thu 30/03/2017

World War Two

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,...

Read more...

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,...

Read more...

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...

Read more...

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...

Read more...

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...

Read more...

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 –...

Read more...

Hacksaw Ridge

After doing his time in the Hollywood wilderness, Mel Gibson is back with a bang – a cacophony of bangs, frankly – with Hacksaw Ridge. With six Oscar nominations including Best Director, Best Actor and Best Picture, it's enough to tempt a man to...

Read more...

DVD/Blu-ray: Anthropoid

Let’s explain the peculiar title first: Operation Anthropoid was the code name given by the Czech Resistance for the planned assassination of Reinhard Heydrich in Prague during World War Two. The events have been portrayed on film before, a notable...

Read more...

The Halcyon, ITV

The most surprising thing about ITV's latest period drama is that they've scheduled it for Monday nights. Since you could soundbite it as a mash-up of Mr Selfridge and Downton Abbey, you'd have thought The Halcyon was a shoo-in for that peachy...

Read more...

Allied

While it makes for a moderately amusing evening out, this World War Two espionage-romance caper doesn't stand up to a lot of scrutiny (I'm trying to work out where they managed to find the "Best Film of the Year!" quote used in the TV ad). Stars...

Read more...

My Mother and Other Strangers, BBC One

This new wartime drama launched on Remembrance Sunday is a curio. The setting of My Mother and Other Strangers is rural Northern Ireland in 1943, where it’s green and wet and a long way from the conflict. Into the midst of the fictional Moybeg on...

Read more...

Close to the Enemy, BBC Two / Paranoid, Series Finale, ITV

We last encountered Stephen Poliakoff on TV in 2013's Dancing on the Edge, which provoked mixed reactions (not least on theartsdesk). That was the story of a black jazz band in 1930s London, who played gigs at swanky hotels. Close to the Enemy (★)...

Read more...
Subscribe to World War Two