directed by Simon Hesera
UK 1970

 

The late Mark Burns plays Bernie, a self-destructive, alcoholic intellectual constantly welching spare cash off his put-off friends. The film follows him as he takes his niece Winnie (an adorable little moppet affected with polio) for a trip to the beach on a dreary, drizzly English day. Largely a meandering character study in the European artfilm tradition with a little British New Wave thrown in, you know you're in for it with a script by Roman Polanski (from a novel by Heere Heeresma; Polanski bowed out of directing when his wife Sharon Tate was murdered) and its going to get depressing as it progresses (you almost dread putting it on). Its even more affecting as Bernie drags along little Winnie (Beatrice Edney) along to listen uncomprehending to his tirades (spiked by his mentioning that he might be her real father) and witness him drinking himself to death (when he comes to pick her up, Winnie tells him that she smelt the alcohol on his breath but didn't mention it so he wouldn't get into a fight with her mother). Peter Sellers puts in an amusing little cameo (billed as "A. Queen"). Polanski alumni Jack MacGowran and Fiona Lewis (both from FEARLESS VAMPIRE KILLERS) are also featured in supporting roles.

Eric Cotenas

Theatrical Release: 17 April 1972

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DVD Review: Code Red DVD - Region 0 - NTSC

Big thanks to Eric Cotenas for the Review!

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Distribution

Code Red DVD

Region 0 - NTSC

Runtime 1:23:57
Video

1.75:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 5.95 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

Audio English (Dolby Digital 2.0 mono)
Subtitles none
Features Release Information:
Studio: Code Red DVD

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 1.75:1

Edition Details:
• CHOKE CANYON trailer (16:9; 2:01)
• THE FARMER (4:3;2:07)
• POWER PLAY trailer (16:9; 3:23)
• CAN I DO IT TIL I NEED GLASSES trailer (4:3; 2:41)
• THE VISITOR trailer (16:9; 3:17; time-coded and unfinished)

DVD Release Date: 9 September 2008
Amaray

Chapters 12

 

Comments

Photographed by the great Gil Taylor (THE OMEN, Polanski's REPULSION), the matting of the 1.75:1 (a legitimate British theatrical aspect ratio of the time) image looks tight on the bottom with the copyright and MPAA logos on the Paramount logo grazing the bottom of the frame and the rest of the credits are not vertically centered with more blank space above than below. The image looks a tad grainy but that is in keeping with the original photography (handheld camera, location shooting, rainy and overcast exteriors).

 

There are no extras except for Code Red trailers. While it would have been nice to have a bit more context for a neglected Paramount vault title, star Mark Burns died last year and director Simon Hesera has not directed another film since the early seventies (DAY AT THE BEACH was his only feature but he also directed a documentary in 1973). One of several Paramount vault titles that have been largely unseen since their original release, let's hope that we're going to see more of these obscurities sub-licensed by Paramount to willing companies.

 - Eric Cotenas

 



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DVD Box Cover

CLICK to order from:

 

 

 

Distribution

Code Red DVD

Region 0 - NTSC

 


 



 

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