mon 26/06/2017

World War Two

Churchill review - Winston has smallness thrust upon him

He may often be voted Greatest Briton in the History of Everything, but are we approaching peak Winston? Scroll down Churchill’s IMDb entry and you’ll find that he’s been played by every Tom, Dick and Harry in all manner of cockamamie entertainments...

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CD: Roger Waters – Is This the Life We Really Want?

Roger Waters described The Final Cut, the last Pink Floyd album he appeared on, as “a requiem for the post-war dream”. Funnily enough, he could say much the same for Is This the Life We Really Want?, his fourth solo album. (The answer the title...

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All Our Children review - shameful historical period horrifies anew

How do you tell a story as complex as the eugenics movement, which is pursued afresh in writer-director Stephen Unwin's new play All Our Children? Its idealistic origins lie in Britain with Francis Galton in 1883, before leading to forced...

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DVD/Blu-ray: German Concentration Camps Factual Survey

This is an impeccably restored presentation of the 1945 feature-length documentary that was intended to be shown in German cinemas in order to counter any remaining support for Nazism. Backed by the British Ministry of Information, it was overseen...

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Their Finest review - undone by feeble female characterisation

Yet another excuse to snuggle down with some cosy wartime nostalgia, Their Finest is purportedly a tribute to women’s undervalued role in the British film industry. Unfortunately it comes over more blah than Blitz. Gemma Arterton plays Catrin Cole,...

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DVD: Slaughterhouse-Five

“I never saw anything like it,” declares Billy Pilgrim in wonderment. “It’s the Land of Oz.” He has just seen Dresden’s splendour from the train carriage into which he and other American prisoners of war are crammed en route to the city. They’ve...

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Love in Idleness, Menier Chocolate Factory

What's in a name? Terence Rattigan’s Love in Idleness is a reworking of his 1944 play Less Than Kind (never staged at the time, it was first produced just six years ago). It reached the London stage at the very end of the same year with the Lunts,...

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SS–GB, Series Finale, BBC One

In the end, SS-GB promised more than it could deliver, but it still left us with some memorable images (not least in the cleverly-crafted opening titles) and several excellent performances. The ending even dangled the faintest hint of a sequel,...

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DVD: The Spring River Flows East

There’s rich irony in the timelining of 1940s Chinese blockbuster The Spring River Flows East. Cai Chusheng and Zheng Junli’s melodrama dates its 14-year timespan – events unroll from 1931 to the end of the war in 1945 – with reference to the...

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CD: Vera Lynn - Vera Lynn 100

She hasn’t sung a note in a year or too and her regular appearances at veteran reunions have come to an end. In 2015 Dame Vera Lynn wasn’t well enough to attend the 70th anniversary celebration of VE Day. But she is still among us and on 20 March...

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Casablanca

You must remember this. It’s December 1941, the month of Pearl Harbour. Richard Blaine (Humphrey Bogart), an American, probably a Communist, who fought Franco in Spain and ran guns to Ethiopia when Mussolini invaded, has given up the fight against...

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Timeshift: Flights of Fancy - Pigeons and the British, BBC Four

Pigeons were described in this riveting programme as man’s best feathered friends, as well as an urban pest: the 35,000 of them that used to flock round Trafalgar Square deposited some 390 tons of unharvested guano – bird poo, in simpler words –...

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