- Actors: Alexandra Pigg, Margi Clarke, Peter Firth, Alfred Molina
- Directors: Chris Bernard
- Format: PAL, Full Screen, Colour, Dolby
- Language: English
- Subtitles: English
- Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9 - 1.78:1
- Number of discs: 1
- Studio: C'est La Vie
- DVD Release Date: 30 Aug. 2004
- Run Time: 91 minutes
- Average Customer Review: 42 customer reviews
- ASIN: B0000AZVIJ
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 7,757 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)
Letter To Brezhnev 
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Peter Firth, Alfred Molina, Alexandra Pigg, Margi Clarke Liverpool docklands; factories, pubs, clubs, sex and dreams. A heady combination of humour, pathos and desperation. Two Liverpool lasses, Teresa (Margi Clarke) and Elaine (Alexandra Pigg) meet two Russian Sailors, Sergei (Alfred Molina) and Peter (Peter Firth), and hook up for a night of fun and frolics. Teresa is looking for sex and a smile, Elaine wants more, love, romance and the dream of life far away from the grime of 80's Liverpool. Elaine finds the love she craves in Peter, but he has to return to Russia. No one wants their love to survive so she writes a letter to Soviet leader Brezhnev and he writes back. The chance of a lifetime or a lifetime chance in a Russian society no better than Liverpool? One of the all time great British movies, a superb script by Frank Clarke and stunning performances from all the cast make this a film to treasure. Special Features Chapter/Scene Selection Interactive Menu Star Biographies Trailer
From the Back Cover
Liverpool docklands: factories, pubs, clubs, sex and dreams. A heady combination of humour, pathos and desperation. Two Liverpool lasses, Teresa (Margi Clarke) and Elaine (Alexandra Pigg) meet two Russian sailors, Sergei (Alfred Molina) and Peter (Peter Firth) and hook up for a night of fun and frolics. Teresa is looking for sex and a smile, Elaine wants more, love, romance and the dream of life far away from the grime of 80s Liverpool. Elaine finds the love she craves in Peter, but he has to return to Russia. No-one wants their love to survive so she writes to Soviet leader Brezhnev and he writes back.
The chance of a lifetime or a lifetime of chance in a Russian society no better than Liverpool? One of the all-time great British movies, a superb script from Frank Clarke and stunning performances from all the cast make this a film to treasure.
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The film revolves around Elaine (under-played at times by Alexandra Pigg) as an unemployed girl who meets up with her good time girl friend Teresa (brilliantly over-played Margi Clarke) who works in a chicken factory in Kirkby on the outskirts of Liverpool. Out for a good night out they stumble across a couple of russian sailors (Peter, played by Peter Firth, and Sergei, played by Alfred Molina) who are docked for the night. The story then follows their antics during the next few hours and then after the sailors have left port.
I love this film! It is a snapshot af a different era. Liverpool is seen in all its glory, though not through rose-tinted glasses. We see some of the wonderful sights as well as the seedy backstreets of the city. The cinematography is brilliant and the use of lighting and effects really enhances the film.
The story is a good old-fashioned love story with a decent dash of comedy thrown in for good measure. There ae some classic one-liners thrown in that had me chuckling away - "Go knit yourself an iron curtain", "Kiss the face of him"...so many, mostly delivered with brash style by Margi Clarke. Some of the language is, shall I say, 'colourful. However, it fits well with the characters and, if their expletive-ridden dialogue hadn't been included the film wouldn't hae worked. This is how people spoke; it was very real.
With this new release we are given a totally remastered edition of the film in both Blu-Ray and DVD format. We watched it in Blu-Ray format and both the picture and sound were excellent - the sound in 5.1 worked particularly well at times. The extras are good - a couple of interviews with the stars, audio commentaries a 'making of' featurette and a collection of photos from those who worked on the film. Also included is a booklet featuring essays and letters relating to the film which make for interesting reading.
This film brought back myriad of memories from the heady days of the 1980s - I would heartily recommend this film for a good bit of entertainment.
Don't expect too much nuance from "A Letter to Brezhnev". Everything seems to be expressed in stereotypes, and there are no winners; the Soviet Union is definitely the Evil Empire, but, on the other hand, so is England, especially Liverpool, under Thatcherism. There's nothing to choose between the repressiveness of one and the unemployment and poverty of the other; and, if there was an irritant here, it was the fact that the film was a bit messagey. For example, it would have been suitable for the Foreign Office interviewer to be a bit of a creep - but he was arguably too much of a creep, and one yearned for just a bit of subtlety.
The casting was good. If I had to pick out one member of the cast, it would be Alexandra Pigg as the dream-ridden Elaine, whose life seems to enfold the reverie of any not-very-exceptional working-class girl; Margi Clarke as her mate Teresa was exactly what you'd ask of Margi Clarke, Peter Firth as Elaine's Russian sailor traded a bit in sentimentality, and Alfred Molina as Teresa's was just that tiny bit too bearish. Supporting cast was wonderful.
A special note on the soundtrack. Yes, the accents certainly were authentic (I don't know Liverpool all that well, but the speech was certainly what you'd hear), and what might come across as the coarseness seemed absolutely fitting; it may seem an odd thing to say, but there are times when subtitles in standard English might have helped - notably the opening dialogue between Elaine and Tracey, where the unfamiliarity (at that point) of the Scouse speech conflicted with the traffic noise. At other times, you work your way into it, but I still had the feeling that some of the funniest lines (of which there were many) were opaque to me. The problem was much like that of Barney Platts-Mills' "Bronco Bullfrog" about a decade earlier - sound recording on the cheap and heavy accents, in that case East London - and the director did well to opt for sub-titles there. They might have worked here too.
The cinematography is pretty good for a low-budget feature, and the setting perfect (as you'd expect - Liverpool playing Liverpool); the battered city still has its beauties, most not missed, all of them recognizable (the Pier Head; Hope Street; the Royal Liver Building). I especially liked the vista of Birkenhead's skyline as Moscow; in fact, the ferry journey probably contained the best photography of all.
Concluding impression was favourable overall. If the script had been less preachy, and the rest of the leads up to Alexandra Pigg's standard, this might have been a little classic.
All the nieghbours have borrowed it
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