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directed by Brian GIbson
UK 1980


New Wave singer Kate's (Hazel O'Connor, CAR TROUBLE) career gets off to a rocky start when would-be band manager Danny (Phil Daniels, QUADROPHENIA) - who has been fixing the music charts for Overlord Records by purchasing hundreds of copies of their albums from targeted shops - gloms onto her. He auditions new musicians in her apartment (including Jonathan Pryce as a deaf saxophonist) and gets her some low-end gigs performing in a skinhead bar. The new band members pressure Danny to get them a recording contract which would equal better gigs and new equipment, but Kate doesn't want to become part of "the machinery." With the record executives come concerns over lyrics that won't get radio play and alternative suggestions, but also gigs highlighting her counter-culture appeal at rallies and political demonstrations. When she sings "Black Man" to skinheads at the "Rock Against 1984" protest in Notting Hill, she sparks a race riot. When a stabbed young man dies before her, Kate falls into a depression. The executives - who are dissatisfied with Danny's management - bring in producer Bob Woods (Jon Finch, MACBETH) to work with Kate, Danny and the band find themselves being edged out, and Kate may end up selling out all of her beliefs for fame.

BREAKING GLASS was the feature debut of writer/director Brian Gibson, and bears some surface resemblance to the works of his fellow countrymen Ridley Scott, Tony Scott, and Adrian Lyne; however, the film is not as visually dynamic as the works of those commercial/music video directors turned feature auteurs (despite the contribution of cinematographer Stephen Goldblatt, who also shot Tony Scott's THE HUNGER). The story is also rather weak and predictable. As much as Kate protests being part of the machine and champions social causes, she ends up being pretty passive rather than being believably seduced by fame (first-billed Daniels actually has the more interesting character). After the strong opening number "Writing on the Wall," the subsequent songs are not as effective.
The large supporting cast features such familiar faces as Richard Griffiths (WITHNAIL AND I), Jim Broadbent (BRAZIL), and Janine Duvitski (DRACULA). The US release (reprsented on Olive Films' DVD) is missing the film's original ending (roughly an additional ten minutes of screen time).

Eric Cotenas


Theatrical Release: September 1980 (USA)

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DVD Review: Olive Films - Region 1 - NTSC

Big thanks to Eric Cotenas for the Review!

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Olive Films

Region 1 - NTSC

Runtime 1:34:15

2.35:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: ~6.6 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.


Audio English Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo
Subtitles none
Features Release Information:
Studio: Olive Films

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 2.35:1

Edition Details:
• none

DVD Release Date: August 18th, 2011

Chapters 8



Olive Film's barely dual-layer, progressive, anamorphic transfer represents Paramount's US theatrical version, which runs ten minutes shorter than the original British version. The HD master has not been cleaned up, but it improves after the opening credits. The Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo track is not as enveloping as one would hope, but this is a 1980 low-budget film. There are absolutely no extras, and the menus have a cheap template look to them. A Blu-Ray is also available HERE.

The longer UK version was released on DVD in 2001 by Metrodome HERE.

  - Eric Cotenas


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Region 1 - NTSC


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