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4.4 out of 5 stars
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on 7 August 2017
good product and service
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on 21 March 2017
The best thing I've seen Matt Smith do. Isherwood is one of my favourite writers and it was great seeing him brought to life on screen. Great drama and comedy.
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on 26 April 2015
Very good
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on 18 May 2017
Arrived promptly after placing order, Very Satisfactory. Thanks.
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on 28 August 2011
How disappointing , this is not the full film which was shown on bbc2 this year . I guess so it could get a 15 certificate . The sexy controversial bits at the begining have been cut out so it makes it all rather tame and more Brideshead than it actually was . What a let down . Still i suppose if you havent seen it before then it can be a light entertainment .
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TOP 50 REVIEWERon 5 October 2015
It is difficult for actors to play real people, especially those as subtle as Christopher Isherwood, and this made-for-TV film doesn't really get the feel of his generous, freewheeling spirit as comes across in the book, nor the far-reaching insight into those around him that seems to see further than most other writers. He really gets under the surface, where this film by Geoffrey Sax stays more or less on it. It does contain enjoyable character sketches, though, and Kevin Elyot's script glances around with an intelligence of its own. The first hour is the best, getting the sexual hedonism of Berlin, Isherwood's friendship with Auden, his encounters with different young men both genuinely "of his kind" and those merely doing it for the money. This part is lively, sexually daring, especially for television, and well put together. Matt Smith is excellent, if perhaps a bit too good-looking for Isherwood, and not quite convincing you he is a great writer. Isherwood's presence in the book is far more chameleon-like and hard to pin down; certainly you don't get the impression he had the kind of public-school persona that comes across here. His friendship with Jean Ross adds colour and headdresses, and provides an excuse for musical numbers. Interiors are well shot with much period detail, but look lit for TV, and the street scenes showing the growing Nazi presence lack a sense of real life. Aside from Smith there is extreme handsomeness in his lover Heinz, and an earlier fling who became a brownshirt. This seems fitting ... However the best Isherwood adaptation remains A Single Man, in my view, even though it does not stick very closely to the original. This one also deviates, apparently, but it seems more intent on joining up the dots even so. It is better to admit that you cannot transcribe a book of this depth for the screen, and to create some parallel to it that works above all in screen terms. This doesn't quite happen here, but it is worth seeing for a sexual frankness denied by censorship in Cabaret and I Am A Camera, and that has something of Bent, although it is not that good. I did regret the slightly sour turn of events the film gave as a postscript to his friendship with Heinz, and don't remember it being like this in Isherwood's own account - their involvement seemed to be far more sustained after their initial contact, suggesting a steadfastness that the film seems to deny.
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VINE VOICEon 2 April 2011
There is one aspect of Christopher And His Kind which none of the Amazon customer reviews has touched on, namely its relationship to the book of memoirs on which it's supposedly based. I first read the book some thirty years ago having purchased the paperback after reading some enthusiastic reviews, although my only experience of Isherwood until then was having viewed the movie versions of I Am A Camera and Cabaret. I'd forgotten just about everything in the book but after watching this BBC production, and having on the whole enjoyed it, I decided to dust down my yellowed paperback and read it once again. This TV production covers roughly the first half of the book, the Berlin years, and the first thing to strike me was the amount of compression that is perhaps inevitable when you're constrained by a 90 minute time slot. I couldn't help feeling that the Berlin years and some of the events immediately thereafter would easily have filled three one hour episodes with no loss of interest. The second thing to strike me was that this production was not particularly truthful to the events described in the book, the script writer embroidering Isherwood's reminiscences with the author's fictionalised version of events and characters from his Berlin novels. Jean Ross, for example, the inspiration for the exhuberant Sally Bowles, is quite a minor character in the book and there is no indication that she was a cabaret singer or anything resembling Liza Minnelli, rather she comes across as a sort of leftist free spirit. Sally Bowles is essentially a literary and cinematic creation and it's Sally Bowles rather than Jean Ross that you get in this BBC production. There are frequent tweaking of characters and events. Heinz, serious boyfriend number three, is first spotted by Isherwood sweeping the streets although this is not mentioned in the book. And Heinz is described in the book as having no close family but is portrayed in this film as living with a tubercular mother and a pro-Nazi brother. It was in fact boyfriend number two, Otto, who had the tubercular mum but neither Otto nor serious boyfriend number one, Bubi, appear in the film, being replaced by an invented boyfriend called Caspar. Isherwood later bumps into Caspar dressed as a Brownshirt ejecting customers from a Jewish-owned department store although in the book Isherwood merely says that it was one of the former rentboys from the gay bars. In the book, Isherwood doesn't meet Gerald Hamilton for the first time on a train, an event clearly borrowed from the novel Mr Norris Changes Trains in which Isherwood transformed Hamilton into Arthur Norris and there is no indication in the book that Hamilton was into sado-masochism. There are many other omissions, deviations and borrowings. The film, in truth, is a rather sly mix of fact and Isherwood's fiction loosely based on fact, but I realise that entertainment values are always a prime consideration in TV productions of this kind and a Jean Ross who resembles the fictional and cinematic Sally Bowles is probably what audiences want to see, and an ex-boyfriend who morphs into a Brownshirt and a Gerald Hamilton who enjoys a good flogging from a rentboy are more likely to keep your interest from flagging.

On the debit side, the film's evocation of early 1930s Berlin is not particularly convincing. I understand that many scenes were shot in Ireland, perhaps a tight budget precluded shooting in eastern European locations. And when Isherwood visits his old Berlin haunts twenty years later no one seems to have aged much (just sticking a moustache on Heinz to transform him from 17 to 37 won't do.) Matt Smith does a passable job as the young Isherwood and the supporting cast is top notch. I particularly liked Lindsay Duncan as Isherwood's snobby mum, clearly aware that she is a stultifying influence on her sons but blithely ploughing on regardless (in the book she's depicted rather more sympathetically); and Toby Jones is wonderfully seedy as the rather shifty Gerald Hamilton, although in the book Hamilton comes across as a far more complex character, a wheeler-dealer with a fascinating history who manages to diddle Isherwood out of the then enormous sum of £1000.

Despite the film's dodgy adherence to the events related in Isherwood's book I felt it was quite successful in preserving the spirit of his Berlin years and I enjoyed it as a piece of entertainment. I only regret that the filmmakers weren't more ambitious with this project and that the producton values weren't a tad higher.
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VINE VOICEon 3 April 2011
Christopher Isherwood apparently knew what he was doing when he destroyed his Berlin diaries and published his Berlin Stories instead. They later on turned into the play I Am a Camera and, ultimately, Cabaret. He returned to his real adventures in the 1970s but the book seems addressed rather to those who can't get enough of his fiction and are begging for more than the general public. Which does not mean it is a bad book, quite on the contrary, Isherwood was far too good a writer to do any such thing as to publish a bad book.
Christopher and His Kind is nothing more than a footnote to Cabaret addressed to those who want more of the same thing. Unfortunately, they are bound to be disappointed. This is a typical biopic in which Ireland pretends to be Berlin in the early 1930s, acting is so so, and the plot rather disappointing and bland. The movie chooses the early part of Isherwood's memoir and one can hardly wonder why - the costs. Isherwood's attempts at saving his Heinz took him to the Netherlands, Sweden and Portugal. It would probably be quite difficult to get it all in Ireland at a reasonable price so all we get is Berlin, mostly interiors. When Auden informs Isherwood that he decided to show him a gay club instead of the Brandenburg Gate, you get a fair warning, you won't see the Gate in this movie. You won't see too much of gay life either. As a result there is little drama here and not much of a plot - when the things get real rough we don't get to see them only to be informed of what happened in a rather short scene.
The movie can be quite touching at times but it fails to convince in the longer run. We can neither learn of the drama of Isherwood's life (just a glimps of his life-long conflict with his widowed mother) nor why he actually became a famous writer (not due to sleeping with Berlin boys which is presented in a rather unconvincing manner). In short - if you're interested in Isherwood, get the book and read it, you won't regret it. As for the movie - don't rush buying it. It can wait for a rerun.
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on 15 April 2011
In a space of just two years Matt Smith has gone from an upcoming (but still largely unknown) young actor to one of Britain's hottest commodities, thanks in no small part to a certain time travelling hero watched by millions of viewers per week. Now he's been given an opportunity to stretch his acting muscles by taking on a very different role and it's well worth the payoff.

Based on the exploits of real life author Christopher Isherwood, "Christopher And His Kind" looks at the bohemian adventures he undertook during his stay in 1930's Nazi Germany. As a young gay man, Isherwood took full advantage of Berlin's underground nightlife and culture and along the way met a number of people who would become the inspiration for many of his future novels.

This TV movie benefits from a solid script adapted by Kevin Elyot, strong direction from Geoffrey Sax and first rate performances from a talented ensemble of actors. Matt Smith heads the cast and shows what a impressive range he has as an actor. He paints Isherwood as a man longing to find himself and desperate to get away from the confines of a restrictive home life in England. He's not perfect by any means, but he's young and looking for love, fun and adventure. Toby Jones provides an air of oily charm to the role of Gerald Hamilton whom Isherwood befriends on his fateful trip to Germany (who was the basis for Isherwood's novel "Mr Norris Changes Trains").

Lindsay Duncan is a marvel as Isherwood's icy, critical yet clinging mother Kathleen - a woman who is hard to please and yet can't bear to her son go and be his own man. A true product of a repressive upper class English background, something Isherwood himself fought against. Douglas Booth gives a great air of sympathy to his role as Isherwood's German lover Heinz Neddermayer. In many ways, he is the stories biggest loser as he doesn't quite get the happy ending you hope he does. However Imogen Poots is perhaps the standout performer in the supporting cast as the larger than life Jean Ross (whose is the basis for Liza Minnelli's Oscar winning turn in "Cabaret"). Confident, bold yet vulnerable and fragile, she and Smith have great chemistry together onscreen and their scenes really shine.

The story moves swiftly as Europe braces itself for WWII and the rising racial tension in Germany which Isherwood witnesses first hand and is understandably shocked and appalled at. This all provides the backdrop for the characters and the circumstances they find themselves in. Touching, smart, at times both hilarious and sad, "Christopher And His Kind" proves that the BBC still has what it takes to make intelligent, entertaining drama that's worth watching.
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on 17 October 2014
After having seen Mat Smith as Dr Who I can't say I cared much for his characterization in the series, seeing him as Isherwood in this film has changed my mind about the actor he is perfectly cast as Christopher Isherwood, I guess it's getting the right man for the part, as Dr Who I don't think so but in this film he brings a realty of those times to the screen that would be as they 'a hard act to follow. I 'll watch this film many times in the future, one niggling observation which to many would seem trivial if anyone picked up it all was during the 1931 - 33 segment of the film was hearing Harry James and his Orchestra playing You Made Me Love You this was a million seller for James in 1942! hardly appropriate for the early '30's. I found the coming to power of the nazi party sequences very chilling and horribly realistic, a gastly reminder of times now consigned to history, enough siad.Overall I enjoyed the movie, an interesting take on how a well to do gay man was able to travel and experience life in the cities of europe where being gay was far more accepted, untill the nazi's came to power, it also meant escaping the horrifying constraints of England and it's laws of the time.
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