DVD - Round-up

From Luchino Visconti’s 1963 masterpiece The Leopard to more recently Marco Tullio Giordana’s six-hour Best of Youth, Italians have always had a certain flair for the familial epic. Made in 1976, Bernardo Bertolucci’s 1900 (Novecento) (Fox, 4 Stars) is one of the best. It follows the lives and interconnections between two men (Robert De Niro and Gérard Depardieu), one of peasant stock, one from the land owning classes, who are both born on the same day in 1900. This highly purchasable reissue is, however, not the long promised original uncut five-and-a-half hour version of the film which features explicit sex scenes with the leads and Italian goddess Stefania Casini and an alleged scene of prepubescent boys examining each other’s penises.

Another country that was torn apart by political turmoil in the early part of last century was Ireland, not that you would know it from Leonard Abrahamson’s strikingly downbeat (you could even say Beckett-ian) junkie drama Adam and Paul (Metrodome, 4 Stars). This is modern day Dublin seen through the eyes of two strung out heroin addicts. Full of pathos and incidental joys (and heartbreaks), if you can stomach it, Adam and Paul really is worth seeking out.

There’s some really odd collections out this fortnight, the cheeky George Formby Collection (Optimum, 3 Stars) features two of the buck toothed ukulele playing vaudeville star’s best cinematic turns No Limit and Let George Do It. This is broad, dated stuff but not without a sort of innocent appeal. Sadly, both the Terry Thomas Collection (pictured) and the Sid James Collection (both Optimum, both, 2 Stars) feature a tawdry selection of these two gifted performers’ lesser works. You’d be better going for the beautifully presented Elvis Presley Collectors Edition Tin (Fox, 4 Stars) featuring the handful of half decent films that the King made, including Love Me Tender, Flaming Star (see Elvis with a beard!) and Frankie and Johnny.

And that’s it. We haven’t even had time to consider the cheesy charms of Jacques Cousteau: The Ultimate Collection (Delta, 3 Stars) or Alex Cox’s pneumatically re-released Sid and Nancy (Momentum, 4 Stars). Next time we will be looking to the clouds and the stars while masked Mexican wrestlers pull us into the dirt.

(Paul Dale)

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