] [DVD] (DVD)
More docos on film music composers would be terrific, keep up the great work.
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