October 23, 2014

Hammer Films – The Unsung Heroes

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When offered the choice to review a new book on the history of Britain's legendary Hammer film company, I jumped at the chance – I've had a soft spot for cheesy horror films for a number of years, and have often wanted a broader knowledge of the Hammer House of Horror's Gothic classics. Sadly, and with no disrespect intended to the book, this really wasn't the place for me to start. Let me begin by saying that this book is hardcore. Focusing not on the actors and familiar faces of the … [Read more...]

Bronco Bullfrog (1969)

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Angry, disaffected youth. Gang violence, robbery and unemployment in decaying post-industrial East London. Youthful optimism amongst a bitter lack of work and no hope of escaping to a better life. If it sounds familiar, it is for good reason – over 40 years after release, this film captures issues that still remain prominent throughout 21st century UK. For what could have been another low budget Swinging London flick with a weak title, this is a notable achievement. Another release from … [Read more...]

The Pleasure Girls (1965)

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“Illicit love, passion, brutality, riotous parties and sudden heartbreak all play their part in this frank story of five bachelor girls who seek fame and fortune amid the bright lights of London.” A ‘Swinging London’ film of the mid-‘60s, The Pleasure Girls focuses on the life and times of five ‘bachelor’ girls living out of their Chelsea flat in a tight time frame of one weekend. Sally (Francesca Annis) is fresh from the countryside and drawn to London to move in with friends and begin … [Read more...]

The Party’s Over (1965)

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Forty-five years since the completion of The Party’s Over, the uncut original of this controversial and critic-battered film is finally to see the light of day. Rescued from the archives where it has lain since 1965, following the unsuccessful run of a heavily censored and edited version, the British Film Institute have published the uncut, pre-release film as part of its “Flipside” range of DVDs exploring obscure and hard to find pieces of British cinema. Facing extraordinary difficulty on … [Read more...]

Whatshisname: The Life and Death of Charles Hawtrey

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Though Hawtrey’s face and voice are familiar to anyone who has even flicked past a Carry On, few are familiar with his personal history or private life (ergo the title, Whatshisname) or the length and depth of his career. In truth the actor’s seedy and quite miserable private life are a great contrast to his charming onscreen persona and modestly impressive achievements in an acting career which started young, though never reached the heights he so desperately craved. These contrasts and … [Read more...]