A film by Bill Douglas
With Robin Soans, Imelda Staunton, Philip Davis,
Vanessa Redgrave, Robert Stephens, James Fox, Michael Horden, Freddie Jones, Barbara Windsor, Murray Melvin, Michael Clarke and Keith Allen
The epic story of the Tolpuddle Martyrs, six Dorset labourers deported to Australia in the 1830s for forming a trade union
Unfolding in the pastoral haze of Dorset and the blinding light of Australia, this is a beautiful film, rich with carefully layered visual illusions and nuances. With moving, profound performances throughout, Comrades – a compelling account of struggle and injustice – is also a tale of history, storytelling and the way we see our world. 2009 marks the 175th anniversary of the London demonstrations which were instrumental in securing the Martyrs’ pardon and return.
This distinctive feature from Bill Douglas, a director of singular vision – better known for his autobiographical Trilogy than for this extraordinary epic – is presented in a new High-Definition restoration and is available for the first time ever on DVD and Blu-ray in a 2-disc set with over 2 hours of special features.
The release coincides with the BFI’s Blu-ray release of the Bill Douglas Trilogy (My Childhood (1972), My Ain Folk (1973), My Way Home (1978)) on the same day.
Special features on Disc 2
- Lanterna Magicka – Bill Douglas & the Secret History of Cinema (2009, 60 mins), an insightful new documentary on Douglas’s life and work
- Visions of: Comrades (2009, 15 mins), cast-members recall making the film
- Bill Douglas interviews (1978, 33 mins), exclusive presentation of a remarkable interview in which Douglas discusses his method and creating approach to writing and directing
- Home and Away (Michael Alexander, 1974, 30 mins), charming short film co-scripted by Douglas
- Original Comrades trailer
- On-set report from the set of Comrades
- Illustrated booklet with essays, production material and credits