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March 2023 - DVD releases

Wondering what to watch next, Let Choice help you with some of the latest DVD's released in March.  

Childrens_Film_Foundation DVD coverChildren’s Film Foundation Bumper Box Volume 4 - (BFI)

The Children’s Film Foundation (CFF) was a body set up in the early Fifties to counter the wave of American westerns, war films and sci-fi features that were felt to be corrupting the minds of impressionable British youngsters at Saturday morning cinema shows. And so, having paid your sixpence, and after Zorro, Flash Gordon and the community singing, there would often be a state-funded Children’s Film Foundation adventure yarn of the type featured on this enjoyable box set, often featuring notable character actors of the time or stars of the future.

There’s a young Michael Crawford in the 1958 Blow Your Own Trumpet and Bernard Bresslaw as a blundering crook seeking out a secret formula in the 1972 Blinker’s Spy Spotter, while Harry H Corbett pops up in one of the many short films scattered across the set. Like the CFF and the Saturday film shows, the slightly rose-coloured view of childhood purveyed by these films may, sadly, now be a thing of the past, but all the more reason to crack open the popcorn and enjoy this slice of unashamed nostalgia.

The three-disc DVD set features nine films in all, spanning 1953 to 1984. The other titles featured are: The Dog and The Diamonds (1953), The Stolen Airliner (1955), The Missing Note (1961), The Big Catch (1968), The Flying Sorcerer (1974), Mr Selkie (1978), and Gabrielle and the Doodleman (1984). There’s an informative illustrated booklet featuring essays, notes on the featured films and a Screen Test quiz.

This England DVD coverThis England (Dazzler Media)

Michael Winterbottom’s TV series, focussing on the early months of Boris Johnson’s premiership, gives a refreshingly nuanced and balanced overview of an extraordinary period in our history, following the lead-up to the first lockdown as the nation is engulfed by the Coronavirus pandemic. The mounting crisis inside 10 Downing Street, with Kenneth Branagh excellent as Boris, is intercut with the real-life tragedies that became a daily reality at the height of the crisis, and Winterbottom pulls no punches here. It all still seems like a freshly-minted nightmare but at least this series tries to make some sense of it all. Available on DVD and Blu-ray.

Ingmar Bergman DVD coverIngmar Bergman Volume 4 (BFI) The point at which cinema attained the level of high art, the films of Ingmar Bergman were meditations on the human soul and nature of existence and this Blu-ray set, the final edition in the BFI’s excellent series, features some of his most beguiling works, from the 1972 period drama Cries and Whispers and elegiac Autumn Sonata to his semi-autobiographical late period masterpiece, Fanny and Alexander, winner of four Academy Awards. The six-disc set also features Scenes From A Marriage, From The Life of The Marionettes, the made-for-TV After The Rehearsal and documentary film Faro Document.


Cursed Films DVD coverCursed Films (Acorn Media International, Blu-ray)

Making films can be a dangerous business, as the recent tragedy involving Alec Baldwin has demonstrated. To label films ‘cursed’ because unfortunate accidents have occurred during their creation may, however, be taking things a bit far, and some of the wilder theories surrounding films such as The Omen, Poltergeist and The Exorcist – given voice in this admittedly fascinating five-part series – do really beggar belief. But when has the truth ever got in the way of a good yarn? There are certainly plenty here. The real meat of the series are the episodes devoted to The Crow, during the filming of which its star was accidentally shot dead in an accident eerily reminiscent of the recent Rust tragedy, and The Twilight Zone, when what appears to have been recklessness resulted in the death of an actor and two children (the episode includes footage shot on set at the time). But were these films really cursed? The jury’s still out on that one.


Also released this month:

Roald Dahl’s Matilda The Musical dvd coverRoald Dahl’s Matilda The Musical dvd cover (Sony Pictures Entertainment, Blu-ray and DVD) is an adaptation of the Tony and Oliver award-winning musical telling the magical story of the little girl who overcomes many obstacles to realise her dreams. It’s also available in a special sing-a-long special edition.

The-Pathfinders-in-Space-Trilogy_3DA_DVD coverThe Pathfinders in Space Trilogy (Network, DVD) was a precursor to Doctor Who, a sci-fi series created specifically for children originally broadcast in 1960-61. It’s now available in a three-disc set that includes an informative production booklet.

The flying scotsman DVD coverThe Flying Scotsman 100th Anniversary (Reel2Reel Films, DVD) is a lovingly compiled history of the steam locomotive that has a special place in the heart of rail enthusiasts and, indeed, anyone who treasures our rich engineering heritage. Narrated by Sir Tony Robinson, the documentary features archive footage, fascinating facts and interviews with several key figures in Flying Scotsman’s rich history.

Renegades dvd coverRenegades (101 Films, DVD) stars Nick Moran, Ian Ogilvy, Billy Murray and Paul Barber as a bunch of old army buddies who band together to take revenge after the murder of an ex-Green Beret (played by former Six Million Dollar Man Lee Majors).

The Madame Blanc mysteries series 2 dvd coverThe Madame Blanc Mysteries Series 2 (Acorn Media International, DVD) sees the return of antiques dealer turned sleuth Jean White after an attempt on her life, once more solving mysteries in the picturesque French village of Saint Victoire. Sally Lindsay (who also co-wrote the series) is brilliant as the engaging Jean and an endearing supporting cast including Steve Edge, Sue Holderness and Robin Askwith make for a top-flight feelgood drama. There’s also a box set available featuring all of series one and two.

Upright DVD coverUpright Season 2 (Acorn Media International, DVD) is an Australian-set road-trip comedy-drama starring Tim Minchin and Milly Acock as an unlikely couple, Lucky and Meg, thrown together by fate. The new series finds them embarking on a new quest, to find Meg’s long-lost mum. Series one and two are also available as a box set.

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