thu 20/06/2024

World War Two

Dance First - the travails of Samuel Beckett

Dance First takes its title from a line in Samuel Beckett’s most famous work Waiting for Godot. “Perhaps he could dance first and think afterwards,” says the tramp Estragon of Pozzo’s slave Lucky, who then proceeds to do both in a typically absurd...

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Powell and Pressburger: Spy masters

Alfred Hitchcock and Michael Powell are, almost certainly, Britain’s greatest directors. Hitchcock was slightly older, and entered the film business earlier; in fact, Powell worked as a stills photographer on Hitchcock’s Champagne and...

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Powell and Pressburger: Battleships and Byron

Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger made a glorious run of movies from The Spy in Black (1939) to The Small Back Room (1949). Yet the duo’s reputation went into steep decline in the 1950s, and they began to encounter difficulty in...

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Michael Powell interview - 'I had no idea that critics were so innocent'

Michael Powell fell in love with his celluloid mistress in 1921 when he was 16. It’s a love affair that he’s conducted for 65 years. At 81, he’s not stopped dreaming of getting behind the camera again. At Cannes this year he hinted at plans to make...

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They had a good war: Powell and Pressburger's no-nonsense heroines

In the current reappraisal of Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger, what to make of the depiction of women in their key films, that striking tribe of Isoldes with chestnut hair and passionate natures?Powell (1905-90), a man of Kent whose love for...

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Songs of Wars I Have Seen, RSNO, Dunedin Consort, Slorach, Queen's Hall, Edinburgh review - moving portrayal of wartime diaries

Songs of Wars I Have Seen is an hour-long through=composed work by contemporary German composer Heiner Goebbels which combines the music of 17th century composer Matthew Locke, the text from the wartime diaries of American Jewish writer Gertude...

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Operation Epsilon, Southwark Playhouse review - alternative Oppenheimer

Must science always be dominated by politics? This question is most urgent when the stakes are high – climate change or nuclear weapons. And it is grimly true that the fact that audiences are still interested in the race for the atom bomb between...

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The White Factory, Marylebone Theatre review - what price dignity in hell?

This powerful play’s immediate backstory, with Moscow sentencing its author to eight years’ jail and its director going into forced exile, is not its immediate theme – and all the better for it, for how can anyone yet make any authentic dramatic...

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World on Fire, Series 2, BBC One - return of Peter Bowker's panoramic view of World War Two

Writer Peter Bowker apparently had plans to make six series of World on Fire, but the arrival of Covid after 2019’s first series threw a spanner in the works. Anyway, here’s the second one at last, and it’s a little strange to find that this...

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DVD/Blu-ray: Western Approaches

Writer-director Pat Jackson’s Western Approaches (1944), a Technicolor tour de force partly shot in turbulent seas by Jack Cardiff, is a stirring World War II story documentary that demonstrates the bravery, resilience, selflessness, and collective...

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Operation Mincemeat, Fortune Theatre review - high-octane musical comedy hits the big time

It’s back yet again, Operation Mincemeat, a gift of a story that goes on giving. It surfaced as the 1956 film The Man Who Never Was, based on a 1953 book by Ewen Montagu, one of the MI5 types who came up with the 1943 plan of that name. Its latest...

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A different angle on the Anne Frank story in 'A Small Light'

The Diary of Anne Frank became a Broadway play and has formed the basis of a lengthy catalogue of films and TV series, but the name of Miep Gies is rather less well-known. Yet without Gies the Anne Frank story might never have reached the wider...

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