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22 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Collision Course
"Tunes of Glory" tells the story of what happens when the proverbial irresistible force meets the immovable object. Alec Guinness in the persona of Major Jock Sinclair represents the former, and John Mills represents the latter in the role of Lt. Colonel Basil Barrow, who is sent to replace Sinclair as permanent Colonel of a Scottish battalion. Sinclair is a popular...
Published on 26 Feb 2010 by F. S. L'hoir

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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful Movie. 5 Stars Poor DVD. Zero Stars
This is a wonderful film with incredible performances. Alec Guinness is superb in his depiction of a bullying acting Colonel and John Mills is remarkable as the tortured superior officer. It is also great to see Dennis Price playing a part that only he could play. A true classic of British Cinema.

BUT... yes there is a fault with the mastering of this print...
Published on 27 Mar 2008 by nmollo


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22 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Collision Course, 26 Feb 2010
By 
F. S. L'hoir (Irvine, CA) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)    (VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Tunes of Glory [DVD] [1960] (DVD)
"Tunes of Glory" tells the story of what happens when the proverbial irresistible force meets the immovable object. Alec Guinness in the persona of Major Jock Sinclair represents the former, and John Mills represents the latter in the role of Lt. Colonel Basil Barrow, who is sent to replace Sinclair as permanent Colonel of a Scottish battalion. Sinclair is a popular former Pipe Major who has risen up through the ranks because of his heroism in the desert campaign of El Alamein in World War II. Barrow, whom Jock belittles, calling him "Barrow Boy", is the antithesis: a graduate of Eton and Oxford, he is descended from a long line of colonels who have themselves commanded the same battalion. Barrow has therefore inherited the "Idea" of the regiment, while Sinclair has grown up at its heart and has grafted himself onto what he considers its spirit.

I cannot recall two other actors who are so well matched in equality of strength. One gets the feeling that if anyone else had been cast in only one of the respective leading roles, either Guinness or Mills would have dominated that unfortunate actor. But these two giants are equipollent in ability. Furthermore, they have a history of acting together. Guinness was outstanding as Herbert Pocket (his first role) in Dickens' "Great Expectations" where he played alongside of John Mills, who portrayed Pip. In "Kind Hearts and Coronets," Guinness also worked with Dennis Price who, in "Tunes", plays Major Charles Scott, whose motives are as enigmatic as he is aristocratic. Jock never tires of addressing him mockingly as "Old Boy!" And although Charlie seems to tolerate Jock's japes good-naturedly to a point, when the tension between Jock Sinclair and Basil Barrow explodes, Charlie's motives become ambiguously opaque.

The excellent ensemble cast includes Kay Walsh as Jock's actress and "bit on the side"; Gordon Jackson as Captain Jimmy Cairns, the only man who really tries to understand the difficulties of both antagonists; and the incomparable Duncan Macrae as the sympathetic Pipe Major MacLean.

Ronald Neame's direction is superb, and the disc includes a fascinating interview with him about the making of the film and his warm relationship with the actors. The cinematography captures the essence (or what convinced me was the essence, since I have no personal knowledge thereof) of the officers' quarters: gothic elegance downstairs--the great fireplace and tall leaded windows; the paneled dining hall with its regimental silver; and Spartan rudiments upstairs in the sleeping quarters. The dour grey skies and the powdering of snow outside seem to exacerbate the tensions and jealousies inside that not even the fire crackling in the immense grate can dispel.

A star of the film is certainly the piping and the precision marching of the splendidly kilted highland pipers, who play all the tunes of glory that accompany the cinematic narrative. They fully epitomize the "Idea" of the Regiment.
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41 of 42 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliantly acted drama, 12 Aug 2007
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This review is from: Tunes of Glory [DVD] [1960] (DVD)
Trouble at Stirling Castle when new Regiment commander (John Mills) arrives to take command and clashes with Jock Sinclair (Alec Guiness) All superbly filmed and directed by Ronald Neame, incidentally no location filming at either Stirling or Edinburgh apart from an exterior shot of Stirling Castle briefly at the beginning and end of the film, otherwise all filmed at the backlot at Sheperton and very convincing it is too. The acting is nothing short of brilliant and the story gripping, modern filmakers please take note of how good script and performances are everything! The transfer to DVD is pretty good from existing material. There is a thin faint dark bar that appears for 8 minutes as has been mentioned in other reviews, I have heard this is damage to the original neg and difficult to put right, the film is nearly 50 years old so I am not going to let that small glitch detract from my enjoyment of the film.
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44 of 46 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars ... all the tunes of glory, 24 Aug 2004
By 
Pismotality (London, England) - See all my reviews
With unforgettable performances by Alec Guinness (who reckoned it one of his best) and John Mills, both playing against type, this film ought to be more widely known and revered today.
Superbly constructed, with an unforgettably painful and poignant climax as Guinness's character faces up to the enormity of what he has done, Tunes of Glory - as its director says in an accompanying interview - transcends its time.
What gives it its power is that the specifics of a particular culture (in a Scottish regiment) are made clear - so you are made to recognise what's at stake with each new development in the growing personality clash and power struggle between Guinness and Mills.
James Kennaway, who wrote the screenplay based on his own novel, knew that world, and Ronald Neame had him on hand to advise. Neame does his job in an unshowy but effective way, so you can focus, as he wished, on the acting, and there's a wonderful accompanying cast, too, with Dennis Price and Gordon Jackson especially notable. The final scene is beyond words.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A battle of two remarkable men, 23 Sep 2006
By 
Remus (United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
This film explores the relationship between acting commanding officer Major Jock Sinclair (Alec Guinness) and his replacement Colonel Barrow (John Mills) in a Scottish regiment battalion; not just in their personalities but also their background and the ideas they stand for. Jock Sinclair is the former pipe boy who has worked his way up from both the back streets and the ranks through distinguished service in Africa in the Second World War. He stands for tradition, looking people in the eye and speaking his mind. Colonel Barrow also stands for tradition, but in another sense. His grandfather and great grandfather had both been commanding officers of the battalion and Barrow desperately wants to succeed and surpass them. After a spell as a subaltern (lieutenant) straight from university, he left the battalion for war service apparently not at the front line, although he ended up in a prisoner of war camp nonetheless. He sees his role as being to improve the battalion's professionalism and to introduce conduct and custom more befitting an army in peacetime, often coming into conflict with Jock's 'tradition' in the process.

Both characters are flawed, and obviously so - Jock with his drinking and bullying and Barrow with his insecurity. But as the film goes on the flaws and virtues of the two become blurred, Barrow controls his insecurity well, but then appears as much a bully as Jock, and Jock shows weaknesses which he is less able to control. Whilst much of the film is more sympathetic to Jock, by the end it is less clear who has the better qualities as both sink towards breakdown.

The film is gripping because the two main characters are so richly developed and so extraordinarily well acted. John Mills won an award for his performance and deservedly so, but it is Alec Guinness who stands out in my opinion. In fact, the first time I saw this film, I hadn't realised it was Alec Guinness acting until the end credits! Many of the lesser characters also have well developed personalities and are played by a fine supporting cast, although I am not sure Dennis Price gives the full range of character that the rather enigmatic Major Scott requires.

Although the film is set almost entirely inside the barracks there is no feeling of claustrophobia. Much of the action takes place outside in the cold and snow accompanied by a soundtrack of shouted orders, marching and of course the music of pipes and drums.

The Criterion DVD is of very high quality - a mildly intrusive vertical bar which apparently could not be removed appears for eight minutes but otherwise the picture is perfect. The interview with director Ronald Neame is particularly illuminating and he describes Tunes of Glory as the film he is most proud of having made.

The DVD is All Region encoded, not just Region 1, so buyers in the UK with digital screens should have no hesitation in purchasing it. However it is probably in NTSC format which might not play correctly on analogue PAL televisions.
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25 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars ... all the tunes of glory, 27 July 2007
By 
Pismotality (London, England) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Tunes of Glory [DVD] [1960] (DVD)
With unforgettable performances by Alec Guinness (who reckoned it one of his best) and John Mills, both playing against type, this film ought to be more widely known and revered today. Its issue on DVD in the UK (an American version has been available for several years) is, I hope, a step in that direction. There are some technical blemishes visible in the Region 1 edition on which my review is based, so I presume both versions were taken from the same source. It doesn't greatly mar viewing, in my opinion.

Superbly constructed, with an unforgettably painful and poignant climax as Guinness's character faces up to the enormity of what he has done, Tunes of Glory - as its director says in an accompanying interview (also in the UK edition? - transcends its time.

What gives it its power is that the specifics of a particular culture (in a Scottish regiment) are made clear - so you are made to recognise what's at stake with each new development in the growing personality clash and power struggle between Guinness and Mills.

James Kennaway, who wrote the screenplay based on his own novel, knew that world, and Ronald Neame had him on hand to advise. Neame does his job in an unshowy but effective way, so you can focus, as he wished, on the acting, and there's a wonderful accompanying cast, too, with Dennis Price and Gordon Jackson especially notable. The final scene is beyond words.
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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful Movie. 5 Stars Poor DVD. Zero Stars, 27 Mar 2008
By 
nmollo (London) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Tunes of Glory [DVD] [1960] (DVD)
This is a wonderful film with incredible performances. Alec Guinness is superb in his depiction of a bullying acting Colonel and John Mills is remarkable as the tortured superior officer. It is also great to see Dennis Price playing a part that only he could play. A true classic of British Cinema.

BUT... yes there is a fault with the mastering of this print. Yes, there is a black Vertical line that appears on the right hand side of the screen for the last reel of the movie. Why?

I was also shocked at how poorly the sound has been mastered. The soundtrack is from 1960 so it should be top quality. This version is muffled and incoherent at times. Why?

A film like this is a treasure and should have been presented on DVD with a little more care because these errors have nothing at all to do with the film itself.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Sound quality?, 25 Jan 2011
By 
Coolman (Toronto, Canada) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Tunes of Glory [1960] [DVD] (DVD)
I saw this movie years ago and wanted to buy it from AmazonUK (the Criterion issue is beyond my budget) I can live with the black line, but not with bad sound.Did everyone notice the bad sound and is it bearable?
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars My favourite film, 5 Nov 2006
By 
Gina (Derbyshire, UK) - See all my reviews
This is a brilliant film; one of the best of all time as it has everything: love, anger, betrayal, friendship, sacrifice and so the list goes on. I just wish they would produce a Region 2 version so I wouldn't have to wait for the infrequent times it's shown on television.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Collision Course, 26 July 2008
By 
F. S. L'hoir (Irvine, CA) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)    (VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
"Tunes of Glory" tells the story of what happens when the proverbial irresistible force meets the immovable object. Alec Guinness in the persona of Major Jock Sinclair represents the former, and John Mills represents the latter in role of Lt. Colonel Basil Barrow, who is sent to replace Sinclair as permanent Colonel of a Scottish battalion. Sinclair is a popular former Pipe Major who has risen up through the ranks because of his heroism in the desert campaign of El Alamein in World War II. Barrow, whom Jock belittles, calling him "Barrow Boy", is the antithesis: a graduate of Eton and Oxford, he is descended from a long line of colonels who have themselves commanded the same battalion. Barrow has therefore inherited the "Idea" of the regiment, while Sinclair has grown up at its heart and has grafted himself onto what he considers its spirit.

I cannot recall two other actors who are so well matched in equality of strength. One gets the feeling that if any other actor had been cast in only one of the respective leading roles, either Guinness or Mills would have dominated that unfortunate actor. But these two giants are equipollent in ability. Furthermore, they have a history of acting together. Guinness was outstanding as Herbert Pocket (his first role) in Dickens' "Great Expectations" where he played alongside of John Mills, who portrayed Pip. In "Kind Hearts and Coronets" Guinness also worked with Dennis Price who, in "Tunes", plays Major Charles Scott, whose motives are as enigmatic as he is aristocratic. Jock never tires of addressing him mockingly as "Old Boy!" And although Charlie seems to tolerate Jock's japes good-naturedly to a point, when the tension between Jock Sinclair and Basil Barrow explodes, Charlie's motives become ambiguously opaque.

The excellent ensemble cast includes Kay Walsh as Jock's actress and "bit on the side"; Gordon Jackson as Captain Jimmy Cairns, the only man who really tries to understand the difficulties of both antagonists; and the incomparable Duncan Macrae as the sympathetic Pipe Major MacLean.

Ronald Neame's direction is superb, and the disc includes a fascinating interview with him about the making of the film and his warm relationship with the actors. The cinematography captures the essence (or what convinced me was the essence, since I have no personal knowledge thereof) of the officers' quarters: gothic elegance downstairs--the great fireplace and tall leaded windows; the paneled dining hall with its regimental silver; and Spartan rudiments upstairs in the sleeping quarters. The dour grey skies and the powdering of snow outside seem to exacerbate the tensions and jealousies inside that not even the fire crackling in the immense grate can dispel.

A star of the film is certainly the piping and the precision marching of the splendidly kilted highland pipers, who pipe all the tunes of glory that accompany the cinematic narrative, and fully epitomize the "Idea" of the Regiment.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Don't watch this DVD....., 21 Aug 2007
By 
Stephen B. Peddie (Surrey, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Tunes of Glory [DVD] [1960] (DVD)
I'm sorry that the enjoyment of this film was lessened for one reviewer by an apparent reproduction flaw on his copy, however I happily report that either mine was fault free or I entirely failed to notice it, engrossed as I was in what must be comfortably one of the handful of `best' British films ever made. Other reviewers seem to know a damn sight more about the technical background of this film than I do, so I shall restrict myself to the 'enjoyment' factor and thus whether you should invest your hard earned money in a copy. In that regard you should be aware that Tunes is an intensely bleak observation on the nature of human weaknesses: vanity, pride and jealousy in particular and the ultimately destructive consequences to the principal protagonists and those around them. Sounds a bit grim as a subject for entertainment, but then Macbeth still enjoys a fair degree of popularity. Yes Mills and Guinness are superb actors delivering utterly believable characters, each soliciting alternating feelings of frustration and annoyance with their perplexing, petulant and unbecoming behaviour. Thus is the measure of this film: its excellence cannot be measured by critical observation; it isn't the screenplay or the cinematography that makes this film a great film. No its greatness is that it isn't like a film at all - it's much more like being there. Don't watch this DVD: experience it.
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Tunes of Glory [1960] [DVD]
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