wed 01/02/2023

World War Two

Blu-ray: The War Trilogy - Three Films by Andrzej Wajda

Watching these harrowing films in rapid succession allows us to watch a great director’s confidence develop at close hand; though 1955’s A Generation (Pokolenie) is an impressive debut for a 27-year old director, both Kanał (1957) and 1958’s Ashes...

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Allegiance, Charing Cross Theatre review - George Takei's childhood story makes a heartfelt musical

Like families, nations have secrets: dirty linen that they prefer not to expose to the light of day. Patriotic myths need to be protected, heroic narratives shaped, good guy reputations upheld. In 1942, the USA rounded up Japanese-Americans and...

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Watch on the Rhine, Donmar Warehouse review - Lillian Hellman's 1940 play is still asking awkward questions

We’re reminded, in a grainy black and white video framing device, that, as late as the summer of 1941, the USA saw World War II as just another European war. As brilliantly illustrated in Phillip Roth’s The Plot Against America, not only was such...

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From Here to Eternity, Charing Cross Theatre review - Pearl Harbour musical fails to fly

Whorehouses, gay prostitution and suicide – you can see why James Jones’ bestselling 1951 novel was bowdlerised by the publishers and sanitised into subtext by Hollywood for the Oscar-laden movie released a couple of years later. As the extensive...

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SAS Rogue Heroes, BBC One review - rock'n'roll desert warfare from the pen of Steven Knight

Irregular warfare has proved to be a speciality with the British armed forces. This new six-part series, based on Ben Macintyre’s 2016 book, tells the story of the chaotic birth of the Special Air Service during the war in North Africa in 1941, and...

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Eric Ravilious: Drawn to War review - a lovingly crafted documentary portrait

There’s a sharp observation, delivered in Alan Bennett’s soft tones, that sums up the reputation of the painter Eric Ravilious: “Because his paintings are so accessible, I don’t think he’s thought to be a great artist. It’s because of his charm. He’...

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Blu-ray: The Last Metro

The Last Metro (Le dernier métro), from 1980, is without doubt one of François Truffaut’s best films: a story beautifully told, strong on character, sometimes funny and always profoundly moving. Most of the credit has gone to Truffaut and co-stars...

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Das Boot, Series 3, Sky Atlantic review - submarine warfare finds new horizons

The challenge for the makers of Das Boot is to keep finding new ways to move the show forwards and outwards without losing touch with its foundations in World War Two submarine warfare.This wasn’t a problem faced by Wolfgang Petersen when he made...

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The Misfortune of the English, Orange Tree Theatre review - don't fret, boys, it's only death

“We all make history, one way or another.” But some of us make more history than others, and a group of 27 English schoolboys who got lost in Southern Germany in 1936 haven’t made much, unfortunately. Scottish playwright Pamela Carter has brushed...

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Life After Life, BBC Two review - déjà vu all over again

If we could keep living our life over and over again, would we get better at it? This is the premise underpinning Life After Life, the BBC’s four-part adaptation of Kate Atkinson’s novel.The story centres around Ursula Todd, as she grows up with...

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Operation Mincemeat review - Colin Firth and co practise the fine art of deception

The story of the fictitious Major William Martin, whose waterlogged corpse washed up on the Spanish coast in 1943 bearing bogus documents designed to fool the Germans, was previously filmed in 1956 as The Man Who Never Was. That version took a few...

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Koranyi, Hallé, Berglund, Bridgewater Hall, Manchester review - beauty and joy

It’s catching on … for the second consecutive night I heard an orchestra begin by playing, to a standing audience, the Ukrainian national anthem. The previous night it was Opera North’s musicians: this time the Norwegian conductor Tabita Berglund...

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