OH! WHAT A LOVELY WAR
1969, Paramount, 136 min, UK, Dir: Richard Attenborough

In this dazzling directorial debut from Richard Attenborough, a working class family is confronted with the unfathomable realities of World War I, after three brothers witness trench warfare first hand. This is no ordinary war film, however, as Attenborough injects humor, dazzling camera effects, and music into this otherwise stark reality. Thus by fusing the surreal with the factual, and juxtaposing savagely funny satire with quiet sorrow, Attenborough creates a powerful anti-war statement like no other. Based on the stage musical by the same name, OH! WHAT A LOVELY WAR features a stellar cast that includes Laurence Olivier, Ralph Richardson, John Mills, John Gielgud, Maggie Smith, Vanessa Redgrave, Ian Holm, Dirk Bogarde and Susannah York.


THE HOLLY AND THE IVY
1952, Kino Lorber, 80 min, UK, Dir: George More O'Ferrall

Based on the classic play by Wynyard Browne ("Hobson’s Choice"), this heart-warming Christmas tale set in postwar Britain stars Ralph Richardson as Reverend Martin Gregory, a recently widowed minister torn between his roles of clergyman and father. His zeal for attending to his parishioners leads him to neglect the needs of his own family, until emotions boil over one Christmas. A charming and moving seasonal favorite, peaking with the family’s poignant reconciliation as they rediscover the true spirit of Christmas, the yuletide classic also stars Celia Johnson, Margaret Leighton and Denholm Elliott.


THE FALLEN IDOL
1948, Rialto Pictures, 95 min, UK, Dir: Carol Reed

Carol Reed, one of England’s most celebrated directors, probes the complexity and callousness of human relationships in this Oscar-nominated adaptation of a story by Graham Greene. Told through the naive eyes of an upper-class boy, the film centers on his idealization of his father’s butler, Baines, who entertains him with extravagant (and fictional) accounts of heroic adventures. Contrasting this is the reality of Baines’s unhappy, loveless marriage and his dreams of escaping his lot in life. Top-shelf performances from Ralph Richardson, Michèle Morgan and young Bobby Henrey fuel this suspenseful, exceptionally written story of loyalty, betrayal and everything in between.


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