sun 05/04/2020

1950s

Sinatra: All Or Nothing At All, Netflix review - epic two-parter on pop's first superstar

Coming in at around four hours, in two parts, this 2015 documentary is ostensibly about Ol’ Blue Eyes, Frank Sinatra, but really, via the prism of his existence, it’s as much about America’s journey through the first two thirds of the 20th century....

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DVD/Blu-ray: Beat the Devil

Humphrey Bogart. John Huston. Gina Lollobrigida. Peter Lorre. Truman Capote! What could possibly go wrong? There’s the screenplay for starters: Capote gets top billing, and I’d long understood that he and Huston together wrote 1953's Beat the...

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DVD/Blu-ray: Last Holiday

There’s a scarily prescient scene at the start of Henry Cass’s 1950 black comedy Last Holiday, a village surgery’s waiting room crammed with coughers and wheezers. Poor George Bird (Alec Guinness) is a tad under the weather too, but being mistakenly...

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CD: James Taylor, American Standard - a trip down memory lane

“Fire and Rain”. Who doesn’t recall James Taylor’s first number one 50 years ago! Born in Carolina and a “graduate” of the 1960s Greenwich Village music scene, Sweet Baby James has given the world some enduring songs and been part of some of music’s...

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The Visit, National Theatre review - star turn bolsters baggy rewrite

Lesley Manville’s thrilling career ascent continues apace with The Visit, which marks American playwright Tony Kushner’s return to the National Theatre following the acclaimed Angels in America revival nearly three...

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Reissue CDs Weekly: Hank Williams

Any knowledge of the Hank Williams narrative heavily influences how he is perceived. He died at age 29 on New Year’s Day 1953, in the back of a car while travelling to a show in Ohio. His schedule was punishing. A day earlier he had played in West...

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DVD/Blu-ray: The Holly and the Ivy

British cinema has done so badly by Christmas that the revival of a film that parses the nature of the festival while mining its potential for sparking family strife is cause for celebration. Long neglected, The Holly and the Ivy (1952) has been...

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Motherless Brooklyn review – tic tec

Edward Norton has wanted to adapt Motherless Brooklyn since Jonathan Lethem’s acclaimed novel was first published 20 years ago. His film (as producer, writer, director and star) is an obvious labour of love, an evocative, entertaining, old-fashioned...

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Blu-ray: Fuller at Fox

This new Eureka! boxset of 4K and 2K restorations provides ample evidence as to why Samuel Fuller was venerated by such a wide range of film-makers, including Godard, Wenders, Scorsese and Tarantino. Often characterised as a purveyor of pulp...

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'Master Harold' ... and the Boys, National Theatre review - timelessly moving

Time has been kind to Athol Fugard's "Master Harold"...and the Boys. It's a stealth bomb of a play that I saw in its world premiere production in New Haven, Connecticut, in 1982 and that has been a regular part of my playgoing life ever since. Yes,...

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CD: Renée Zellweger - Judy

Renée Zellweger already has strong musical cinema form, Her role as Roxie Hart in Chicago garnered her second Oscar nomination. However, playing and singing Judy Garland is a whole different ball game. The film Judy takes a late-Sixties run of...

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DVD/Blu-ray: A Kid for Two Farthings

Seeing post-war London in vibrant colour is a delicious surprise, and the opening seconds of A Kid for Two Farthings follow a pigeon flying east from Trafalgar Square, eventually settling on a pub sign in Petticoat Lane. The location footage in...

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