sat 17/11/2018

1940s

Overlord review - nightmares in Normandy

The trailer for Overlord promises havoc, horror, evil, madness, terror and rage, and to be fair it delivers on most of those. From the fantasy factory of producer JJ Abrams, it’s the ghastly story of an alternative D-Day, in which American...

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DVD/Blu-ray: Hitler's Hollywood

Apart from Leni Riefenstahl’s insidiously seductive celebrations of Nazism and the propaganda excesses of Veit Harlan’s Jud Süß (1940), the films that were made in Germany during the Hitler period have been air-brushed out of cinema history, almost...

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The Rake's Progress, LPO, Jurowski, RFH review - supreme fluency from Eden to Bedlam

Lightness and gravity in perfect equilibrium have always graced Vladimir Jurowski's Stravinsky. From his first London Rake's Progress at English National Opera, proving that he could do the delicate and translucent after his Royal Opera debut...

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Fröst, BBCSO, Oramo, Barbican review - blood, sweat and sweetness

Single adjectives by way of description always sell masterpieces short, and especially the ambiguous symphonies forged in blood, sweat and tears during the Stalin years. The Barbican's advance blurb hit one aspect of Shostakovich's Ninth Symphony...

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The Outsider, Print Room at the Coronet review - power in restraint

As the Syrian conflict enters its final convulsions, renewing memories of how the Sykes-Picot agreement – between an Englishman and a Frenchman – would cause more than a century of political resentment in the Arab world, The Outsider seems...

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Paul Bunyan, ENO, Wilton's Music Hall review - talent cabined and confined

It's Britten outside-in time for English National Opera. Regent's Park Open Air Theatre, which played host earlier this year to an only partially convincing production of his 1950s masterpiece The Turn of the Screw, would have been the perfect...

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Cold War review - a gorgeous and mesmerising romance

Can we ever really know the passion that brought our parents together? By the time we are old enough to hear the story of how they first met, that lovers’ narrative has frayed in the telling and faded in the daily light of domestic familiarity. But...

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Prom 57, On the Town, LSO, Wilson review - symphonic dances and sassy vocals

1944 was one hell of a year for Bernstein the composer, with a perfect ballet and a near-perfect musical sharing a general theme of three sailors loose in New York, but nothing else, in their boisterous originality. Perhaps their only equal among...

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Edinburgh Festival 2018 review: Aimard, SCO, Pintscher - psychedelic visions

There were two immediate casualties at Pierre-Laurent Aimard’s high-energy account of Messiaen’s monumental Des canyons aux étoiles… with the Scottish Chamber Orchestra at the Edinburgh International Festival.First was one of the strings in the...

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DVD/Blu-ray: It Happened Here

Kevin Brownlow and Andrew Mollo’s It Happened Here surely deserves the acclaim often accorded it as “the most ambitious amateur film ever made”, and the rich supporting extras on this BFI dual-format release make clear why. Best of all is a 65-...

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Annie Ernaux: The Years, review - time’s flow

“When you were our age, how did you imagine your life? What did you hope for?” It is a video of a classroom south-east of the Périphérique separating Paris from the working-class suburbs. The students are mostly girls between fifteen and sixteen and...

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Box office poison? Joan Crawford at BFI Southbank

What’s that? Joan Crawford had no sense of humour? Well, take a look at It's A Great Feeling. It’s a pretty bizarre (and pretty bad) 1949 musical with Jack Carson and Dennis Morgan playing themselves running round the Warner Brothers lot...

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