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Robert Ray (Sassafras, Victoria Australia)

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School of Classical Dance: Textbook of the Vaganova Choreographic School
School of Classical Dance: Textbook of the Vaganova Choreographic School
by V. S. Kostroviktlskakila
Edition: Paperback
Price: £15.00

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Essential, 8 July 2003
This is the 'bible' of Classical Ballet. For any serious student or teacher of ballet, this is a must have, and a must read. Read it with an open mind; because a lot of what you have been taught is wrong. Read this book and find out what!

Englishman Abroad [VHS] [1983]
Englishman Abroad [VHS] [1983]
Offered by rdowns33
Price: £19.99

19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Please bring it back on DVD, 8 July 2003
One of the great tele-movies ever. Browne and Bates are rivetting. This is great stuff - this really happened to Coral Browne; she told Alan Bennet about it; who then wrote it and the Coral Browne got to play herself. The whole thing has a remarkable ring of truth. For everyone who watched Cambridge Spies, this is the essential follow-up. This is sad and funny. Coral Browne has some wonderful actressy line. Browne to a snooty Bond Street outfitter: "You had no trouble supplying him when he was the most notorious bugger in London!" I watched this the other night after Cambridge Spies finished. Unfortunately I only have a Very Hazy Screen (VHS) copy. Let's have it on DVD - now!

Gilbert & Sullivan: Iolanthe
Gilbert & Sullivan: Iolanthe
Offered by Fulfillment Express
Price: £18.26

31 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Definitive, 2 May 2003
Here is arguably the best Iolanthe ever recorded. While there are better performances of some of the roles on other sets (Martyn Green and Margaret Mitchell on the 1950's recording), this one is uniformally excllent. It's only competition is the 1929 HMV recording under Sargent. This whole performance sparkles, without a weak spot in the casting.John Reed's Chancellor if not quite up to Martyn Green's 1950's recording is still pretty darned good.Donald Adams and Thomas Round are delightful as the two peers, Alan Styler's Strephon, Gillian Knight's Queen - the list goes on and on - are all marvellous examples of how G&S should be done. Decca have put aside their generic sleeve, and stopped calling themsleves "London", and have gone back to the original artwork. (Excpet on the LP the title was in blue not red). It is wonderful to have these designs back again. There is also a treat in that the CD's themsleves have been stamped with the old Decca LP label in magenta. To my ears these CD's have been improved from their initial release on CD in the 80's. Playing the discs side by side the newer ones sound as if thay have been enhanced. So, if you have the old set - there is a reason to buy them again ( as I have done) not only for the nostalgic album design but for the slightly superior sound.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Mar 30, 2009 8:14 AM BST

The Mikado - D'Oyly Carte Opera Company [DVD]
The Mikado - D'Oyly Carte Opera Company [DVD]
Dvd ~ D'Oyly Carte Opera Company
Price: £16.99

109 of 111 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Marvellous record, 24 Jan. 2003
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I have to say it is a disappointing transfer. It looks like a straight copy from a VHS tape - but probably isn't. There seems to have been no attempt to restore the master, and the whole thing looks quite deteriorated, and full of artefacts. The ABC have recently issued the Australian Ballet film of Don Quixote from the 1970's and they detail a lot of restoration which had to be done. Apparently, it was saved in the nick of time, just like the masters of "My Fair Lady". That hasn't happened here. It is comforting that as it is now on DVD some sort of permanence (100 years they say) has been assured. However, if this vital part of the D'Oyly Carte history is not restored and better preserved then we shall all be the sorrier.
The box contains no information as to the aspect ratio or to the sound. It appears to be about 1.77:1 but is not enhanced for 16:9 widescreen TV's. The sound, although coming from 2 channels sounds mono to me.
That's all the down sides. The up sides is that it is good to see it again in widescreen without the clipping required for 4:3 transfers. One gets the whole picture. It's faults as a record of the D'Oyly Carte have been well documented, however I feel it stands head and shoulders above the competition on DVD available in Region 1: The 1939 film with Martyn Green, the Australian Opera and the Stratford (gasp) versions.
It is a dream cast in many respects: Donald Adams, Valerie Masterson, Philip Potter, John Reed, Kenneth Sanford and the delectable Peggy Ann Jones - who could wish for more? Thomas Lawler, Christene Palmer and Pauline Wales are also terrific. The main fault is in the direction and concept. It is neither fish nor foul. It is neither live performance (like the AO or Canadian ones) or re-thought for film (like the 1939). It would have been better had the performers been allowed to do exactly what they did on stage, and with a live audience. There are some phoney contrivances (like Pooh Bah talking to Pish Tush) just for the camera. However, dear John Reed as Ko Ko appears to be the least constrained by the medium. His performance is a comic delight.
Worth supporting and worth getting, despite the negatives.

Gosford Park [DVD] [2002]
Gosford Park [DVD] [2002]
Dvd ~ Kristen Scott Thomas
Price: £2.44

17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A cinema masterpiece, 28 Sept. 2002
This review is from: Gosford Park [DVD] [2002] (DVD)
From the opening shots in the rain, accompanied by the lovely music of Ivor Novello's "Waltz of my Heart", this film takes you to another world. The ensemble acting is at the heart of this film. Altman gets wonderful results especially from Maggie Smith as Lady Trentham. Another film stolen by her. But she is different here. More restrained, more believable, less camp. (Only a little less). It was an inspired idea to have Jeremy Northam as Ivor Novello, who actually sings very well. The Novello songs give the movie a gorgeous aura...However, this film may not please those after a mindless murder mystery. Nor may the murder please those after an art house movie. This movie is both, which I find absolutely acceptable. It is a perfect evocation of life upstairs and downstairs in 1932. Julian Fellowes' script superbly captures the manners and behavior of these people. His added commentary is a revelation!

Howards End [1992] [DVD]
Howards End [1992] [DVD]
Dvd ~ Anthony Hopkins
Offered by best_value_entertainment
Price: £3.74

12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Perfect movie, 18 May 2002
This review is from: Howards End [1992] [DVD] (DVD)
This is one of the great film's of the last 20 years. It is perfectly cast - although Vanessa Redgrave's Ruth Wilcox seems an odd choice at first. But, oh, what she does with it! However, it's Emma Thompson's film. She IS Margaret Schlegel! I have watched this film about 10 times, and I seem to enjoy it more and more - like a marvellous wine.

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