dc: (Doctor)
Earlier in the week, I chilled out by watching one of the Man From U.N.C.L.E. films. I got wondering why the series proper had never appeared on DVD. (Maybe eight or ten episodes were released on video fifteen years or so ago.) In particular, I would like to see the first, and best, season, which has never been repeated in recent years (presumably because it is in black  & white).

I did a bit of ferkling around online, and it looks like there might be a DVD release later in the year (though I am counting no chickens). It seems that the holdup has been down to the usual problem of who has the rights to the programme, but, if what an Ohio paper reports Robert Vaughn as saying is true, the arguments about that may have been settled. According to the report, Vaughn and McCallum will be getting together in May to record some DVD extras. I am amused that this is the second time Vaughn has recorded extras for an U.N.C.L.E. DVD:

Last year I sat down for three or four hours, doing material to go with a DVD of the first year, he said. I finished, they paid me — and somehow they didn’t have the rights to it.
dc: (Doctor)
So. Tomorrow it is time to decamp for points south, and Eastercon. I have been having a quick look at the programme, groaning at having to be up and sentient at some ungodly hour on Sunday (11am!), but generally thinking that it looks like a damn good programme. It certainly has one of the classic features of a good Eastercon programme, namely that whenever I see an item I really want to see, it coincides with another one I really want to see (or have to be at). Contemplation is looking good, and I think Chris and Fran and their team have done an excellent job in getting an Eastercon together so quickly. I am hopeful that this will be a good one.

I hope that someone will go to The Great Clomping Foot of Nerdism at 20:00 on Friday and tell us all about it here afterwards, since having volunteered someone for another panel on at the same time I kind of feel I should be there to lend moral support. I shall avoid referring to the Eastercon Better Not Mentioned, honest. I also would have liked to hear the talk on Web 2.0, but have to be elsewhere at the same time.  Yep, this might be a good one.

I am slightly.... No, a bit more than slightly concerned about my spoons. Various things have contributed to my spoons being depleted in recent months, and also to my not getting the opportunity to adequately refresh them. I am probably at the level I would have liked to be around Sunday at the moment, which is not brilliant. I may be able to run on adrenaline (I can do bursts, of up to a week if necessary, if I don’t really stop and I am driven by necessity or having a good time, but it demands payback afterwards). Probably with caffeine. I might be able to build in enough rest time to see me through without that. We shall see; if anyone comes across me and I seem antisocial (apparently not listening or focussed, monosyllabic replies), then it is spoons that are the problem.

One of my concerns about spoons is that it might limit the amount I can do, in terms of helping out. (Because as well as being a good thing to do, it is fun.). Let's hope not.

According to the final (I am not saying a word...) Contemplation programme, it is still not certain that Doctor Who shall be shown on the Saturday. Know what? I don’t really care. I am baffled that the same time which gave us most of Eccleston’s series and something like The Girl In The Fireplace can also give us drivel (being polite, here!) like, oh, Fear Her, and the guff about Rose which inundated the last series... and Saturday’s episode. (And, to focus on a completely unimportant bit of trivial detail, could they not have found someone who could show Freema Agyeman how to use a stethoscope the right way round?)

Just wondering, too, if I was the only person who heard the continuity announcer heralding the start of the third series of Doctor Who and thought something along the lines of Mumble mumble mumble feckin’ 29th!

Life On Mars... It has just occurred to me to check what has happened to the DVD release date, since that was supposed to be next week, but that was before sodding football screwed the screening of the current. Yep, it has been pushed back to April 16th. Interesting that last night there was no end-of-episode preview of next week. A good episode... though I may have nightmares about Gene Hunt, Diana Dors and a bottle of chip oil for some time to come... hopefully sans the Tufty costume, at least.

By the way, Satellite 1 shall have a presence at Contemplation (all the Politburo, I think, unless something unexpected happens). At Eastercon you can sign up for Satellite 1 at the current rate of £15; prices rise when Contemplation is over.

Incidentally, there is a group picture of the Politburo on the web site. Interesting how stern most of us look; I was certain I was smiling, too...

While I have been writing this, a worrying tickle has set in in my throat. Oh, for fuck’s sake! That’s all I need, another URTI... Fingers crossed it comes to nothing.
dc: (Doctor)
Fopp, as I was saying in a comment on [livejournal.com profile] progmeister’s LJ, is a wonderful shop. It reminds me of the record shops I used to frequent when I was at school and the University. What is even better, it has absolute shitloads of CDs at prices like £5, and DVDs at £8-10. Many of the CDs around the back wall are absolute classics, and some of the DVDs are ones you won’t find prominently placed anywhere else (such as Louise Brooks in Pandora’s Box or The Testament of Dr. Mabuse).

It is so difficult to go in there and not come out much poorer; the only sure-fire technique I have ever found is to go in there with no money (having previously shifted money out of the account you can use the plastic with!).

I had a close call today, though. I had money in the wallet and in the bank account and it took all the strength I could muster to reach into the back of my skull and throw the big switch marked Self-Control.

So I did not come out laden with CDs, and I did not even succumb when I saw that, at last, It Happened Here has been released.

It Happened Here, if you haven’t seen it — which is, frankly, highly likely since its reception on its release in 1966 was (euphemistically) stormy and it did not get a wide release; it has been shown twice on TV (on BBC2, I think), and once that I know of at the GFT — is a film about Britain under the Nazis. Hitler’s armies crossed the Channel, and England at least is firmly under Nazi control (Allied troops have landed in the West, but it is by no means certain that they shall prevail). This is not, though, a film where jackbooted Germans lord it over the subjugated British. The Germans are in Russia, invading the USSR: Nazi Britain is run by British Nazis.

The film took 8 years to make; it is filmed in grainy black-&-white; most of the actors are amateurs (in fact, as far as I can tell, there are only two professional actors in the whole thing: Sebastian Shaw, who was Annakin Skywalker in Return of the Jedi, and Reginald Marsh, who cropped up in a lot of British TV in the 60s and 70s), which strangely works to the film’s benefit; it was made on a shoestring, yet it is utterly convincing. The story follows an Irish nurse who is simply trying to do her job. Events unfold remorselessly until this chilling film ends, devoid of hope.

On its release, it was very badly received because of its portrayal of Britons readily collaborating with the Nazi regime; Jewish groups apparently were so incensed that it incorporated footage of a real British Nazi leader spouting anti-semitic bile that seven minutes were cut from the film. I have never seen that footage, it was not in the cut I saw on TV years ago, but apparently it has been restored to this DVD release.

And yet, I did not succumb. Which, for a cinephile like me, is saying something.


Jun. 9th, 2006 09:27 am
dc: (Doctor)
Last night was Trout, and a smallish turnout, not surprisingly given the hot weather and the number of people away. ([livejournal.com profile] munchkinstein, you were missed.) Not too bad a turnout, really, especially considering the number of people who came and went early. Much conversation about the merits (which are many) of new Who and new Battlestar Galactica. That’s when we weren’t talking about the Second World War, jobs, whisky, wine, Cons past, Cons future (particularly the ID requirements Convoy are going to have for on-the-door memberships), remakes, tents, etc. In other words, a typical Trout night.

Not typical: [livejournal.com profile] rhionnach looking at her watch and saying, It’s after midnight! It’s your birthday! And then the bunch of them singing Happy Birthday while I look for somewhere to hide...

Irritatingly, [livejournal.com profile] cuddles_batcave was telling me about an R1 DVD release which sounded interesting... and can I remember the title? No, I can’t. :(

dc: (Doctor)
Ooh, got a birthday card today. First one, very unexpected. My parents are not really up to prowling shops to look for cards, and it will be odd if [livejournal.com profile] rhionnach gives me one (we tend to think that as we see each other all the time, a card is a bit superfluous), so apart from that there is only a guy I have known since university and a couple of my exes — although one of them may well not bother, as I have not been in contact with her for ages. The penny never seems to have dropped that that is because she moved and I have no idea what her new address is.

The card I got was quite good, too, none of your rubbish. Makes a change.

While I am wittering about my birthday: anyone who wants to join me for a celebratory drink (you don’t have to buy me a drink, but all offers will be gratefully quaffed) on Saturday night (what [livejournal.com profile] rhionnach has started calling my official birthday) is most welcome to do so. Here is the information you need:
The time: any time after 7pm

The place: Ingram Bar, Queen Street

I know, not a lot of imagination, but: it is very central, handy for bus, subway and trains (including the Edinburgh shuttle); it also has at least one good real ale on tap (usually two or three, but sometimes they run out, have to settle, things like that) and a stonking range of whisky. Food’s good, too (stops at 8pm if you are looking to eat).

We will be at the back, on the left in the raised area.

As I said, all welcome, and although my birthday is the excuse I am not expecting cards, presents, or anything else. Just sociable people. ;o)

It is odd this week, with [livejournal.com profile] rhionnach working a back shift. She hasn’t done that in a long time. I have cooked a tasty curry with the aim of it being available for lunch tomorrow if she wants that, or putting it aside for the weekend if she doesn’t. It smells soooo appetising, though...

I am using Windows at the moment, having just installed a copy of Win98 on one of the secondary drives. Really, this is just to use one piece of software occasionally, an old, now unsupported product which is very basic but does a couple of things really well (and really simply). It is probably as well I did it today rather than yesterday, it would be asking for trouble to install The Software of the Beast on The Day of the Beast. :o)

I keep forgetting how clunky Windows is. Next step: to put a decent OS on the uncontaminated part of the hard drive, set it up as a dual-boot drive.

While doing this I noticed a 20Gb hard disk sitting on the shelf behind me. I have no idea what is on that, I must get a cartridge and check it out. No rush, though.

Tonight I must remember Deadwood is on: totally forgot about it at the weekend. Talking of TV, I caught a couple of episodes of Commander In Chief recently. Obviously the success of The West Wing made someone think there was a market for dramas set in the White House — and, hey, why not have one where the President is a woman? It’s a pity they didn’t think, Hey, why not have one with really good scripts and some decent acting? Every so often Donald Sutherland seems to remember, or at least come close to remembering, how to act, but then he seems to think, Why bother? And I don’t blame him, given how dire all the other performances are. Having said that, the actors are merely living up to the standards of the script, which is written in fluent Cliché. It is OMG BAD! [I think I have been online too long. ;o)]

Good TV (well, on DVD): last night I watched “The Blue Carbuncle”, the Peter Cushing version. They took one or two liberties with the story, but nothing which would have had Conan Doyle turning in his grave (not that much would, he had no real care what dramatists did with his detective). I think it is a little better than the Jeremy Brett version, not least because it does not make the guilty party quite so obvious from the very start. Cushing and Stock made a good team, and Stock’s Watson was no fool. It is a pity so few episodes survive. (More so that so few of the earlier, superior, Douglas Wilmer series survive. When are those episodes going to be released on DVD?)
dc: (Doctor)
Previously we noted the insanity of the BBC’s plans to release the stonking Life On Mars on DVD on Boxing Day. In a quite uncharacterstic burst of sanity, they have responded to the popularity of the programme by bringing the release forward to May 15th. Which is, er, this week next month [see comments for why I boobed]. Cool.

Here it is at Play.com.

New Who

Apr. 5th, 2006 12:04 pm
dc: (Doctor)
I have been keeping calm about The Imminence of Who. Just over a week to go. Enjoying seeing “The Green Death” again, though. Allowing for the ropey effects (which was as much a reflection of the available technology as the budget), it stands up pretty well. I keep seeing little touches that remind me of Tennant, not just in the Doctor but also in Prof. Jones (who is very like the Doctor). Also fun seeing something from 1973 where ecology is a central concern: Prof. Jones’s little community gets its power partly from windmills, and the problems the Doctor and UNIT face are directly the result of pollution. One point which seems a little strange now: Jones is working on a food replacement for meat, to feed the world, so he is developing a fungus-based meat substitute. Quorn, anybody?

Next week, another classic story, Genesis of the Daleks, is released on DVD. It was excellent as a story, a true classic, but I always have mixed feelings about it since it did mark the real beginning of the decline of the Daleks’ portrayal. Until “Dalek”, of course.

But I saw a trailer last night. Ooooh...

Not calm now.

Full of anticip......

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