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Quartet, Trio And Encore DVD Review

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Distributor: Network DVD (available to buy separately)
Certificate: PG | region 2 | 3 discs black and white
Available to buy

Extras: No

Cast: Dirk Bogarde, George Cole, Nora Swinburne, Cecil Parker, Honor Blackman, Nigel Patrick, Michael Hordern, Jean Simmons, Glynis Johns

Back in the 1940’s and 50’s W Somerset Maugham, the celebrated dramatist was at the height of his popular success, so respected was he that three portmanteau movies could be mounted on the strength of his name alone.

Network bring us all three movies (available to buy separately), all little gems and featuring the cream of British acting talent. The stories here channel into that post war brand of everyday drama that would later become province of the TV play but at the time was a hugely important style for the British film industry. It all works brilliantly on DVD of course, intimate and often quiet performances that even 50 odd years later still have the power to move and entertain.

There are some great performances on view here too, especially from the likes of an up and coming Dirk Bogarde, the always excellent Mervyn Johns and his daughter Glynis, a young George Cole, Jean Simmons, Nigel “Old Boy” Patrick and Kay Walsh. Add to this behind the scenes crew involving the likes of scriptwriters Eric Ambler and Ealing specialist T.E.B. Clarke and you have a set of movies that will fit nicely into that space on the shelf marked classic British cinema and are well worth adding to your collection.

The stories featured in each movie are.

QUARTET
1. The Facts of Life – A young man can’t stay away from the gambling tables in Monte Carlo; 2. The Alien Corn – a family disapproves when a young man wants to become a professional pianist.; 3. The Kite – A newly married man has to choose between his passion for kite flying and his unhappy wife; 4. The Colonel’s Lady – A colonel discovers a new side of his wife.

TRIO
1. The Verger – An illiterate man decides to open his own tobacconist shop; 2. Mr Knowall – The story of a man who thinks he knows everything; 3. Sanatorium – Life for a group of terminally ill patients in a sanatorium.

ENCORE
1. The Ant and the Grasshopper – A workshy fop gets his comeuppance from his brother.. or does he?; 2. Winter Cruise – A middle aged spinster goes on a cruise to Jamaica; 3. Gigolo and Gigolette – A trapezist artist gets an unwelcome glimpse into the future when her husbands inherits money.

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