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Catherine Cookson - The Tide Of Life (DVD) 27/04/2017

Trying times - How a watch can mean so much when you have nothing

Catherine Cookson - The Tide Of Life (DVD) Film Only Review The Product Film of the TV mini series first aired in 1996 Based on the Catherine Cookson novel of 1976 Director: David Wheatley Producer: Ray Marshall Classification: 12 Studio: ITV Studios Home Entertainment DVD Release Date: 23 July 2007 Run Time: 146 minutes Cost £4 new on Amazon or £2.30 second hand. Main Cast Gillian Kearne - Emily Kennedy John Bowler - Sep McGilby Susie Burton - Lucy Kennedy Justin Chadwick - Con Fullwell Berwick Kaler - John Kennedy James Purefoy - Nick Stuart Outline of Story This was a 1996 mini-series that originally went out over three episodes. It is a film of the 1976 Catherine Cookson novel of the same name. The story is set in the 19th century in the rural and coastal areas of the north of England and the main character is Emily Kennedy. Emily is a young teenage servant and housekeeper. A victim of circumstances, Emily is forced from one employer to another. Honest and hardworking, with a fierce love for her poorly younger sister. There are three distinct sections to this movie, evidently one per episode when first aired. Emily is ever positive against all the odds as she is forced from one family to the next. We see romance, loyalty and struggles. Some beautiful scenery and well-designed sets. My Opinion This was another shortish film to watch at just over 2 hours in total. I was able to view it for free on Youtube. The lead, played by Gillian Kearney is young, pretty but very resourceful and ...

Catherine Cookson - The Fifteen Streets (DVD) 22/04/2017

Realistic period drama, grim and fast paced

Catherine Cookson - The Fifteen Streets (DVD) Film Only Review The Product Film adaptation of Catherine Cookson’s 1952 novel. Main Actors: Owen Teale, Sean Bean, Anny Tobin, Leslie Schofield, Faye Dannell Director: David Wheatley Writers: Catherine Cookson, Rob Bettinson Producers: Geraint Davies, Joanna Gollins, Ray Marshall Classification: 15 Studio: Cinema Club DVD Release Date: 14 April 2003 Run Time: 104 minutes Cost £4.97 new on Amazon or £1.26 second hand. Main Cast Owen Teale as John O'Brien Sean Bean - Dominic O'Brien Anny Tobin - Mary Ellen O'Brien Leslie Schofield - Shane O'Brien Faye Dannell - Katie O'Brien Gillian Hope - Molly O'Brien Scott Frazer - Mick O'Brien Clare Holman - Mary Llewellyn Basic Story This is a TV adaptation of the 1952 novel by Catherine Cookson. It is set around 1900 in Newcastle. Featuring the dockers and their slum dwelling in the ’15 Streets’ and the O’Brian family. Two of the O’Brian sons are at loggerheads – one, Dominic, played by Sean Bean, is a tough and rough drinker and fighter like his father, while the other brother, John, played by Owen Teale (who later featured in Game of Thrones), is a more thoughtful and gentle soul who does not follow the family traits of drinking and fighting. There is another younger brother and two sisters, one of whom is interested in learning and education and has lots of interesting chats with her elder brother John. The daughter is taken under the wing of a female teacher, who is from a much wealthier and refined ...

Catherine Cookson - The Black Velvet Gown (DVD) 18/04/2017

The Velvert gown - the most dazzling part of the story.

Catherine Cookson - The Black Velvet Gown (DVD) Film only review The Product DVD of Catherine Cookson 1984 novel. TV film made in 1991. Actors: Bob Peck, Janet McTeer, Geraldine Somerville, Brendan P. Healy, Jean Anderson Directors: Norman Stone Writers: Catherine Cookson, Gordon Hann Producers: Don Bell, Michael Chaplin, Ray Marshall, Victor Glynn Number of discs: 1 Classification: 15 Studio: ITV Studios Home Entertainment DVD Release Date: 29 Oct. 2008 The film was produced by Worldwide International Production for Tyne Tees Television. Cost New £4.99 on Amazon, £2.21 second hand. Cast Bob Peck - Percival Miller Janet McTeer - Riah Millican Geraldine Somerville - Biddy Millican It won an International Emmy for Best Drama Basic Story In this 1991 TV version of the Catherine Cookson novel written in 1984 we see a young widow with two sons and a daughter. Set in the north of England in the 1830s, homeless, how can she make her way in the world? She takes on a job as housekeeper and is lucky that the old man of the house takes in her three children as well. But things do not run smoothly and she eventually finds herself trapped in the house by circumstances. Will she ever be free to find happiness? The old man believes in education and was once a teacher – but will the learning the children receive be advantageous to them or a hindrance? My Opinion This is set back in the 1830s and we see an impoverished widow caring for her three children and taking on the only job she can get. The ...

Catherine Cookson - Colour Blind (DVD) 14/04/2017

Colour blind? Not in 1915 and still not in 2017

Catherine Cookson - Colour Blind (DVD) Film Only Review The Product Actors: Niamh Cusack, Tony Armatrading, Carmen Ejogo, James Larkin, Art Malik Director: Alan Grint Classification: 12 Studio: ITV DVD DVD Release Date: 4 Jun. 2007 Run Time: 146 minutes Cost £4.88 new on Amazon or £1.77 second hand. Basic Story This TV mini-series is of a Catherine Cookson book which she wrote back in 1953. The story begins in working class Newcastle DURING World War 1, where the lead character in the book, Bridget, played by Niamh Cusack, returns home after a surprise wedding, but her family are shocked when her new husband turns out to be a coloured African sailor. Bridget’s brother is outraged, mainly because there is an undercurrent of him being too closely attached to his sister, which is why she left home in the first instance. The story moves on with the birth of mixed race child, Rose Angela, and the film covers Rose Angela’s life as she faces prejudice growing up, living with her mother as her father had to flee due to an unfortunate incident. My Opinion This was first screened on TV in the 90s in three episodes but it is not overlong at just under two and a half hours. The title of the film does give a clue to the main theme of the story – which is racism and the prejudice towards it. It may be a touchy subject even now and watching this over 100 years after ti was originally set lots of people’s attitudes have not changed very much. The family are shocked and scandalised when Bridget appears on ...

Catherine Cookson - The Black Candle (DVD) 08/04/2017

Good period drama but with some violent scenes

Catherine Cookson - The Black Candle (DVD) Film Only Review The Product 1991 TV Movie Actors: Samantha Bond, Denholm Elliott, Sian Phillips, Nathaniel Parker, Robert Hines Director: Roy Battersby Classification: 15 Studio: ITV Studios Home Entertainment DVD Release Date: 29 Oct. 2008 Run Time: 103 minutes Cost £2.99 new on Amazon or £1.41 second hand. Basic Story This was a movie made for TV in 1991. It is an adaptation of one of Catherine Cookson’s novels. I have not read the novel for comparison but I have seen mentioned that this movie only covers about half the timescale that the book does. The story is set in the north of England in the 1880s. We have one strong woman, played by Samantha Bond, who takes over the factory when her father dies – it is a blacking and candle factory – hence the title of the movie. She is supporting her young cousin. There is also her works manager who has just married and had a baby. However the baby is not his and the secret of this baby’s conception will have severe repercussions for many. Nathaniel Parker, well known for the Inspector Lynley Mysteries, plays the squire’s son, while Robert Hines plays his sensitive and artistic meeker brother. My Opinion This story was new to me and it was a movie I was able to watch on Youtube. It is shorter than some Cookson movies. The leading lady in the tale is Samantha Bond who carries off her character very well. She is strong yet caring and sensitive. Her poor works manager does the decent thing by the woman he has ...

Catherine Cookson - The Dwelling Place (DVD) 02/04/2017

Sometimes bleak, an interesting view of 1830s life for the poor

Catherine Cookson - The Dwelling Place (DVD) Film Only Review The Product TV mini series from 1994. Actors: Tracy Whitwell, James Fox, Edward Rawle-Hicks, Lucy Cohu, Tim Barker Director: Gavin Millar Producer: Ray Marshall Number of discs: 1 Classification: PG Studio: ITV Studios Home Entertainment DVD Release Date: 23 July 2007 Run Time: 149 minutes Cost £3.75 new on Amazon or £2.22 second hand. The Basic Story This film adaptation is based on the 1971 Catherine Cookson novel fo the same name. Based in County Durham in the 1830s, Cissie is the eldest child who is forced to bring up her family alone after both her parents die in a cholera outbreak. The family is soon turned out of their tied cottage, but Cissie refuses to let the family be split up and for the children to go into the Workhouse. Cissie endeavours to keep them all together at whatever cost, even constructing their own little home which is the ‘dwelling’ in the title. My Opinion I used to enjoy quite a few of the Catherine Cookson novels but after a while they seemed to become a little repetitive to me. I have not read this novel but during a chat with someone they mentioned this story so I thought I would follow it up. I found this on Youtube so was able to watch it for free. The running time was just under two and a half hours. I did not really know any of the actors very much, though James Fox is certainly known as was Julie Hesmondhalgh, though it took me a while to place her as the late ‘Hayley’ from Coronation Street! Some ...

Lady In Cement (DVD) 01/04/2017

'The law works for the law. Rome works for money'

Lady In Cement (DVD) FILM ONLY REVIEW The Product Actors: Frank Sinatra, Raquel Welch, Richard Conte, Martin Gabel, Lainie Kazan, Dan Blocker. Director: Gordon Douglas Producer: Aaron Rosenberg Number of discs: 1 Classification: 15 Studio: Twentieth Century Fox DVD Release Date: 3 July 2006 Run Time: 93 minutes Cost £7.20 new on Amazon or £1.40 second hand. Main Cast Frank Sinatra as Tony Rome Raquel Welch as Kit Forrester Dan Blocker as Waldo Gronski Basic Story This is the second film featuring private detective Tony Rome played by Frank Sinatra and was released in 1968. The first film was Miami Mayhen in 1967 and based on three novels by Marvin Albert. Lady in Cement is a detective, gangster type story with some comic elements. The story is actually about a body being discovered embedded by the feet in a block of cement and traces the story of how Tony Rome tries to discover who she was and why she died. Set in and around Miami and certain ‘Go Go’ clubs, we are led into the underworld and their dirty dealings. My Opinion I had not heard of this film before but having seen it reviewed on here I thought I would try and track it down. Luckily I was able to find it on Youtube so watched it last night. In many ways it is a light-hearted film and also of its time in the 60s. Cue lots of 'groovy' 60s style music! Of course we have actress Rachel Welsh who is the iconic face and figure of the age – we see her in skimpy clothes and bathing suits. Also rather distasteful to ...

Panic Room (DVD) 25/03/2017

Panic Room - the love of money is the root of all evil

Panic Room (DVD) FILM ONLY REVIEW The Product Actors: Jodie Foster, Forest Whitaker, Jared Leto, Kristen Stewart Director: David Fincher Classification: 15 Sony Pictures Home Entertainment DVD Release Date: 28 Oct. 2002 Run Time: 107 minutes ASIN: B00006681E Cost Amazon this is only £1.29 new and delivered. Basic Story Well as the name suggests the film is based around a ‘panic room’, those supposedly impregnable structures built into the homes of the very rich and famous. Panic Room was directed by David Fincher based on a screenplay written by David Koepp. The story features Jodie Foster as the newly divorced mother and her eleven year old daughter played by Kristen Stewart. They move into a four storey house in New York, which had previously been occupied by a wealthy recluse, who had a secret panic room installed The three thieves who break in are played by Jared Leto, supposedly the previous owner’s grandson, Forest Whitaker and Dwight Yoakam. The attempted burglary goes wrong almost immediately, in that they thought the house was still empty but the mother and daughter had moved in early. Surely mum and daughter will be safe as they have the panic room? But things don’t always work out as you would expect and nowhere is safe. My Opinion This film soon struck me as a more grown up version of Home Alone. Where residents pit their wits against some burglars. Here we have three burglars, and they are not the brightest, being almost comedic in places with their ...

Sherlock Holmes And The Pearl Of Death (DVD) 18/03/2017

...What big hands you have!!

Sherlock Holmes And The Pearl Of Death (DVD) FILM ONLY REVIEW The Product 1944 B&W Sherlock Holmes movie Director: Roy William Neill Number of discs: 1 Classification: PG Studio: Cornerstone Media DVD Release Date: 25 Sept. 2006 Run Time: 68 minutes Cost £1.64 second hand on Amazon or £5.99 new. Main Actors Basil Rathbone as Sherlock Holmes Nigel Bruce as Dr. John H. Watson Dennis Hoey as Inspector Lestrade Miles Mander as Giles Conover Rondo Hatton as The Creeper The Basic Story This is the ninth film featuring Basil Rathbone as Sherlock Holmes and Nigel Bruce as Doctor Watson. The story is loosely based on the Conan Doyle story of the Six Napoleons. The feature of the story is in the title – a large pearl. The criminal, played by Miles Mander, manages to steal this expensive Borgia Pearl from under Holmes’ nose in a supposedly well protected museum. The story is then on to find it. My Opinion This is a great old black and white movie. I was going to watch it on TV but we did not have the right channel so I ended up watching a copy on Youtube. The film is just over an hour long. I find the combination of Rathbone and Bruce one of the best for Holmes and Watson characters. They seem to encapsulate how I imagine the characters to be – Holmes is tall and very confident and self-assured, while Watson is stockier, more quietly spoken and in some instances a little bumbling. This is a fast paced movie which has lots of suspense. Of course being over 70 years old it is obviously dated but for me that ...

Nineteen Minutes - Jodi Picoult 16/03/2017

What were you - school bully or victim?

Nineteen Minutes - Jodi Picoult The Product 2008 novel by Jodi Picoult Paperback: 608 pages Publisher: Hodder Paperbacks (15 Aug. 2013) ISBN-13: 978-1444754360 Cost £8.99 new on Amazon or else £3.78 second hand. Also available on Kindle or Audible. The Basic Story This is a novel by the well known author Jodi Picoult and came out in 2007, ending up as number one on the New York Times’ Best Seller’s list. The '19 minutes' refers to how quickly a person’s life can change. The main premise of the story surrounds high school children in Sterling, New Hampshire, and a shooting incident. The main characters are Peter Houghton, his parents Lacy and Lewis Houghton, Peter’s one time childhood friend Josie Cormier, Josie’s mother Alex Cormier and police detective Patrick Ducharme. The book examines their lives over a number of years leading up to the shooting and examines the role of the bully and how schildren and teenagers always want to fit in with the ‘in crowd’. My Opinion I do not think I have read any of Jodi Picoult’s novels before so this was new to me. It was picked by our local book group so was not one that I would maybe have really picked for myself. However I decided to give the book a good try and did get through it. In fact I did find it quite engrossing and was waiting for the end to see what was going to happen, through in some parts Jodi Picoult did go into lots of detail. Originally I did not realise that virtually the whole book relates and build up to this high school ...

Cinderella (2015) (DVD) 11/03/2017

'Where there is kindness, there is goodness.'

Cinderella (2015) (DVD) FILM ONLY REVIEW The Product Lily James as Cinderella with Richard Madden, Cate Blanchett, Stellan Skarsgård, Holliday Grainger, Derek Jacobi, and Helena Bonham Carter. It is produced by David Barron, Simon Kinberg and Allison Shearmur for Walt Disney Pictures. Number of discs: 1 Classification: U Studio: Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment DVD Release Date: 24 Aug. 2015 Run Time: 113 minutes ASIN: B00V6C5Z0Q Cost £4.49 second hand on Amazon or £5 new. The Basic Story Well this is a fairy tale that most people know, though some stories vary a little in the telling. This version has Ella as the daughter of a merchant. She has an idyllic home life with a doting mother and father. Even when her mother dies she lives a charmed existence with her father. This all began to change however when he married a widow with two spoilt daughters. Life may not have been too bad but the father dies on a business trip, leaving Ella to the mercy of her stepmother. We then see the decline fo Ella’s life until she is merely an unpaid servant in the household. When the Prince declares that all the young girls in the kingdom should go to a ball of course Ella (now known as Cinderella) is forbidden to go. However a fairy godmother steps in and the rest is magical. The Clothes I’m sure for little girls the clothes in a fairy tale are quite important. It seems that major efforts were put in with this movie to ensure that the dresses were superb. Both the Princes items and the ...

The Persuaders! - The Complete Series (DVD) 10/03/2017

'Nitro and glycerine' - who can resist Moore and Curtis together!

The Persuaders! - The Complete Series (DVD) Programme Only Review The Product Tony Curtis, Roger Moore, Laurence Naismith, Directors: Leslie Norman, Roy Ward Baker, Basil Dearden, Val Guest, Sidney Hayers Number of discs: 9 PG Release Date: 19 Sept. 2011 Run Time: 1300 minutes ASIN: B005K8I5PY Cost Currently £24 for a new set on Amazon. Second hand ones are more expensive! Show’s Premise This series of 24 shows was a follow on from The Saint in which Roger Moore stared. The shows were produced by ITC Entertainment, and were a light hearted detective, adventure, comedy type show. The shows were broadcast weekly from late 1971 through to 1972. Each show was around and hour including adverts – actually the shows themselves were around 51 minutes. The idea was to partner two opposites, Roger Moore being the suave stylish Lord while Tony Curtis was the self-made New York millionaire. The idea sprung from one of the last Saint episodes where Moore teamed up with a brash Texan, though he was nowhere near as entertaining a foil as Tony Curtis went on to become. Both Moore and Curtis had all the money they needed and were jaded with life, a sort of pair of jet-set playboys. So The Judge, Laurence Naismith, who was actually retired, and who wanted to track down criminals he could not imprison by legal means back in his career, decided to partner these two mavericks together – they were like chalk and cheese, but although opposed to the idea at first they then became firm friends and go on an adventure of sorts in ...

Swan SU4010GRN 09/03/2017

Lightweight triangle sweeper - a quick pick up job

Swan SU4010GRN The Product Swan SU4010GRN Triangular Sweeper - Green Efficient electric floor brush Cordless operation Compact and delicate cosmetic design Low noise design Rechargeable with LED indicator light Powered by a 1500mAh rechargeable battery and offering 15 minutes runtime from one full charge A transparent window for easy dust-bin release ensures hassle-free emptying. Cost Price:£18.99 with free delivery on Amazon. Although now out of stock the Swan website lists it as £29.99. Why Purchase? I have had a rechargeable Gtech which was super, but after many years of use the handle snapped and then my son threw away the charging cable by accident so it was cheaper to buy a new one rather than repair the old version. However looking at Gtech these days they were much more expensive than when I bought mine, and as I only wanted a lightweight sweeper for days when I was feeling weak and did not want to have to lift my heavier Morphy Richards one I could not justify the cost. So I have been searching quietly for a while and as I had some Amazon vouchers I looked there. Some good ones were around the £32 mark but then I found this triangle sweeper at under £20. To me it looked a bit like a dinky toy but it had some positive reviews and Swan is also a well-known company and it has a limited 2 year guarantee so I decided to order one. What You Get? The sweeper arrived quickly and in a sturdy box. All was very well (over) wrapped with each component in a separate plastic ...

Rachel And The Stranger (DVD) 04/03/2017

Not your standard sort of 'Western', more a gentle romance

Rachel And The Stranger (DVD) FILM ONLY REVIEW The Product 1948 black and white film Loretta Young, William Holden, Robert Mitchum, Gary Gray Director: Norman Foster Classification: PG DVD Release Date: 20 Sept. 2010 Run Time: 80 minutes Cost £10.25 new on Amazon. The Basic Story Young widower with a child buys himself a female ‘wife’ to care for his house and child. Will his eyes be opened to her charms when his friend starts taking an interest in her? My Opinion This was based on the Howard Fast short story "Rachel". This was a low budget film which featured well-known actors from the time. I don’t normally watch ‘Westerns’ but husband had recorded this from one of the numerous film channels and it actually appeared to be interesting so I decided to watch it. The ‘Rachel’ from the title turns out to be a ‘bondswoman’ – sold to pay off her father’s debts. This was supposedly in Ohio in frontier country and I was not aware of this practice of buying and selling white people having taken place like that. Rachel is supposed to be in her mid-twenties when she gets sold to David, played by William Holden. This is purely a mercenary affair as Holden is a widower with a young son who wants someone to cook and clean and care for his son. He does not want a ‘wife’ but due to the proprieties of the time it would have been unseemly to ‘live in sin' so they do get married – but it is a marriage in name only. We see life in the little log cabin, with Rachel trying to make the best of things, keep ...

The Man Who Haunted Himself (DVD) 01/03/2017

Roger Moore as you have not seen him before!

The Man Who Haunted Himself (DVD) FILM ONLY REVIEW The Product The Man Who Haunted Himself – DVD Film originally released in 1970 Staring Roger Moore Director: Basil Dearden Based on the novel The Strange Case of Mr Pelham by Anthony Armstrong Classification: PG Run Time: 90 minutes Cost Currently selling at £7.99 on Amazon. The Basic Story This is classed as a psychological thriller and is a departure from what we normally see with Roger Moore. Moore plays staid and conservative worker Harold Pelham. He seems a stuffy and uptight sort of guy, but is quickly involved in a near death car crash. The crash does not seem to have been an accident; did supernatural forces play a part? After the crash Moore recovers but is plagued by coincidences – people claim to have had conversations he does not recall and he has been seen in places where he could not have been. Is he going mad – or is there another explanation? My Opinion Until recently I had not even heard of this film as it is not one that is well known and I have not seen it re-run on TV at all. Apart from his role as James Bond I am mostly used to Roger Moore as the smooth Simon Templar character in The Saint, or else playing alongside Tony Curtis in The Persuaders. In all these roles he is cool, suave and charming. This film however shows him as a completely different character, also sporting a moustache! I was able to see this film on Youtube but admittedly it was not a very good recording. It seems odd in a way to see Moore as a ...
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