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Laurence Olivier Centenary Collection DVD Review



Distributor: Network DVD
Certificate: 15 | region 2 | 1475 minutes | 10 Disc set

Cast: Laurence Olivier, Joan Plowright, Helen Mirren, Frank Finlay, Anthony Nicholls, Michael Jayston, Denis Lawson, Denis Quilley, Constance Cummings, Cedric Hardwicke, Ralph Richardson, Greta Scacchi, Malcolm McDowell, Robert Wagner, Donald Pleasance, John Gielgud.

If you ask anyone to name the most important British actor of the 20th century few would disagree with Lord Laurence Olivier, a bonafide legend in his own lifetime, always the most showy of the great actors Olivier loved the stage but knew that cinema was a genuine art form in its own right and naturally gravitated towards TV in his later years. Having succumbed to Hollywood in the late 1930’s Olivier was a huge star, a romantic leading man with roles in Wuthering Heights and Rebecca who then made some of the best Shaspearian movies ever committed to celluloid before settling maybe for a position as the grand old man of stage, screen and TV.

To celebrate the centenary of the great man’s birth (22 May 1907) Network have pulled out all the stops for an absolutely stunning 10 disc collection featuring some of his best loved film roles and some classic performances for the small screen including the long on most people’s wish list Laurence Olivier Presents… The Best Play Of, his 1976 series for ATV. Destined to be on most peoples releases of the year list this Centenary collection is absolutely a must have.

The full run down of productions is.

Henry V
Olivier’s mind blowing interpretation of Shakespeare’s play, made in 1945 and shot in glorious colour and with its glorious realisation of the battle of Agincourt and beginning and ending the movie as it was a performance at teh Globe Theatre during Shakespeare’s time. Extras include the theatrical trailer and an image gallery.

Richard III
Olivier’s real triumph as actor and director where he uses his sexual magnetism to make evil glamorous and a Richard that explores this in great detail.

King Lear
Superb 1983 ITV production with Olivier unsurpassable in the role as the ageing King who has plans for his three daughters, packed to the rafters with brilliant acting talent including the likes of Diana Rigg, Robert Lindsay and John Hurt.

The Ebony Tower
Olivier plays Breasley, an elderly painter who has his solitary life (save for the presence of two most nude young girls, Greta Scacchi and Toyah Wilcox) disrupted by the arrival of a younger artist who has been commissioned to write a biography of Breasley.

Long Day’s Journey Into Night
This National Theatre production by ATV of Eugene O’Neills autobiographical play was a prominent success in the states winning Olivier an Emmy in the process, he’s backed up by superb playing from the likes of Ronald Pickup, Maureen Lipman and Denis Quilley. Also includes an image gallery.

The Merchant of Venice
Another National Theatre transcription, this time of Jonathan Miller’s electrifying 1930’s set take on The Merchant of Venice

Olivier takes on the role of the vengeful moneylender of Venice, Shylock, in Jonathan Miller’s brilliant London stage production.

Laurence Olivier Presents
This staging of various plays targeting various years of the 20th century was a major enterprise from Olivier who devoted some considerable time to the series. It was big budget stuff as befitting someone of the stature of Olivier who had plans to produce a play for every year of the century but in the end only 6 were produced. Olivier himself co-directed Hindle Wakes which marked his debut as a TV director.

The plays were:-
1. 1960: THE COLLECTION With:- Alan Bates / Helen Mirren / Malcom McDowell
2. 1955: CAT ON A HOT TIN ROOF With:- Natalie Wood / Robert Wagner / Maureen Stapleton / Jack Hedley
3. 1912: HINDLE WAKES With:- Donald Pleasance / Rosemary Leach / Jack Hedley / Pat Heywood / Rosalind Ayres / Roy Dotrice
4. 1973: SATURDAY SUNDAY MONDAY With:- Edward Woodward, Frank Finlay, Celia Gregory
5. 1950: COME BACK LITTLE SHEBA With:- Patience Collier / Joanne Woodward / Carrie Fisher
6. 1949: DAPHNE LAUREOLA With:- Arthur Lowe / Joan Plowright

The South Bank Show: Laurence Olivier, A Life
Last but by no means least is this masterly 1980’s two hour special edition of The South Bank Show celebrating the great man’s life and work, a genuine treat, this is full of revealing moments and candid interviews.



Dave Saint Show, The (UK Play 2000, John Thomson, Alexander Kirk)




UK Play Logo

The Dave Saint Show was a comedy about a useless heavy metal DJ on a local radio station. As was usual with with shows on extra terrestrial channel UK Play music videos were interspersed throughout the show.

production details
UK / UK Play – Channel X / x30 minute episodes / Broadcast 2000

Writers: Alexander Kirk, Simon Messingham / Script Consultant: Stacy Herbert / Music: Steve Cripps, Dan Mendford / Costumes: Pookie Russell / Producer: Jim Reid / Director: Mark Mylod

JOHN THOMSON as Dave Saint

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Game of Thrones Season Six Opener reviews from around and about




Assorted reviews from the interweb of the season six opener for Game Of Thrones.

Game of Thrones is back, with a premiere full of shocks, bloody acts and creepy reveals – but no definite answer about the fate of Jon Snow.

Season six is the first time the TV series has moved ahead of George RR Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire book series, so even dedicated readers have no idea what will happen. Reviewers say the first episode, The Red Woman, resolved some of the cliffhangers from the last series, but also has a few shocks in store, including one very creepy reveal involving a leading lady.

“The tension was incredible,” says Ed Power in the Daily Telegraph.

Season six opened with the camera swooping low over Castle Black and pausing on noble Jon Snow after his bloody run-in with the traitorous Night’s Watch.

“Alas, the Bastard of Winterfell (Kit Harington) was, for the time being at least, staying very dead indeed,” says Power. This was confirmed by “a haunting close-up of his waxy visage and the pool of scarlet arranged like a skewed halo”.

Short of spelling out: “He’s dead!” in huge flaming letters, the writers couldn’t have driven the point home harder, adds the critic, who asks whether this was “a sadistic riposte to fans” who have waited a year to see if their heart-throb will return or “a sleight-of-hand intended to make his eventual reappearance all the more dramatically satisfying”.

Christopher Hooton in The Independent writes: “The last season of Game of Thrones didn’t so much end on a cliff-hanger as a splat on the beach below. Jon Snow is unequivocally dead,” or so we’ve been repeatedly told over the past few months.

However, he adds, the sheer amount of screen time given to his body “suggested more than just a ‘funeral then we all move on with our lives’ narrative”.

With the “obligatory Jon Snow death check” out of the way, this episode was mostly about setting up the playing field for the rest of the season, continues the critic.

Indeed, it was “a sombre, sturdy opening”, says Matt Fowler on IGN. While “not a high watermark for the show”, the series’ opener resolved some cliff-hangers and included “a big creepy reveal regarding Melisandre right at the end”.

It also set up the pieces on the chessboard and managed to touch upon just about every character in the ensemble, says the journalist, a much easier task these days, “now that the herd is so thin”.

Yes, it was a “table-setting episode”, says Daniel Fienberg at the Hollywood Reporter, as premieres are supposed to be. The episode did what it needed, putting this mammoth locomotive back on the track.

Being Game of Thrones, however, there were a few shockers, including some gory violence and nudity that is “more shocking in its narrative ramifications than its gratuity or titillation”. And while the answer to Snow’s wellbeing comes quickly, says Fienberg, “it needn’t necessarily be permanent, because what things are?”

Source: The Week

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Columbo Series Three Region 1 DVD Review




Distributor: Universal Home Entertainment

Certificate: Not Rated | 11 Hours and 24 minutes
Available to buy

Extras: Yes

Peter Falk, Martin Sheen, Vincent Price, Deidre Hall, Jackie Cooper

The Columbo releases from Universal are now upto the third season and of course by now it is full steam ahead as Columbo really hits its stride, of course the basic premise of the show dictates that we know who the killer is right from the get go but by the third season the audience was lapping up the way the Superlative Peter Falk as Lt Columbo doggedly pursued

his villain who were always lulled into a false sense of security by Columbo’s grubby mac, battered old car and down at heel demeanour, all tactics designed to throw the suspect off guard before he lets them know that he knows they did it.

Spread over two double sided discs this nicely put together set features all 8 feature length season three episodes, Columbo’s cases include the mysterious death of a well known author, a country singer who is prime suspect in a murder case, he also finds time to uncover police corruption and political skullduggery. Columbo also always managed to attract a high level of guest and this series includes the legendary Johnny Cash in the episode Swan Song as well as the likes of

Jose Ferrier, Vincent Price, Martin Sheen, Dana Elcar and Robert Culp. A classy slice of 1970’s Tec TV Heaven, Columbo always entertains and should be on any Classic TV fans must have list.

There’s a great bonus episode from the series Mrs Columbo (which many have claimed isn’t a spin off from Columbo but having now seen an episode it clearly is) this is called Murder Is A Parlour Game (from 1979) and features Kate Mulgrew as Kate Columbo, journalist on a small local paper and married to a never seen Lt Columbo, she investigates when a suicide case appears to be murder, the excellent Donald Pleasance guest stars, this is great fun and is hopefully a precursor to the whole series getting a release.

Please note: This article predates the published date and is from the old HTML version of Memorable TV and is part of our From The Archives collection.

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