wed 24/05/2017

1940s

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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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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Neruda, review - 'poetry and politics'

Chilean director Pablo Larrain has described Neruda as a “false biopic”, and it’s a film that surprises on many levels in its presentation of Pablo Neruda, the great poet who is his country’s best-known cultural figure. It captivates for the scope...

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Matthew Bourne's Early Adventures, Sadler's Wells

Not every artist attains the kind of status that will allow their early works to be revived – or, when revived, greeted with commercial and critical success. This is something of a shame for those of us with a historical mindset who like seeing...

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An American in Paris review - 'stagecraft couldn't be slicker'

What’s in a yellow dress? Hope over experience? Reckless confidence? This is a legitimate question when the second big cross-Atlantic people-pleaser hoves into view featuring a girl in a frock of striking daffodil hue. It doesn’t take a degree in...

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Viceroy's House

The Partition of India is vast and unexplored terrain in modern cinema. It triggered the migration of 14 million people: Muslims moved from an India reduced in size overnight to the new homeland of Pakistan, and non-Muslims made the opposite journey...

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Blu-ray: Mildred Pierce

Joan Crawford’s towering, lauded and Oscar-awarded lead performance in Michael Curtiz’s powerful 1945 film Mildred Pierce has the potential to diminish appreciation of the film as a whole. It can be watched for her career-reviving depiction of the...

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The Halcyon, Series 1 Finale, ITV

A screaming comes across the sky. It has happened before, but there is nothing to compare it to now…One of the many ironies of Gravity’s Rainbow, Thomas Pynchon’s massive novel partly set in 1940s London, is that what follows these opening lines (...

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SS–GB, BBC One

“What if the Germans had won the war?” has been a recurring theme in fiction, from Noel Coward’s Peace in Our Time to Philip K Dick’s The Man in the High Castle and Robert Harris’s Fatherland. There was even a predictive pre-war “future history”...

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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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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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DVD/Blu-ray: Cover Girl

Eureka’s restored print of Charles Vidor’s 1944 musical Cover Girl looks and sounds astonishingly vivid, especially when watched on Blu-ray. Would that everything were so simple: despite a starry creative team, the film makes for frustrating viewing...

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