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11 Reviews
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A very moving and polemical film
I saw Tony Palmer present this film at the Chichester Film Festival, and he talked about it for about twenty minutes. He started with a warning, saying that if the audience was expecting a feel-good biography of a great English composer, the composer of the The Young Person's Guide To The Orchestra, then this would not be the film they were expecting. He said that when he...
Published 15 months ago by Le Feu Follet

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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Good in parts
This is a confusing film and I feel Tony Palmer has not been sure what he is trying to achieve with it. Those who have seen his previous Britten films will recognise much of the content ( even the comment from BB's housekeeper about his food preferences is here). The new content from various musicians seems grafted on and a bit out of place - worth hearing I suppose, but...
Published 18 months ago by M. Morrison


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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A very moving and polemical film, 11 Sep 2013
By 
This review is from: Britten Nocturne [DVD] [NTSC] (DVD)
I saw Tony Palmer present this film at the Chichester Film Festival, and he talked about it for about twenty minutes. He started with a warning, saying that if the audience was expecting a feel-good biography of a great English composer, the composer of the The Young Person's Guide To The Orchestra, then this would not be the film they were expecting. He said that when he was asked recently by Peter Pears' niece (I think) whether he was thinking of making a film for Britten's upcoming centenary he answered no, because he had already made four films related to Britten. She replied that that was a shame because she thought that Palmer probably knew more about Britten than anyone else. He went away and looked at the material he had and suddenly he was dumbstruck: he hadn't seen what now seemed to him the most central aspect of Britten - his strong feeling of contempt for the folly of humanity, particularly for the folly of war. With this perception Palmer made this film. It is an impassioned anti-war polemic and possibly Palmer's most bold and moving film. He has been invited to the White House to show the film to the Obamas.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Good in parts, 14 Jun 2013
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M. Morrison (Scottish Borders) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Britten Nocturne [DVD] [NTSC] (DVD)
This is a confusing film and I feel Tony Palmer has not been sure what he is trying to achieve with it. Those who have seen his previous Britten films will recognise much of the content ( even the comment from BB's housekeeper about his food preferences is here). The new content from various musicians seems grafted on and a bit out of place - worth hearing I suppose, but it is mostly just faces speaking to camera. BB enthusiasts will find this interesting, but again, little is said that we don't know already. There are multiple images of concentration camp victims - horrific images - and they dominate sections of the DVD. The end piece showing the debate in the House of Commons prior to the invasion of Iraq is messy, and do we need to hear Tony Blair's voice in a film about Benamin Britten? I think not. And so, a confused piece of work, and one that ultimately fails in its purpose. If you have seen Palmer's previous films about Britten, you will probably want to see this one too; if you haven't, buy those instead. Better still, buy one of the excellent books about BB's life and listen to his music.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Nocturne, 4 Nov 2013
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This review is from: Britten Nocturne [DVD] [NTSC] (DVD)
As a lifelong Britten fan I love anything that explains him and his music, and Tony Palmer does this so well.

My only criticism of this film is that there is too much exposure of the horrors of the concentration camps when illustrating the War Requiem and the Nocturne. I know people who would instantly switch off because they cannot bear to see such things, and as this footage is used at the very beginning of the film, they could easily not watch the rest of it, which is excellent.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Nocturne One of the dark sides Benjamin Britten by Tony Palmer, 28 May 2013
This review is from: Britten Nocturne [DVD] [NTSC] (DVD)
Everyone who knew him was aware that Benjamin Britten had a very "dark" side to his complex and creative character. In this DVD Nocturne the brilliant documentary maker Tony Palmer has addressed the pacifist elements of Britten's difficult personality with an unfettered force. This powerful and courageous documentary pulls no punches and will stand the test of time. This should be seen by all lovers of Britten's music and lovers of peace.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Here we go again...., 14 Dec 2013
By 
tiptopthai (Kettering, England) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Britten Nocturne [DVD] [NTSC] (DVD)
I think Tony Palmer has lost the plot. Here we have yet another documentary with Palmer using the same images that he used from his Vaughan Williams film onwards; fitting music to images of death and destruction. This film says more about Palmer's view of the world than Britten's.
Palmer's earlier documentary, A time there was, concentrates on Britten and is highly recommended, as are the Bridcut documentaries Britten's Children and Britten's Endgame.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Profound darkness and little light, 15 July 2013
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This review is from: Britten Nocturne [DVD] [NTSC] (DVD)
The title of this documentary says it all. Night...darkness...A profoundly disturbing but nevertheless very valid and absorbing documentary. There were new insights, even for lovers of his music (if not of the man) and Tony Palmer has found yet more to add to his seemingly inexhaustible source of Britten material. But one does not come away feeling in any way that this has been a comfortable viewing experience.
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars HEAVILY EDITED FRM OTHER DVDS, 4 July 2013
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This review is from: Britten Nocturne [DVD] [NTSC] (DVD)
THIS DVD HAS NEW INTERVIEWS AND FOOTING MAINLY ON WAR.BUT BASICLY THE DVD IS A POT POURRI OF PREVIOUS DVDS BY TONY PALMER
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6 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Parental Advisory, 9 Jun 2013
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D. Miller (San Francisco, CA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Britten Nocturne [DVD] [NTSC] (DVD)
Any parent who buys this disc hoping it will be a centenary film about the nice man who wrote "Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra" and most of the music included in "Moonrise Kingdom" should know that the first half hour is an extremely bloody and gorey indictment of war. With that in mind, parents of young children, please be advised that this film is not for all ages. Otherwise, it is a fine film.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant Britten, 11 Aug 2013
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H. J. Kendrick "Hilly" (Norfolk,United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Britten Nocturne [DVD] [NTSC] (DVD)
Being a hard and fast admirer of Britten this was a joy to watch. Beautifully portrayed here and well produced as I expected it would be.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great palmer film, 28 Jun 2014
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Raymond Ovens (Broadstairs Kent UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Britten Nocturne [DVD] [NTSC] (DVD)
Fascinating and the usual Tony Palmer masterpiece. Not to be missed.
A must for any music lover and Britten fan
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Britten Nocturne [DVD] [NTSC]
Britten Nocturne [DVD] [NTSC] by Tony Palmer (DVD - 2013)
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