mon 24/06/2019

1940s

While the Sun Shines, Orange Tree Theatre review - frothy, yes, up to a point

Terence Rattigan completists, and count myself among them, will leap at the chance to see a rare production courtesy the Orange Tree Theatre of While the Sun Shines, a 1943 monster hit for this great English writer that has languished in semi-...

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Vasily Grossman: Stalingrad review - a Soviet national epic

Stalingrad is the companion piece to Vasily Grossman’s Life and Fate, which on its (re)publication in English a decade ago was acclaimed as one of the greatest Russian (and not only Russian) novels of the 20th century. For its sense of the sheer...

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Blu-ray: The Woman in the Window

The Woman in the Window (1944) was the first of the two riveting film noirs in which Fritz Lang directed Edward G Robinson as a timid New York bourgeois, Joan Bennett as the alluring woman ill-met on a street, and Dan Duryea as the dandified sleaze...

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Last Stop Coney Island review - the life and photography of Harold Feinstein

This is a real passion project; British filmmaker Andy Dunn spent years building up a relationship with the late American photographer Harold Feinstein, filming him at work and interviewing friends, family and colleagues. The result is a loving...

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Blu-ray: Detour

“Whichever way you turn, fate sticks out a foot to trip you,” Al Roberts (Tom Neal) says in Detour (1945), as if his native pessimism and self-destructive choices had nothing to do with his inexorable descent into hell.Edgar G Ulmer’s minimalist...

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The Aftermath review - it looks great but it lacks bite

Is it time for the rebirth of the old-fashioned wartime weepie? If so, this time next year The Aftermath will be dragging a clanking heap of statuettes round Hollywood, attached to the rear bumper of its 1940s army staff car. If not…A cynical person...

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Traitors, Channel 4 review - Cold War thriller fails to reach room temperature

It’s 1945 and World War Two is nearly over. Somewhere in England, Fiona Symonds (“Feef” to her friends) is training to be a spy and be dropped behind enemy lines. Her training involves such amusements as being woken in the night by having a bucket...

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The Good Person of Szechwan, Pushkin Drama Theatre, Barbican review - slick Russian Brecht

"In our country the capable man needs luck," belts out Shen Te, the Good Person of Szechwan in the most powerful song of Brecht's epic "parable play" of 1941. "Only if he has powerful backers can he prove his capacity." Never was that more true than...

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Damrau, BRSO, Jansons, Barbican review - broad and passionate Strauss

There is no doubting Diana Damrau’s star power. She is not a demonstrative performer, and her voice is small, but the sheer character of her tone, and the passion she invests, make every line special. She is not one to over-sentimentalise either, so...

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Magda Szabó: Katalin Street review - love after life

This is a love story and a ghost story. The year is 1934 and the Held family have moved from the countryside to an elegant house on Katalin Street in Budapest. Their new neighbours are the Major (with whom Mr Held fought in the Great War) and his...

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The Sound of Movie Musicals with Neil Brand, BBC Four review - genius of song and dance

The movie musical: money making or true art – or both? This was a programme to sing along to, in the company of Judy Garland and Gene Kelly, Elvis Presley and Cliff Richard. In this second instalment of Neil Brand’s brilliant three-part history, he...

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Mrs Wilson, BBC One review - real-life secrets and lies

In which the titular Mrs Wilson is played by her real-life granddaughter Ruth Wilson, in an intriguing tale of subterfuge both personal and professional. The curtain rose over suburban west London in the 1960s, where Alison Wilson was married to...

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