sat 23/10/2021

1950s

Blu-ray: Johnny Guitar

Watching this restored print of Nicholas Ray’s delirious Western reminded me of the discovery that those pristine white statues of the Ancient World had once been painted in gaudy colours. When I first saw Johnny Guitar, it was one of those movies...

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The Midsummer Marriage, LPO, Gardner, RFH review – Tippett’s cornucopia shines in fits and starts

British opera’s attempted answer to The Magic Flute, and its presentation as the opening gambit of Edward Gardner’s eminent position as principal conductor of the London Philharmonic Orchestra, leave me queasily ambivalent.After all the smoke and...

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Blu-ray: The River

The cinema fan in your life is going to thank you for this one. The BFI’s new two-disc Blu-ray version of Jean Renoir’s 1951 The River, filmed in India, is absolutely packed with extras: no fewer than six other offerings, including a 90-minute "...

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Reissue CDs Weekly: Chris Barber - A Trailblazer's Legacy

The book included with this splendid box set dedicated to British jazz innovator Chris Barber includes a series of quotes paying tribute to his standing. Billy Bragg says "Chris Barber's influence on British popular music, be it through playing jazz...

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Blu-ray: The Night of the Hunter

A United Artists studio executive was treated to a pre-release screening of Charles Laughton’s The Night of the Hunter in 1955. His damning response was, “it’s too arty.” The studio showed little interest in promotion and it was deemed a flop....

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Under Milk Wood, National Theatre review - Michael Sheen at his most magnetic

There's commanding, and then there's Michael Sheen, who sweeps on to the Olivier stage 15 minutes or so into the new National Theatre revival of Under Milk Wood and scoops up the entire production with it. Inheriting a role made to order for this...

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Bostridge, CBSO, Seal, Symphony Hall Birmingham review - large and live

The City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra believes that its current post-lockdown summer series features the largest orchestra currently performing live in the UK. It’s not an easy claim to verify, and the full string section certainly wasn’t on...

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theartsdesk on Vinyl 64: Chet Baker, Lava La Rue, Bob Mould, Krust, The Yardbirds, The Fratellis and more

Things got out of hand at theartsdesk on Vinyl this month and these reviews run to 10,000 words. That's around a fifth of The Great Gatsby. It's because there's so much good music that deserves the words, from jazz to metal to pure electronic...

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Joseph Andras: Tomorrow They Won't Dare to Murder Us review - injustice and tenderness in the Algerian War

Joseph Andras wastes no time. “Not a proud and forthright rain, no. A stingy rain. Mean. Playing dirty.” This is how his debut novel kicks off, and it’s a fitting start for his retelling of the arrest, torture, one-day trial and subsequent execution...

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Reissue CDs Weekly: Allen Ginsberg - At Reed College: The First Recorded Reading of Howl & Other Poems

“I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness, starving hysterical naked, dragging themselves through the negro streets at dawn looking for an angry fix.” The opening words of Allen Ginsberg’s Howl are ingrained. First published in the...

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The Turn of the Screw, OperaGlass Works online review - the fright is in the filming

It’s second time lucky for OperaGlass Works, whose previous production at Wilton’s Music Hall, of Stravinsky’s The Rake's Progress, hit the mark for me in the singing but not the staging. I suspect that had we been there in the auditorium with...

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The Devil All The Time review – a test of faith in a Southern Gothic tradition

There’s no denying the Faulknerian ambition to the construction of Anthony Campos’ latest feature Devil All the Time. It’s a brooding, blood-soaked Semi-Southern Gothic drama spanning two generations through a plot that wrestles with the nature of...

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