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This review is from: The Strange World of Gurney Slade [DVD] (DVD)
Classic Telly, eh? Trouble with most British black and white shows is that they're on grainy films taken from the old 405 line system. Not Gurney Slade, though. For some strange reason they shot the whole thing on 35mm, even the trailers. Lew Grade must have been feeling especially generous. Either that or he was too busy counting his earnings to notice somebody spending a bit more of them than usual. Anyway, it means the show looks nice and sharp. I hear Network even made the DVDs from brand new prints. Pity about the crackly optical sound, but I suppose you can't have everything.
OK, so it looks good. What about the show? Is it really as funny as it thinks it is? Personally I found myself chuckling wryly rather than shaking with laughter, but on the whole I think it holds up pretty well. Some people have compared it to The Prisoner and Monty Python, but I think there's a lot of stuff here that wouldn't look out of place on The Twilight Zone. Especially the stuff about talking to animals and inanimate objects, the episode where Gurney finds lots of squatters inside his brain, and the end of the last episode, where Gurney realises what a dummy he's been.
The show obviously didn't catch on at the time, and the writers must have known it wasn't to everyone's taste when they wrote the episode where Gurney is put on trial for his life for allegedly not being funny. Ironically, that episode has one of the most genuinely funny endings in the entire series.
On the whole Network have done the series proud. The cover is nicely quirky, especially the back cover where almost everything except the barcode is printed backwards. (The ATV logo fooled 'em, though - that looks the same either way round). Inside, there's a nicely informative booklet about the making of the series and its critical (lack of) reception. The disc navigation is also eccentric, but it's not that hard to figure out - after all, there are only three menu options. The menu is even accompanied by a snatch of the theme tune, which is something Network don't always do. I would have liked the single version of Max Harris's theme tune to have been included as an extra, but once again you can't have everything. What you do get is a selection of trailers, which are every bit as weird as the series itself, and some slightly scratched publicity photos from the series (complete with a photo of the photo album!) and of Newley.
So, kudos to Network for rescuing yet another forgotten gem from the vaults, and long may they continue. Now if you'll excuse me, I think that lamppost wants a word with me.
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Initial post: 10 Nov 2011 14:35:46 GMT
Jamie Stoner says:
Actually, the ATV logo didn't fool 'em. If you look closely the 'V' is different on the right-reading and the mirror image.
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