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Colin W

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To Be or Not to Be [Blu-ray] [1942]
To Be or Not to Be [Blu-ray] [1942]
Dvd ~ Carole Lombard
Offered by CULTURE EMPIRE
Price: £16.00

5.0 out of 5 stars Great little-known film, 8 Nov. 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Excellent blu-ray restoration of an interesting and amusing film. Well worth seeing for the last performance of Carole Lombard and one of Jack Benny's rare acting performances. Very funny and well worth the money.


Charles Gounod: Mireille (Opera national de Paris 2009) [Blu-ray] [2011]
Charles Gounod: Mireille (Opera national de Paris 2009) [Blu-ray] [2011]
Dvd ~ Inva Mula

1.0 out of 5 stars Buyer beware!, 20 Oct. 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I bought this version of Mireille on Blu-ray some time ago and found that my player (which is new and expensive) could not read the disc at all. I had difficulties getting a refund and eventually gave up. Then I bought a second copy in a shop, checking first that it worked, took it home and watched the opera successfully. Yesterday I tried to watch it a second time and the disc failed about one hour into the production. The screen froze, unfroze, then froze again permanently. I tried several times, I tried cleaning the disc but all to no avail. I notice that another reviewer had a similar experience. So, I have spent rather a lot of money to experience one performance.
This is frustrating and disappointing since the opera is excellent as are the performances and production. Has anyone found a copy which plays repeatedly without a problem?


King of Kings [Blu-ray] [US Import]
King of Kings [Blu-ray] [US Import]
Offered by marvelio-uk
Price: £12.30

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A bit of a plod, 7 Sept. 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
First of all, this blu-ray looks great and is an excellent restoration of the film. But I found the film (which was new to me) rather disappointing. For me, it did not really reach heights of inspiration and is not in the same class as, for example, Quo Vadis, the Ten Commandments and Ben Hur, which are all wonderful.
There are fine moments such as the sermon on the mount and salome's dance, but for the most part the film just plods. Jeff Hunter is excellent as Jesus but this is not enough to raise the film above the average. Considering the director was Nicholas Ray I was surprised at the pedestrian result.
If you already know and love this film then buy it, otherwise proceed with caution.


Verdi: Attila (Abdrazakov, Mariinsky Orchestra/Gergiev) [Blu-ray] [2013]
Verdi: Attila (Abdrazakov, Mariinsky Orchestra/Gergiev) [Blu-ray] [2013]
Dvd ~ Arturo Gama
Price: £29.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Brilliant Attila, 3 Sept. 2015
Attila is not considered to be one of Verdi's best operas but this production makes a great case for it. It is full of delightful, effective music and I thoroughly enjoyed this version which has excellent sound and picture.
The production is traditional and really enjoyable with excellent use of lighting and good sets.
Gergiev and the Mariinsky orchestra are superb in this repertoire producing a tingling performance from start to finish. All of the main soloists are outstanding, singing and acting to perfection.
A must buy for Verdi lovers.


Imitation of Life 2-Movie Collection [Blu-ray] [US Import]
Imitation of Life 2-Movie Collection [Blu-ray] [US Import]
Offered by uniqueplace-uk
Price: £17.17

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Two excellent versions of the same story., 1 Sept. 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
The blu-ray restoration of both these films is excellent. Anyone with a blu-ray player and interested in the films should not hesitate to invest in this double set. I was already aware of the famous Lana Turner version in which she plays an actress struggling for success. The 1933 Claudette Colbert version was unknown to me. In both films the relationships between the four main characters (white mother and daughter; black mother and daughter) is the same. But the Claudette Colbert version has her as a business woman struggling for success and not an actress. So, she gives an entirely different performance from Lana Turner but is just as good. The exploration of the issues around racial prejudice is interesting in both films and the ending is just as moving in both. Highly recommended.


Alfred Hitchcock - The Masterpiece Collection [Blu-ray] [1942] [Region Free]
Alfred Hitchcock - The Masterpiece Collection [Blu-ray] [1942] [Region Free]
Dvd ~ James Stewart
Price: £33.35

5.0 out of 5 stars A Wonderful Bargain, 30 July 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This set does justice to the greatest master of cinema. I have seldom had such pleasure as working through this set of classic Hitchcock films. The digital restorations are outstanding showing these great films as they were meant to be seen. Almost every film is a master class in how to tell a story visually and how to use music and silence. The music for the shower scene in Psycho is justly famous but the scene in the china shop of Topaz is a dazzling demonstration of how to use silence.
No one made films like Hitchcock (except his imitators) and this set displays them to perfection.


Verdi: I Masnadieri [Blu-ray] [2012]
Verdi: I Masnadieri [Blu-ray] [2012]
Dvd ~ Giacomo Prestia
Price: £29.99

4.0 out of 5 stars A forgotten Verdi gem, 24 July 2015
I won't repeat descriptions of the silly plot since other reviewers have covered that. The music itself is generally wonderful with some vintage Verdi arias and ensembles. For example, Carlo's romanza 'Di ladroni attorniato' is outstanding. Like many other Verdi operas there is a beautiful duet between the old Count and the young girl Amalia (a role written for Jenny Lind). So, for Verdi lovers this is essential listening. Only the choruses seem rather perfunctory.
The set is rather ugly and grim with little attempt at realism. It did not say much to me but it was not really a great distraction either.
The singers are body-miked (if that's the correct spelling) which looks obtrusive in the case of Carlo. However, listening on head-phones produced an excellent sound. The orchestra, conductor and main singers are all great. The camera work could have been more discreet since the excellent soprano perspires heavily. It would have been better to avoid a lot of her close-ups.
In general, I am delighted to have discovered this opera.


Medina in Birmingham, Najaf in Brent: Inside British Islam
Medina in Birmingham, Najaf in Brent: Inside British Islam
Price: £9.51

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Excellent Description of Islam in the U.K., 17 Jun. 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This book does exactly as claimed. It gives a detailed breakdown of the various forms of Islam practised in the U.K. There is a lot more to Islam than the obvious division into Sunni and Shia. It is hard to remember all of the varieties such as Deobandi, Salafi, Ismaili, etc but this book is a must for anyone wanting a description and history of Islam in the UK and beyond.


Schubert:Fierrabras [Michael Schade; Julia Kleiter; Benjamin Bernheim; Dorothea Röschmann; Wiener Philharmoniker] [C MAJOR ENTERTAINMENT: BLU RAY] [Blu-ray] [2015] [Region A & B]
Schubert:Fierrabras [Michael Schade; Julia Kleiter; Benjamin Bernheim; Dorothea Röschmann; Wiener Philharmoniker] [C MAJOR ENTERTAINMENT: BLU RAY] [Blu-ray] [2015] [Region A & B]
Dvd ~ Schubert
Offered by Fulfillment Express
Price: £29.39

13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Beautiful Work, 9 Jun. 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Great to see a Blu-ray edition of Fierrabras. Schubert never had a really good libretto to set and as a result his operas have largely been forgotten, criticised as being undramatic.. However, many of them, including this one, are full of beautiful music which any lover of Schubert would respond to.
Several rarely performed operas have been issued on DVD in recent years. I am thinking of Haydn's 'Il Mondo della Luna' and 'Orlando Paladino', Schumann's 'Genoveva', and a previous Zurich production of Fierrabras. In every case the director has clearly decided that since these are weak operas they need an updated production to impose the director's concept on the audience. In every case the result has been a disaster, completely undermining the impact of the work.
I am delighted to say that director Peter Stein has avoided this mistake and produced a generally sympathetic and excellent production in this new release of Fierrabras. My only criticism is that almost the entire work (costumes and scenery) are in black and white and shades of grey. Why this fashion has overtaken so many opera productions nowadays escapes me since it is certainly not interesting. In every other respect the production works well with costumes which are traditional and of the correct period and beautiful backdrops designed to resemble old engravings.
Ingo Metzmacher directs the Vienna Philharmonic to great effect and the cast is ideal .Michael Schade as the eponymous hero has the perfect tenor voice for Schubert. Julia Kleiter as Emma and Georg Zeppenfeld as Charlemagne also stand out, although the whole cast is good.
A must buy for any Schubert lover or indeed any lover of beautiful music.


Verdi: Alzira (Facini, Gazheli, von Bothmer, Saito Orchestra Haydn di Blozano e Trento, Gustav Kuhn) (C Major: 721504) [Blu-ray] [2012] [Region A & B]
Verdi: Alzira (Facini, Gazheli, von Bothmer, Saito Orchestra Haydn di Blozano e Trento, Gustav Kuhn) (C Major: 721504) [Blu-ray] [2012] [Region A & B]
Dvd ~ Facini
Price: £29.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Pleasant Surprise, 5 Jun. 2015
This is generally considered to be Verdi's weakest opera. In fact, the music is enjoyable throughout with some highlights, not least Alzira's entrance with beautiful string and choral writing preceding her cavatina. I think any fan of Verdi would enjoy this work, even in a concert performance such as this.
The conductor (Gustav Kuhn) and Orchestra Haydn di Bolzano e Trento are excellent bringing great style and panache to their performance. The singers are variable. Junko Saito as Alzira looks beautiful and sings with some feeling but sounds forced in all the challenging parts of her role. The rest of the cast sing well and the end result is highly entertaining.
Not Verdi's biggest dramatic success but well worth a listen.


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