sat 19/09/2020

1940s

Blu-ray: Beanpole

Kantemir Balagov’s second feature announces the arrival of a major new talent in arthouse cinema. Made by the Russian director when he was just 27, and premiered at Cannes last year, where it won in the “Un Certain Regard” strand, Beanpole...

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The Plot Against America, Sky Atlantic review - fascism comes to 1940s USA

Based on Philip Roth’s 2004 novel of the same name, The Plot Against America flashes back to the global turbulence of the 1940s to depict a counterfactual America that turns to the dark side. Instead of the re-election of Franklin D Roosevelt for a...

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Blu-Ray: A Foreign Affair

In the year when we should be reflecting on seventy years of peace in Europe but are too occupied with present day viruses, Brexit, and racism to remember our past, it’s timely that a film about the Allied victors occupying Berlin in 1947 should be...

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Reissue CDs Weekly: John Lee Hooker - Documenting The Sensation Recordings 1948-1952

John Lee Hooker’s recording career began on Friday 3 September 1948. He’d attracted the attention of the Kiev-born Bernard Besman, who was in Detroit after his family moved there in 1926 following five years in London’s East End. By the 1940s Besman...

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DVD/Blu-ray: Distant Journey

Czech director Alfréd Radok’s Distant Journey (Daleká cesta) has an unprecedented place in the history of cinema of the Holocaust. Initially released in March 1949, it has been called the first fictional treatment of the Jewish experience during the...

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Hollywood, Netflix review - rosy escapism serving good causes

If you're catering for wish fulfilment, you might as well go the whole hog. Some say that Ryan Murphy and Ian Brennan, in their latest peachy extravaganza, aim no higher than the cheesier fantasies of the late 1940s Hollywood they take into...

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Now is the hour - 103 and trending: Dame Vera Lynn eight decades after her debut

Last Sunday evening I was making lentil soup (words I never thought I’d type) when Radio 4’s discussion of wealth, or lack thereof, gave way to a profile of Dame Vera Lynn. She was “trending”, her NHS fundraising duet with Katherine Jenkins of “We’...

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The Rake's Progress, Complicité online review - well-projected journey from pastoral to madhouse

One way to look at Stravinsky's celebrated collaboration with W H Auden and Chester Kallman is as a numbers opera in nine pictures, four of them indebted to Hogarth's series of paintings/prints. So it's not surprising that visual flair has marked...

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Return to Belsen, ITV review - Jonathan Dimbleby retraces his father's journey to a nightmare world

When the notorious Bergen-Belsen concentration camp in northern Germany was liberated by the British 11th Armoured Division on 15 April 1945, the BBC’s reporter Richard Dimbleby was there to record the occasion. It was Dimbleby’s report for BBC...

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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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Anderszewski, CBSO, Wellber, Symphony Hall Birmingham review - grandeur in restraint

No orchestra wants its conductor to cancel in the week of a concert. Mirga Gražinytė-Tyla’s illness was announced only on Monday, but even in ideal conditions, if you needed to find a last minute replacement maestro for a programme of Bartók and...

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Bill Brandt/Henry Moore, The Hepworth Wakefield review - a matter of perception

Bill Brandt’s photographs and Henry Moore’s studies of people sheltering underground during the Blitz (September 1940 to May 1941) offer glimpses of a world that is, thankfully, lost to us. A year and a half after the end of the bombing...

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