Wednesday, 7 April 2021  |  Admin

Soon after publishing Laxdale Hall on DVD, which was Rikki Fulton's first film appearance, I purchased a collection of 16 mm films and audio tapes made privately by Rikki himself.

Amongst a set of holiday movies, filmed by Rikki, were two 1920s style silent films.

Emma's Dilemma is about a young lady living with her father, trying to escape from her lecherous landlord.

Tuesday, 30 March 2021  |  Admin

In 1939 a young Swedish singer, Lale Andersen, recorded Lili Marlene, a sentimental love song, and when it was played to the Afrika Corps via Radio Belgrade, which had the most powerful short wave transmitter available to the German Army, it became a big hit with the lonely soldiers in the deserts of North Africa.

But when this ballad began to be adopted as a battle song by both opposing armies, Joseph Goebbels, propaganda minister for the Third Reich, used his knowledge of her Jewish sympathies to silence Lale Andersen, and had her taken to a concentration camp. The song's fame grew and it was also recorded by Vera Lynn, Anne Shelton and Marlene Dietrich.

Thursday, 25 March 2021  |  Admin

Whilst writing film scores and playing jazz dates and classical events all over the world, Roy Budd had always harboured the dream to write the music for the 1925 silent film classic, The Phantom of the Opera. In June 1993, he finally finished writing, orchestrating and recording his music.

The symphonic score was his last composition before his untimely death in 1993, shortly before he was due to conduct his new creation, with an orchestra of 84 musicians at the Barbican, London, then The Paris Opera and The Berlin Opera. Along with the DVD release of the film, this is the first time Roy Budd's final score has been released to the public for their enjoyment. The CD booklet also includes exclusive photos of Roy conducting and editing the music for The Phantom of the Opera.

Wednesday, 24 March 2021  |  Admin

A Different World  offers a nuanced and subtle look into interwar Poland and the relationship between Jews and Poles... I know of no other film that is as balanced, as comprehensive, as moving and as poignant. It is morally compelling that it be brought forth to 21st century audiences”.  Michael Berenbaum, Professor of Jewish Studies at the American Jewish University, author of The World Must Know.

“Raye Farr's fine documentary A Different World, paints the prewar scene vividly, using eyewitness interviews and authentic film; the images of Jewish life and presence are clear and memorable... Anyone seriously interested in the history of our times will want to see A Different World.” Sir Jeremy Isaacs, excecutive producer, The World at War.

Wednesday, 24 March 2021  |  Admin

A restless businessman always seeking new challenges, a feckless banker facing ruin, and two beautiful women torn between these two, plus the conflict between migrants and the indigenous peoples, could easily describe a tale of political turmoil! Instead these are the ingredients for one of the great Westerns, Canyon Passage, based on The Saturday Evening Post novel by Ernest Haycox.

Set in 1850s Oregon Territory, with horsepower and wagons the vehicles of business long before the iron horse or even the rickety stagecoach were to revolutionise transport, Jacques Tourneur portrays the life of the early settlers in the stunning scenery of Oregon, with a fast-paced feast of action and romance.

Wednesday, 10 March 2021  |  Admin

If Rhonda Fleming, with Maureen O’Hara and Susan Hayward, were hailed as “The Queen of Technicolor”, then surely Lana Turner, with Bette Davis and Joan Crawford, would be at least short-listed as “The Queen of Melodrama”.

Madame X is based on Alexandre Bisson’s stage which opened in Paris on December 15 1908. An English translation by John Raphael opened in New York City on 2 January 1910 and ran to 125 performances. Madame X has been filmed several times, most notably with Ruth Chatterton and Lewis Stone, directed by Lionel Barrymore in an early sound version of 1929, and Gladys George and Warren William, directed by Sam Wood (A Night at the Opera) and Gustav Muchaty in the 1937 productions. Both of these were MGM productions. Tuesday Weld and Jeremy Brett also starred in a Universal TV movie of the play in 1981, directed by Robert Ellis Miller.

Thursday, 4 March 2021  |  Admin

As Britain entered the Second World War, film was an essential way of maintaining public morale and keeping the public informed about the progress in the war and The GPO Film Unit became the Crown Film Unit in 1940. Many other commercial film units including The Shell Film Unit, Paul Rotha Productions and BP turned their cameras to the war effort and countless "propaganda" films were produced for cinema release.

Scotland's X-Files is a compilation of rare films made in Scotland, culled from the Imperial War Museums Film Archives, presented with subtitles, and on DVD for the very first time.

Tuesday, 2 March 2021  |  Admin

Seawards the Great Ships (1960) was the first Scottish made film to win an Oscar, for best Live Action Short Film of 1961. The film paid tribute to the internationally recognised achievements of Clyde shipbuilding. It was released at the beginning of a decade that was to see the River Clyde's long established predominance in world shipping slip into financial decline and human disillusionment - a decade that was to end with government rescue packages and the emotive years of the UCS 'work-in' - a workers' occupation of the yards in the fight to prevent their closure.

Tuesday, 2 March 2021  |  Admin

If Laxdale Hall had been an Ealing comedy it would probably have attracted a lot more critical and public attention over the years. It shares a similar theme with several Ealing classics of ordinary people rebelling against officialdom, boasts a great cast and marks the screen debuts of both Rikki Fulton and Prunella Scales, as well as a very early appearance by Fulton Mackay. And indeed it might well have been an Ealing comedy. Eric Linklater originally devised the story for Sir Michael Balcon at Ealing Studios, which had of course had a major hit with Whisky Galore!, which came out in 1948. Linklater subsequently turned the story into a novel, published in 1951.

Tuesday, 2 March 2021  |  Admin

Stanley Livingstone Russell, a Glaswegian born in 1905, had trained in law. His passion however was film making.  With Jack Robertson and others, Russell formed the Meteor Film Producing Society in 1932 and became its Secretary. Through Meteor, they organised the Scottish Amateur Film Festival. First held in 1933, it claimed not only to be the first of its kind in Scotland, but also the world.

Emboldened by the success of his hobby, amateur cinema, he decided to move into professional film making. At the time, it was said of Russell, that with his good-looks, tall stature and snappy dress-sense, he could have been a film star- but his  passion for film  lay behind the camera.  In May 1936, he joined inventor and entrepreneur Malcolm Irvine’s production company Scottish Films. The company, established in 1928, with studios in Glasgow’s India Street  had started out to make silent films, but the advent of ‘talkies’ soon afterwards had hit the young company hard.  Irvine had designed and built a sound recording system to enable Scottish Films to compete in the new world of talking pictures.  However work on his home made system, Albion Truphonic, and the associated costs of re-equipping for sound production had slowed the production of films.  Russell’s appointment was designed to  re-energise the company.

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