This series looks at the history of the British Empire, starting in about 1914, and taking it through its decline to its final demise in the late 20th Century. It is well made, well presented, and reasonably comprehensive - although, as is perhaps inevitable in such a short series, strongly biased in what it includes and what it leaves out.
The basic premise of the series is that the British Empire was of unalloyed evil, and that it brought nothing but poverty and misery to people who otherwise would have lived in glorious riches and happiness. This premise is 'proved' by a policy, especially in the third part of the series, of presenting the views of self-interested parties, whether critics or supporters of the Empire, as if these views settled the matter. Other opinions, such as those contained in the marvellous book and series on the 1919 Versailles Treaty, were studiously ignored.
Nevertheless, I found the series thoroughly enjoyable and informative, and well worth the watching.
In the advertising world, there is a saying, "If you have something to say, then say it. If not, then sing it." Here, the makers of this movie have neither anything to say, nor the slightest talent for singing.
The film revolves around the alleged fact that Hitler had some relatives (which this documentary does little to prove). But if they existed, they were apparently totally uninteresting nobodies. In short, scarcely worth a 5 minute film segment.
But were the filmmakers discouraged? No way! Presumably because their subject touched upon Adolf Hitler and his Holocaust, they obviously decided to put together their very own Holocaust, a visual attrocity of film cliques and tricks.
If you feel like committing suicide, and choose to die of horror at seeing a badly made documentary, this one is guaranteed to push you over the edge!
This is 'happy family' viewing, that is, it has a whimsical plot that will delight and challenge five year olds, with the charm of Sally Fields to stop grown-ups going totally to sleep.
The film is actually a series of TV episodes, blended into a nice self-contained movie. The plot revolves around a group of amiable nuns, one of whom (Sally Fields) can fly. Every one talks a happy mix of English and Spanish, and everybody is happy. The nuns are happy. Everybody else is happy. Even the unhappy people are happy. It is a happy film.
If you like happy films, especially if you have some five year olds to enjoy it with, you too will be happy.
First the movies, then the music.
This disc contains a collection of some of Charlie's first 'tramp' films, all made in 1914. To 21st Century eyes, the plots are totally alien; there were many times I had no idea at all what was supposed to be going on, though I suppose it all made sense to 1914 audiences. For anybody interested in early Chaplin, or in comedy tumbling, however, this is just pure gold. The clowning around and the physical gags are just brilliant - there is just nothing to even approach them in current movie-making. And by the by, some of the supporting cast, at this stage, are I think every bit as good as Chaplin, who is awesome.
Next, the music. 1914 movies were of course silent, so they have no sound tracks. The DVD makers have fixed this by pasting a collection of Jelly Roll Morton's (New Orleans) 'hot jazz' over the visuals, with little or no attention to matching the sight or the sounds. The music is all from the era 1924-1928, which means that it is distinctly out of time - like putting a Beatles soundtrack over a World War II documentary - but nevertheless it is amongst the very best music ever. If you are like New Orleans jazz, the music alone makes this a worthwhile DVD to get.
In its own little corner of the universe, I think this one of the best films of all time. The story is simple: Monsieur Hulot, uncle to one of the film's characters, seems to be vaguely in need of a job. His brother in law tries to find him one. That's it! On this slim storyline, the film weaves a poem of joy and laughter with very few equals, and no superiors.
I've watched this film over and over for over 40 years, and I still find something new and worthwhile in it at each viewing. I look forward to the next 40 years with it.