Flipside 001: The Bed Sitting Room

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MichaelB
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Flipside 001: The Bed Sitting Room

#1 Post by MichaelB » Sat Mar 07, 2009 6:01 am

The Bed Sitting Room

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In the hazy aftermath of World War III, the fallout from a 'nuclear misunderstanding' (which lasted two minutes and twenty eight seconds, including the signing of the peace treaty) is producing strange mutations amongst the survivors, and the noble Lord Fortnum finds himself transforming into a bed-sitting room.

This vividly imagined, darkly satirical filmic version of a post apocalyptic England, directed by Richard Lester (A Hard Days Night, How I Won the War, The Knack) is based on the highly regarded play by Spike Milligan and John Antrobus. It also boasts great performances by the cream of 60s British comedy and acting talent: Rita Tushingham, Ralph Richardson, Peter Cook, Harry Secombe, Dudley Moore, Spike Milligan, Michael Horden, Roy Kinnear, Arthur Lowe, Dandy Nichols and Marty Feldman

Extras
- Archival interviews with Richard Lester (1967, 17 minutes), Spike Milligan (1967, 40 minutes) and Peter Cook (1967, 30 minutes)
- Original Trailer
- Illustrated booklet with essay by Michael Brooke (BFI Sight and Sound contributor) and original review and promotional material.
Last edited by MichaelB on Wed May 20, 2009 1:04 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Cold Bishop
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Re: The Bed Sitting Room

#2 Post by Cold Bishop » Sat Mar 07, 2009 6:35 am

MichaelB wrote:On DVD and Blu-ray, release date 25 May, according to Amazon.

I'll post more info when I get it (probably when the official press release goes out). I can confirm that it won't be barebones, though.

And while I can't supply individual titles yet, I think I'm probably at liberty to reveal that the BFI will be releasing a lot of similarly neglected British films over the next few months, including quite a few that have already been discussed round these parts as being criminally unavailable.
Wonderful news. Easily Lester's best film (although the haunting Petulia gives it a good run).

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sir karl
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Re: The Bed Sitting Room

#3 Post by sir karl » Sat Mar 07, 2009 9:47 am

BFI does it again! =D> Great to see films getting released which had been previously unavailable on DVD or even VHS.

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Person
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Re: The Bed Sitting Room

#4 Post by Person » Sat Mar 07, 2009 1:44 pm

Hilarious film. I have a really ropey DVD-R of an ancient TV broadcast which is unwatchable in places. This is amazing news. I had given up on seeing a legit DVD of this gem. I can't wait to see what those other "similarly neglected British films" will be!

Blu-Ray edition listed at Play.com

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Lino
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Re: The Bed Sitting Room

#5 Post by Lino » Sun Mar 08, 2009 12:57 am

God! I have been waiting for this one to come out ever since I idiotically erased my TV recorded VHS copy ages ago... Never thought I'd see this one coming out through BFI, though.

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MichaelB
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Re: The Bed Sitting Room

#6 Post by MichaelB » Thu Apr 02, 2009 7:59 am

Full specs announced:
The Bed Sitting Room
(Richard Lester, 1969)

In the hazy aftermath of World War III, the fallout from a ‘nuclear misunderstanding’ (which lasted two minutes and twenty eight seconds, including the signing of the peace treaty) is producing strange mutations amongst the survivors, and the noble Lord Fortnum finds himself transforming into a bed sitting room…

This vividly imagined, darkly satirical filmic vision of a post apocalyptic England, directed by Richard Lester (A Hard Day’s Night, How I Won the War, The Knack), is based on the highly-regarded play by Spike Milligan and John Antrobus. It also boasts great performances by the cream of ‘60s British comedy and acting talent: Rita Tushingham, Ralph Richardson, Peter Cook, Harry Secombe, Dudley Moore, Spike Milligan, Michael Horden, Roy Kinnear, Arthur Lowe, Dandy Nichols and Marty Feldman.

Sam Dunn, Head of BFI Video Publishing, comments: ‘Lots of people talk about “lost classics”, but The Bed Sitting Room is a film that truly deserves that description. It beggars belief that such a startling piece of British cinema could have remained hidden away for so long.’

Special features
  • Archival interviews with Richard Lester (1967, 17 mins), Spike Milligan (1967, 40 mins) and Peter Cook (1967, 30 mins)
    Original trailer
    Illustrated booklet with essay by Michael Brooke (BFI Sight and Sound contributor) and original review and promotional material.
UK / colour / Cert tbc / 91 mins + 90 mins extra material / ratio 1.85:1 / optional subtitles for hearing-impaired / DVD cat no: BFIVD834 / BD cat no: BFIB1019

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MichaelB
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Re: The Bed Sitting Room

#7 Post by MichaelB » Thu Apr 02, 2009 9:55 am

I should probably add that the archival interviews were shot by Canadian broadcaster Bernard Braden for a series called Now and Then that was never completed: Braden planned to interview hundreds of people on two separate occasions five years apart, but ran out of money after shooting the first batch (the "then" part) - and they've sat unused and unedited on the shelf ever since, until they were donated to the BFI National Archive last year.

Glimpses of some of the interviews were seen in a Channel Five programme last year (here's a Daily Mail feature giving some background), but these will effectively be the world premieres of the full recordings.

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Forrest Taft
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Re: The Bed Sitting Room

#8 Post by Forrest Taft » Thu Apr 02, 2009 3:12 pm

=D>

This set looks really good. One of my favourite Lester, even though I´ve only watched a wretched torrent version of it (with a constantly changing aspect ratio). Those interviews should be interesting - neither Lester nor Milligan were particularly pleased with the film, they both preferred the stage version.

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Re: The Bed Sitting Room

#9 Post by MichaelB » Fri Apr 03, 2009 9:56 am

RobertAltman wrote:Those interviews should be interesting - neither Lester nor Milligan were particularly pleased with the film, they both preferred the stage version.
I suspect, given the dates they were recorded, that they won't mention the film much, if at all - the nature of Braden's project means that the subjects discussed tend to be much more general than specific films. For instance, while I haven't listened to it myself yet, I understand the Peter Cook interview is mainly about politics, and the Richard Lester interview was recorded on 3 November 1967, several months before the film went into production (it started shooting in May 1968).

But that's absolutely no reason not to include the interviews with this release, especially as the BFI is unlikely to be handling How I Won The War or Petulia any time soon (if ever), and it's obviously far better to put them out in the public domain than to carry on sitting on them. They've already spent over forty years on the shelf!

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tojoed
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Re: The Bed Sitting Room

#10 Post by tojoed » Wed Apr 08, 2009 8:35 am

Image

coolcatdaddy

Re: The Bed Sitting Room

#11 Post by coolcatdaddy » Fri Apr 17, 2009 10:21 pm

I noticed on the thread listing Region code information on BFI blu ray discs that "Bed Sitting Room" is listed as Region B, not "all regions".

I'm in the US and wondering if anyone has heard any inkling of a US distributor coming out with this title or who owns the distribution rights for it over here.

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MichaelB
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Re: The Bed Sitting Room

#12 Post by MichaelB » Sat Apr 18, 2009 5:44 pm

coolcatdaddy wrote:I noticed on the thread listing Region code information on BFI blu ray discs that "Bed Sitting Room" is listed as Region B, not "all regions".
It is indeed Region B - an unavoidable condition of being able to license this title. I've actually had sight of this particular contract and can confirm that Region B is explicitly demanded by the rightsholder.
I'm in the US and wondering if anyone has heard any inkling of a US distributor coming out with this title or who owns the distribution rights for it over here.
Well, it was originally made by United Artists, but there's an MGM lion at the start of the new BFI transfer, so I'd guess it's represented by whoever owns the MGM/UA back catalogue Stateside.

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Re: The Bed Sitting Room

#13 Post by Stefan Andersson » Wed Apr 22, 2009 8:42 am

Hi MichaelB! Offtopic: can you comment on the possibility of BFI releasing THE SINGER NOT THE SONG and the Connoisseur VHS CHARGE OF THE LIGHT BRIGADE (longer than the R1) on DVD, maybe utilizing the rumoured BFI holdings of the deleted BRIGADE footage (including Laurence Harvey´s part)?

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MichaelB
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Re: The Bed Sitting Room

#14 Post by MichaelB » Wed Apr 22, 2009 8:55 am

Stefan Andersson wrote:Hi MichaelB! Offtopic: can you comment on the possibility of BFI releasing THE SINGER NOT THE SONG and the Connoisseur VHS CHARGE OF THE LIGHT BRIGADE (longer than the R1) on DVD, maybe utilizing the rumoured BFI holdings of the deleted BRIGADE footage (including Laurence Harvey´s part)?
In a word, no.

As it happens, I genuinely don't know in either case (though I suspect The Singer Not The Song is currently owned by Network given that it's an old Rank title), but I'm contractually barred from posting info that hasn't been publicly announced already. So I'm afraid it's a waste of time asking me questions like this - even if I do know the answer, I can't tell you.

Also, this should be in the general BFI thread.

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Re: The Bed Sitting Room

#15 Post by MichaelB » Sat May 16, 2009 4:18 am

The Guardian reviews the first three Flipside releases, including The Bed Sitting Room.

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Re: Flipside 001: The Bed Sitting Room

#16 Post by MichaelB » Wed May 20, 2009 3:49 pm

I'm now the proud owner of a final production Blu-ray, which I can't play for another couple of hours, but I can reveal a few additional details.

The first thing I spotted was that all three Flipside releases, as befitting a label dedicated to cult movies, have spine numbers - and pretty prominent ones at that.

Secondly, the booklets are fully up to current BFI standards. The Bed-Sitting Room has 28 pages, the others have 40. I've posted details of the others in their thread, but with Flipside 001 you get:

1-8: The Bed Sitting Room by Michael Brooke
(introductory context-setting essay)
10-11: Contemporary review by Russell Campbell from the Monthly Film Bulletin (April 1970)
14-15: Biography of Richard Lester by Neil Sinyard
17: Full credits for the film
18-22: Notes on the three Bernard Braden interviews by Dylan Cave, Jez Stewart and Vic Pratt
24-25: Notes on the transfer and acknowledgements

plus colour stills, the original poster, and a reproduction of the gala charity premiere invitation "in the Gracious Presence of Mrs Ethel Shroake of High Street, Leytonstone".

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Re: Flipside 001: The Bed Sitting Room

#17 Post by MichaelB » Thu May 28, 2009 5:37 pm

Beaver:
I totally fell in love with this unconventional film and pure, untainted image rendered to 1080P. Detail is not exceptional but the film's 40-year-old visuals are thick with textured grain. This Blu-ray image looks so 'realistic' to me with a coarseness, at times, that resembles fabric. It is, however, never as 'dusty' or 'hazy' as I was anticipating. Colors are lively and true. It's really quite delightful and I've come to appreciate vintage films appearing this way on Blu-ray. Although I haven't seen the corresponding DVD - its obvious that SD certainly can't relate this type of patterned surface that keeps the grain structure intact. It is consistently even and the gloss-less image looks to have had a thorough cleaning with not a hint of damage. The feature takes up over 20 Gig of the dual-layered disc and there doesn't appear to be any intrusive DNR or edge enhancements. I really got the sense that I was looking at this in one of it's purest forms. Could we have all our favorite cinema looking like this! Great job BFI!

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Re: Flipside 001: The Bed Sitting Room

#18 Post by colinr0380 » Sat May 30, 2009 4:25 pm

The latest episode of The Film Programme is a half hour interview with Richard Lester on Petulia and The Bed Sitting Room.

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RossyG
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Re: Flipside 001: The Bed Sitting Room

#19 Post by RossyG » Sat May 30, 2009 5:55 pm

Someone on another website I visit says this Blu Ray has out of synch sound, a problem that affected the digital projection of this film at last week's BFI Southbank screening. However, the Beaver review doesn't mention this. Has anyone got any comments one way or the other?

I'm hoping this isn't the case.

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Person
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Re: Flipside 001: The Bed Sitting Room

#20 Post by Person » Sun May 31, 2009 12:33 pm

colinr0380 wrote:The latest episode of The Film Programme is a half hour interview with Richard Lester on Petulia and The Bed Sitting Room.
Loved the bit about Sir Ralph in Berlin in 1969. He was like that all the time, apparently. A mischievous old bugger.

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Re: Flipside 001: The Bed Sitting Room

#21 Post by peerpee » Sun May 31, 2009 6:03 pm

RossyG wrote:Someone on another website I visit says this Blu Ray has out of synch sound, a problem that affected the digital projection of this film at last week's BFI Southbank screening. However, the Beaver review doesn't mention this. Has anyone got any comments one way or the other?

I'm hoping this isn't the case.
Some scenes look very slightly out of sync (ie. a frame) but then some scenes look absolutely bang-on - so it's almost certainly how the original film played. In my experience, I'd say this represents the vagaries of post-dubbing and isn't anything that could be easily fixed (nor should it be, if this is how it played originally!)

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RossyG
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Re: Flipside 1: The Bed Sitting Room

#22 Post by RossyG » Mon Jun 01, 2009 5:27 am

Thanks for that, peerpee. :D

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Re: Flipside 1: The Bed Sitting Room

#23 Post by MichaelB » Mon Jun 01, 2009 2:01 pm

DVD Times (on the Blu-ray).

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Re: Flipside 1: The Bed Sitting Room

#24 Post by ellipsis7 » Fri Jun 19, 2009 5:02 am


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Re: Flipside 1: The Bed Sitting Room

#25 Post by Lazertron » Wed Jun 24, 2009 5:07 am

Watching this movie was a... surprising experience, as I haven't heard about the film before buying it on Blu-ray at Amazon. Some hilarious storyline and acting going on and as I had no problems (as non-English native speaker) to follow the story, there were probably certain references to British society, politics, people where I couldn't make a connection to.

This was my first experience in BFI Flipside and I look forward to watch the other two released ones.

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