Bill Douglas Trilogy

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Adam
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#26 Post by Adam » Fri Jun 27, 2008 7:40 pm

The Bill Douglas Trilogy is playing in Los Angeles at the UCLA Film & TV Archive on Sunday August 10 at 7 pm.

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foggy eyes
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#27 Post by foggy eyes » Fri Jun 27, 2008 9:48 pm

Apparently Facets are planning to release the Trilogy in the US, and it's pretty safe to say that it won't be as comprehensive as the BFI set (I know that they're not going to reprint the booklet, for one thing).

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foggy eyes
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#28 Post by foggy eyes » Tue Sep 23, 2008 7:03 pm

Good piece by Michael Atkinson over at Moving Image Source - I snorted a little at the notion of Bill having a 'structuralist agenda', but the rest of the article offers a number of genuinely fresh insights.

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MichaelB
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#29 Post by MichaelB » Fri Sep 26, 2008 6:04 am

foggy eyes wrote:Good piece by Michael Atkinson over at Moving Image Source - I snorted a little at the notion of Bill having a 'structuralist agenda', but the rest of the article offers a number of genuinely fresh insights.
...though I was mildly startled by this claim:
(Consider the macro view of British film in the '70s otherwise: a few Loaches, Stuart Cooper's low-budget indie Overlord, Monty Python and the Holy Grail—that's about it.)
I don't know about you, but I'd say that Nicolas Roeg and Ken Russell's 1970s work had a slightly higher profile than the barely-seen Overlord!

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foggy eyes
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#30 Post by foggy eyes » Fri Sep 26, 2008 8:51 am

MichaelB wrote:I don't know about you, but I'd say that Nicolas Roeg and Ken Russell's 1970s work had a slightly higher profile than the barely-seen Overlord!
Yes, very true. David Cairns has left a comment to that effect on the page as well. Perhaps Atkinson suffered a bout of temporary amnesia (there's no way Overlord could be considered more 'integral' than, say, Don't Look Now or The Devils), but more likely he's just needlessly exaggerating the case for the Trilogy as a site of individual expression within 1970s British cinema.

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GringoTex
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Re: Bill Douglas Trilogy

#31 Post by GringoTex » Thu Nov 06, 2008 1:18 am

Just watched My Childhood without ever having even heard of Bill Douglas before.

This is the best 16mm feature (or featurette) I'v ever seen. This is the best British I've seen since the Archers. I can't believe how good this is. He's as good as Jean Vigo.

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zedz
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Re: Bill Douglas Trilogy

#32 Post by zedz » Thu Nov 06, 2008 4:50 pm

GringoTex wrote:Just watched My Childhood without ever having even heard of Bill Douglas before.

This is the best 16mm feature (or featurette) I'v ever seen. This is the best British I've seen since the Archers. I can't believe how good this is. He's as good as Jean Vigo.
I'm not one for smilies, but how can I not =D> ?

Just wait till you see My Ain Folk.

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foggy eyes
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Re: Bill Douglas Trilogy

#33 Post by foggy eyes » Thu Nov 06, 2008 6:56 pm

Yes, that's quite a beautiful response, Gringo. I was just about to write a letter to Peter Jewell, and will have to quote you - he'll love it. (Although attributing it to so-and-so on an internet messageboard may take the edge off.)

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GringoTex
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Re: Bill Douglas Trilogy

#34 Post by GringoTex » Sat Nov 08, 2008 12:17 am

zedz wrote:
GringoTex wrote:Just watched My Childhood without ever having even heard of Bill Douglas before.

This is the best 16mm feature (or featurette) I'v ever seen. This is the best British I've seen since the Archers. I can't believe how good this is. He's as good as Jean Vigo.
I'm not one for smilies, but how can I not =D> ?

Just wait till you see My Ain Folk.
I watched My Ain Folk last night, and then My Way Home tonight. My original intention was to watch the whole trilogy in one setting, but that proved too much for me.

There's a single shot in My Ain Folk where Jaime's older brother offers his father a cigarette after he's pickpocketed him, and then refuses his father's offer of money. It's maybe 60 seconds long but contains more truth than a Turgenev novel.

I don't know what else to say. I feel I've been overwhelmed. Maybe later.

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Gregory
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Re: Bill Douglas Trilogy

#35 Post by Gregory » Sat Nov 08, 2008 6:55 pm

I hope I'm not a jerk for asking this in the BFI forum, but how are the transfers in the Facets set? Any combing or other problems? I couldn't find a review of it anywhere.

Paracelsus1966
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Re: Bill Douglas Trilogy

#36 Post by Paracelsus1966 » Fri Jan 23, 2009 9:13 am

Comrades will be released by the BFI on DVD and Blu-Ray in June 2009. I presume it will be a 2 disc set, although I don't know what the extras will be. There isn't much behind the scenes stuff from the film - all I know of is a TV interview with Bill and producer Simon Relph, and some brief clips of Bill directing, but sadly not much else. But they did such a good job with the Trilogy that I hope this will be an equally 'must-have' DVD.

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GaryC
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Re: Bill Douglas Trilogy

#37 Post by GaryC » Fri Jan 23, 2009 1:46 pm

Paracelsus1966 wrote:Comrades will be released by the BFI on DVD and Blu-Ray in June 2009. I presume it will be a 2 disc set, although I don't know what the extras will be. There isn't much behind the scenes stuff from the film - all I know of is a TV interview with Bill and producer Simon Relph, and some brief clips of Bill directing, but sadly not much else. But they did such a good job with the Trilogy that I hope this will be an equally 'must-have' DVD.
That's made my day, so thanks.

Comrades was cut by 3 seconds for a UK PG certificate (though apparently uncut on its TV broadcast) so it will be interesting to see if the DVD is of the complete version.

Finally, and a little off topic, if Comrades can get a DVD release, I wonder if we'll see the rest of the Skreba catalogue appear before too long as it is entirely MIA on disc. I'd particularly like to see The Kitchen Toto get a DVD release.

Paracelsus1966
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Re: Bill Douglas Trilogy

#38 Post by Paracelsus1966 » Fri Jan 23, 2009 2:45 pm

Hopefully Comrades will be the uncut version, with the missing 3 seconds restored. I think this is the bit in the hut with McCallum and his dog:-)

I know there has been talk of trying to restore the original 205 minute cut, but I'm not sure if the missing scenes still exist. So the best we can probably hope for the is the theatrical cut - plus dog.

Yes, I remember The Kitchen Toto being good - must try and find out more about the Skreba catalogue...

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foggy eyes
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Re: Bill Douglas Trilogy

#39 Post by foggy eyes » Fri Jan 23, 2009 2:48 pm

June is the date I've heard too, but I didn't realise it would be a dual format release. Who would've thought that we'd see such neglected figures as Jeff Keen and Bill Douglas on Blu-ray this year?!

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GaryC
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Re: Bill Douglas Trilogy

#40 Post by GaryC » Fri Jan 23, 2009 7:26 pm

Paracelsus1966 wrote:Hopefully Comrades will be the uncut version, with the missing 3 seconds restored. I think this is the bit in the hut with McCallum and his dog
That's my understanding too. I didn't see the UK TV broadcast (I'm not sure if there was ever more than one), but the viewer-access programme Right to Reply a week or so later included someone complaining about Channel 4 broadcasting "a scene of bestiality". And I was thinking I would have remembered seeing that in the cinema... (I think I knew the film had been cut, but didn't know what had been removed.)

I've no idea what Douglas's reaction to his film being cut was, but I guess the reasoning behind it was, best to lose three seconds and gain a PG rating and get the schools history-student audience than have the film saddled with a 15 or even 18. If I remember rightly from twenty years later, the cut slightly obscures a plot point,
SpoilerShow
the prisoners demolishing the hut with McCallum inside it?
but didn't cause any real damage.

Actually, I didn't know about a 205-minute cut. I do know however that the film premiered at the Southampton Film Festival in 1986 (while I was living there and at University there) in a version of about 160mins, in other words about twenty minutes *shorter* than the version that went on release.

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Re: Bill Douglas Trilogy

#41 Post by Paracelsus1966 » Fri Jan 23, 2009 7:49 pm

AFAIK, there are three versions, four if you count the PG theatrical version missing those all-important 3 seconds:

1) The original 205 minute cut. Never screened publicly.
2) The 1986 London Film Festival cut (presumably the same cut as screened at Southampton), which ran under 3 hours.
3) The 1987 Berlin cut, running 3 hours. This is the same as the uncut TV version, and probably as near as we're going to get to a director's cut, unless the missing 20-odd minutes can be located.

I taped the 1991 TV broadcast, and it was the uncut version, as you definitely see a bit more of McCallum as his dog is doing 'bestial' things to him offscreen.

I've seen the film twice theatrically, and this scene was cut, so I assume the prints were the theatical release print. I remember asking Simon Relph or Peter Jewell about this - they were present at one of the screenings - and they seemed to think that the 'TV' version was the one Bill preferred. So hopefully the BFI will go with this 'bestiality' cut! Good dog! (I think the actual line is 'Good soldier!', but maybe I'm splitting dog hairs...)

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foggy eyes
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Re: Bill Douglas Trilogy

#42 Post by foggy eyes » Tue Feb 10, 2009 5:47 pm

Apparently the Trilogy is going to be (re-)released on Blu-ray alongside Comrades. The booklet is being reprinted, so presumably the same will apply for the video extras.

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peerpee
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Re: Bill Douglas Trilogy

#43 Post by peerpee » Tue Feb 10, 2009 5:53 pm

I'm finding the BFI's commitment to Blu-ray incredibly exciting!

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Re: Bill Douglas Trilogy

#44 Post by Paracelsus1966 » Tue Feb 10, 2009 6:22 pm

Yes, the Trilogy is coming out on Blu-Ray at the same time as the Comrades DVD/Blu-Ray release. It (The Trilogy) will be the same as the DVD release, although I think the booklet will have some typos corrected. June will be a good month:-) (and June 18th will be the 18th anniversary of Bill's passing - raise a glass of whisky for him on that day).

Jonathan S
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Re: Bill Douglas Trilogy

#45 Post by Jonathan S » Thu Feb 19, 2009 8:59 am

Comrades was broadcast on the UK's FilmFour channel last night. After I removed the huge number of adverts, it ran almost exactly three hours. It appeared to me that the transmission was from the same inadequate master Channel 4 used around twenty years ago. Both then and now it looks like a poor NTSC to PAL conversion (ironic for a British film), revealing itself in jerky motion, especially on camera movement. Still, if it makes more people aware of this great film, it may increase sales for the BFI's forthcoming release - which I assume will be a total re-master?

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MichaelB
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Re: Bill Douglas Trilogy

#46 Post by MichaelB » Thu Feb 19, 2009 9:55 am

Jonathan S wrote:Still, if it makes more people aware of this great film, it may increase sales for the BFI's forthcoming release - which I assume will be a total re-master?
I'll check, but I'd be genuinely astounded if the BFI seriously proposed to use a 20-year-old analogue non-anamorphic television master as the basis for the film's first-ever DVD release. Especially not when accompanied by a Blu-ray edition of Douglas's earlier films!

There's plenty of 35mm material in the BFI National Archive (most of it donated by original production company Skreba Films) - so I suspect that will be the source.

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foggy eyes
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Re: Bill Douglas Trilogy

#47 Post by foggy eyes » Thu Feb 19, 2009 12:10 pm

The fact that Comrades is being released on Blu-ray at all surely confirms that we'll get a brand new HD transfer. I'm not at all worried - the BFI haven't dropped the ball on any major release recently, and I have complete faith in the disc's producer (who commandeered the flawless releases of the Trilogy, the 3 Jarmans & The Red Desert, amongst others).

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Re: Bill Douglas Trilogy

#48 Post by Paracelsus1966 » Sat Mar 21, 2009 7:28 pm

A quick update on the Comrades DVD: it seems that there could be as much as 2 hours of extras... I don't have any firm details yet, but this could be an extraordinarily good release indeed. Will post more when I have more info.

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otis
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Re: Bill Douglas Trilogy

#49 Post by otis » Sat Apr 18, 2009 5:06 am

Comrades is screening in London next Tuesday:
Bill Douglas’ beautiful film Comrades tells the epic story of the Tolpuddle Martyrs, six Dorset labourers deported to Australia in the 1830s for forming a trade union.

Unfolding in the pastoral haze of Dorset and the blinding light of Australia, Douglas has created a film rich with carefully layered visual illusions and nuances. With lovely, profound performances throughout, the story – a compelling account of struggle and injustice – becomes an epic tale about history, storytelling and the way we see our world.

This distinctive feature from a director of singular vision – better known for his autobiographical Trilogy (My Childhood (1972), My Ain Folk (1973), My Way Home (1978)) is presented in a new HD restoration.

Screening as part of the Tolpuddle in Islington Festival:

21 April 2009, 19:40, Screen on the Green.

Visit Tolpuddle King’s Cross 175th Commemoration Festival for more information about the festival.

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foggy eyes
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Re: Bill Douglas Trilogy

#50 Post by foggy eyes » Sat Apr 18, 2009 11:44 am

otis wrote:Comrades is screening in London next Tuesday
Thanks for reminding me about that. Although tickets weren't cheap (+ the trek I'll have to make), it should be well worth it!

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