Murder: The Complete Series on DVD

The innovative single drama Murder: Joint Enterprise, helmed by Birger Larsen – the director behind critically acclaimed Danish series The Killing, garnered a BAFTA award when it aired on the BBC Two and now, following the same unique format, the programme returns with three brand new films. They will air on BBC Two in March followed by a DVD release courtesy of RLJ Entertainment’s Acorn Label. Rich in forensic and psychological detail and with unique depth of characterisation, each of the films picks apart a murder in its terrible complexity. Murder The Complete Series comes to DVD on 21 March 2016 with the original Murder: Joint Enterprise on a bonus disc.
The stories dig deep into character and motive to unearth the hidden truths behind the riverside killing of a Scottish doctor; the disappearance of a wealthy philanthropist from her lover’s home; and the cold-blooded murder of an off-duty policeman, in: The Third Voice directed by Birger Larsen, Lost Weekend directed by Paul Wright  (For Those in Peril) and The Big Bang directed by Iain Forsyth and Jane Pollard (Neil Gaiman’s Likely Stories).
Co-creators Robert Jones (Ballykissangel) and Kath Mattock (Buried), spent months in the public galleries at the Old Bailey researching real-life cases for inspiration and authenticity and the films are intercut with CCTV footage, live action and forensic evidence. The protagonists speak to camera giving their version of events. The story is heard from every angle and casts the viewer as a jury-member, forcing us to decide: Guilty or Not Guilty?
The films star a stellar cast including Peter Bowles (To The Manor Born), Morven Christie (Twenty Twelve),  Jessica Barden (The Lobster), Karla Crome (Misfits), Joe Dempsie (Skins), Stephen Dillane (The Tunnel), Robert Pugh (Justice), Lauren Socha (Misfits) and Anne-Marie Duff (Shameless).
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War of the Worlds: Where’s the Blu-Ray?

8mm spineBarry Forshaw writes: when I wrote for the BFI  a study of the original Pal/Haskin 1955 version of HG Wells’ The War of the Worlds, I lamented the lack of a Blu-Ray restoration. Nothing yet, but DVD Savant’s excellent Glenn Erickson tellls us: ‘A special screening (was) held at Paramount last Thursday night, in their massive main theater just a few blocks from Savant Headquarters: a ‘Special Effects Rewind’ screening of the studio’s 1953 Academy Award winner for visual effects, George Pal’s The War of the Worlds. The screening was attended by a number of notables, film collector friends, familiar producer friends and restoration staff from other studios. Critic Leonard Maltin, makeup man Rick Baker and director John Landis were in attendance, as well as Joe Abdo, a former child actor who appeared in the film. It was a reasonably good DCP of the feature, not a film print. The hosts / speakers for the evening were the noted film audio expert Ben Burtt, and the special effects author Craig Barron, who have appeared on more than a few Blu-ray special editions explaining special effects and other technical issues.’ .


Exhilarating Classic Film Scores from Tadlow


GOLDSMITH: THE BLUE MAX AND OTHER SCORES/EPIC HOLLYWOOD: THE MUSIC OF MIKLOS RÓZSA, City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra and Chorus/Nic Raine/Tadlow 020 & Tadlow 021 Thankfully, distant are the days when recordings of large-scale orchestral film scores were at the mercy of record companies whose intermittent issues barely did service to music — and what was issued sometimes ran to little more than half an hour, such were the limitations of the long-playing record (not to mention the parsimoniousness of record companies). But now the music of Hollywood is something of a new golden age — at least when the company involved is the ambitious Tadlow Music, under the purview of producer James Fitzpatrick. This ambitious company has lovingly represented the scores of such composers as Bernard Herrmann, lovingly reproduced in vivid sound. These two latest issues continue the exemplary work of the company, and are also salutary reminders that with the exception of modern talents such as Michael Giacchino, there are very few current composers who can rival the two remarkable musicians recorded here, Jerry Goldsmith and Miklos Rózsa. Those who admire the work of Goldsmith tend to be of the view that the composer’s magnum opus was The Blue Max, here recording in its totality with a dynamic sound picture that does full justice to the composer’s tonal palette (although Goldsmith himself claimed to be an aficionado of Alban Berg, the templates for this WWII drama are the tone poems of Richard Strauss); other scores on this generous two-disc set include the composer’s superb music for such films as The Sand Pebbles and The Chairman.

The Miklos Rózsa two-disc set is another winner. Despite splendid efforts from such contemporary rivals as Dimitri Tiomkin, Rózsa’s Hungarian-influenced scores were the definitive musical incarnations of the Hollywood epic, and the concert we are presented with here includes much of Rózsa’s best work in that vein, from the exhilarating overture to El Cid to his groundbreaking score for the massive Ben Hur.

Apart from the generous playing times of these discs, the icing on the cake is the sheer panache of the orchestral playing by the City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra under the ever-reliable Nic Raine, the conductor who, more than any other contemporary musician, has the full measure of these scores. If you possess the original soundtrack recordings of much of this music, you may not find yourself parting with these, even though Raine and his musicians give the originals more than a run for their money. But those seeking modern recordings of these dramatic, colourful scores need not hesitate, even though the astonishing surround sound (on Blu-Ray audio) of Tadlow’s recent Bernard Hermann ‘Obsession’ disc has been abandoned for ordinary stereo sound.

Lost in Karastan from Bulldog Films