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Dissent & Disruption: Alan Clarke at the BBC

Posted: Mon Oct 03, 2005 7:13 pm
by Nihonophile
Word of warning to all: If you don't have the Alan Clarke collection you'll probably severely regret it once its unavailable.

I watched The Firm again two nights ago and I can't praise and recommend it enough.

Posted: Sun Nov 06, 2005 7:41 pm
by Gregory
What are the chances that Alan Clarke's Scum (or some of the others) will be reissued individually? Or more generally, how often does Blue Underground reissue its out-of-print items in a different form?

Posted: Sun Nov 06, 2005 8:19 pm
by Gordon
I reckon that the theatrical version of Scum will be released seperately, but not the very interesting TV version. Unless it's a 2-disc, which I doubt. They won't have two versions of such a film on the shelves, surely? The most interesting variation in the TV version - to me, at least - is that Archer (the bare-footed intellectual) is played by a different actor and has more dialogue and it is superb. The TV version isn't as bloody, but is still pretty violent.

A 2-disc of both versions, however, is available in the UK with the same specs as the BU discs HERE.

And remember, Gregory: I'm the daddy now! Next time, I'll fuckin' kill ya! :shock: :wink:

Posted: Mon Nov 28, 2005 7:17 pm
by porquenegar
After receiving the Alan Clarke Collection and devouring it along with turkey and pumpkin pie all weekend, I'm eager for more (Clarke, that is). Are some of his other TV stuff shown in the included documentary like Road, Diane, Penda's Fen available anywhere? I've done a cursory check at and UK but haven't found anything.

Regarding the set itself, I thought they were all very good. I prefered the TV version of Scum mainly because it seemed better cast to me. Made in Brittain just about burned a hole in me with Tim Roth's performance. I was also freaked out by Elephant, not knowing anything about it going in. The killing just kept going and going, then it was over. Quite a strange experience not knowing the context in which it was made.

Posted: Mon Nov 28, 2005 8:11 pm
by Gordon
Unfortunately, Road; Diane and Penda's Fen are not on DVD. I am not sure if those films were on VHS. Road is brilliant.

Made in Britain is indeed, a knockout. The scene where Trevor pisses on his files is insane and almost everything that Trevor says is quotable: "It's your fucking world, mate, not mine. You can stick it up your arse, I don't want it!".

You will probably like Mike Leigh's, Meantime (1984) about dossers - including their dad - on the dole during Thatcher's reign. The aimless, meaningless, banal life of the young unemployed in Britain has never been so accurately and hilariously presented. Tim Roth's Colin is a total contrast to Trever, almost his polar opposite and one of the most hilarious passive characters in all of moviedom. Gary Oldman's phoney 'hard man' Coxy is a totally over-the-edge loser type that is still to be found in this country. It's a brilliant, all to often overlooked film (it was made for TV) but it is one of the key British films of the 80s, I feel. Well worth seeing.

Posted: Tue Dec 13, 2005 7:27 pm
by Gordon
Scum: 2-Disc in February:[url]

Posted: Tue Dec 13, 2005 7:37 pm
by Narshty
$19.95? For two of the discs in a 5-disc set that went for $99.95? I don't regret the purchase for a moment, but I'm still a bit narked. The boxset should offer the discount, surely?

Posted: Tue Dec 13, 2005 8:36 pm
by Nihonophile
Narshty wrote:$19.95? For two of the discs in a 5-disc set that went for $99.95? I don't regret the purchase for a moment, but I'm still a bit narked. The boxset should offer the discount, surely?
Its the new deal baby, don't you be forgetting that Mondo Cane set they chopped in two.

Posted: Tue Dec 13, 2005 8:54 pm
by solaris72
The Firm/Elephant and Made in Britain are also coming the same day. ... _id=851262 ... _id=851557
Director: Alan Clarke seems to be left out of this reissue.

Posted: Tue Dec 13, 2005 8:59 pm
by Gregory
I bought the box set but haven't opened it yet. Maybe I should just sell it and buy these titles individually. Then again, it may be worth the extra money not to have this cover in my home:


Posted: Tue Dec 13, 2005 10:52 pm
by Nihonophile
Yeah open that thing up. These covers are painful to look at and besides you don't want to miss out on that mediocre but satisfying documentary on Clarke

Posted: Tue Dec 13, 2005 11:28 pm
by The Fanciful Norwegian
So basically BU charged $40 extra for a documentary and a nice box. Argh.

Edit: Of course I suppose it's possible the standalone releases won't have the commentaries from the boxed set, although the theatrical version of Scum will apparently have the Ray Winstone track. Other than that, DVD Empire doesn't say, but I'm guessing that's because they don't have finalized specs yet.

Posted: Wed Dec 14, 2005 2:34 am
by Ashirg
Made in Britain:
Audio Commentary 1 with Star Tim Roth. Audio Commentary 2 with Writer David Leland and Producer Margaret Matheson. Archive Interview with Star Tim Roth. Poster & Still Gallery. Color, Dolby Digital Mono, Closed Captioned

The Firm/Elephant:
The Firm: Still Galleries. Elephant: Audio Commentary with Producer Danny Boyle. Memories of Elephant - Interviews with Gary Oldman, David Hare and Molly Clarke. Color, Dolby Digital Mono

Posted: Wed Dec 14, 2005 4:14 am
by htdm
Gregory wrote:I bought the box set but haven't opened it yet. Maybe I should just sell it and buy these titles individually. Then again, it may be worth the extra money not to have this cover in my home:

I had to laugh when I read that. The tag line ought to read:
"You know I'm training to be a cage fighter, Napoleon!"

Posted: Tue Jan 17, 2006 5:58 pm
by dx23 is reporting that Scum is going to be released as a limited 2 disc set on Feb 28th. More info on the specs :

Dissent & Disruption: The Complete Alan Clarke at the BBC

Posted: Sun Nov 25, 2007 4:15 pm
by colinr0380
Since I voted for Elephant in the recent shorts list, I thought I would add some of my thoughts about Alan Clarke's film to the forum. I remember on the Q&A session for Julie Taymor's film version of Titus Andronicus that she described Shakespeare's play as being a thesis on violence in all its forms (filial, sexual, in war, unpremeditated lashing out, nihilistic etc). I feel Elephant is a similarly masterful thesis on violence but instead of describing motivations for such acts as in the Shakespeare play, it makes its points through stripping all motivation out and focusing on the act itself almost to abstraction but in a way which shows the universality of the act beyond just serving as an indictment of the violence in Northern Ireland at the time.

Each sequence is formed of the shooter coming to find their victim, killing them and walking off with the camera then focusing on the dead body. Within these restrictions the film seems to be performing a kind of experiment in seeing how small changes affect each murder:

1. The environment - it varies from public spaces such as petrol stations and parks, to urban environments such as office buildings and car parks, to individual homes, showing a universality in the way they can all be the setting for the shooting.

2. Characters mannerisms - while there is the bare minimum of characterisation I was struck by the way there seems to be an experimentation with having the way the characters act and the way they are dressed sketch many possible backstories for how things reached that point without making a definitive statment.

For example the scene in which a young, punkish looking guy and his partner enter a restaurant and shoot an older man sitting at a table in the back doing his accounts - just the way the shooter and victim look and the way they are dressed suggests that they do not have much of a connection, that they wouldn't interact together casually, and so to me suggests that the lad and his partner are carrying out an impersonal 'hit' rather than a personally motivated attack. There is another scene in which one guy walks up to the door of a house, rings the bell and when it is answered chases the person inside and shoots them in the back - both murderer and victim in this scene are around the same age and there seems to be a recognition there that suggests this is more of a personal settling of scores. There is also a class element implied in some of the sequences, for example where a scruffily dressed man shoots another man in a suit dead in a petrol station forecourt.

This seems similar to the way Gus Vant Sant in his similarly titled film sketched in all the possible reasons for the two killers to have been 'turned' that way, from sexual confusion, to gun obsession, to being bullied, playing violent video games and watching videos of Hitler - it is sketching the possibilities to seemingly show how absurd it is to try to apportion blame to one thing or another. Many people have the same experiences, play the same games, watch the same films and suffer the same problems, Van Sant's Elephant seems to be saying, but in the end a choice has been made beyond them to kill that is only comprehensible on the level of the individual event itself and cannot be reduced to a simple cause and effect. Clarke's Elephant similarly through sketching the reasons for each killing without describing what leads up to each sequence focuses the attention on the primacy of the event rather than whether there was a 'justifiable' reason for the killing or not in the audience's opinion (and also prevents the filmmaker themselves from the impulse to create sympathy artificially beyond what is already created by witnessing the murders)

3. The way each sequence is edited - while all the sequences follow the same pattern, the way they are edited seems to weight the relationship between murderer and victim differently. An early sequence shows a man searching an empty building until he finds the victim mopping out the toilets. He waits for the victim to turn around and they exchange glances before he shoots. That small moment adds something to that individual relationship.

Another sequence in a park focuses on the shooter, with the victim's face never being seen as we follow them from behind as the killer passes them from the opposite direction. Then when he is behind them (and the camera) turns and shoots the person we have been following in the back of the head - that makes it seem extremely impersonal and shows that there is no recognition from the victim of his killer.

That could be compared to the later sequence where the shooter is actively searching for his target and has to chase them down to kill them.

And then there is the final walk to be executed which makes the seemingly predetermined meeting between murderer and victim brutally literal...

By seemingly so restricting itself, Elephant attains a kind of universality and allows a huge number of combinations of killer, victim and environments to occur, stressing both the individuality of the situation at the same time as leaving the event almost abstract.

It shows how arbitrary, sudden and almost commonplace the event is and how whether it is done for religious, political or for any other petty feud the result is the same - another death. In a strange way it feels like the film is asking us to approach the killings with a child-like point of view of the world - of not putting any weighting of judgement on the victim or shooter outside of the murder itself. We do not get the opportunity to say to ourselves "Yes, I think that killing was justified" or "That was a particularly callous crime", instead we are asked to react as a child would - without prejudice and with shock and sorrow for the taking of a life, whatever the reason it was done for.

The three things that remain important (the three things that are usually considered the least important, especially in political or religious killings where the motivation is usually something 'beyond' the act itself) are the focus on the killer, searching out their victim, preparing themselves for the act and then leaving the scene having taken a life; the environment, forever tainted by what has taken place there; and the victim - I am left with a feeling that the scenes where the camera returns to the various bodies after following the killer from the scene of their crime is to reconfront the audience with the act and also to show how quickly something that was only just alive can be irrevocably destroyed.


Posted: Sun Nov 25, 2007 4:54 pm
by zedz
Great comments on a very great film. The extra dimension that's missing, however (and which Clarke very deliberately strips out of the film) is the historical context of Northern Ireland in the 1980s. There is 'motivation' for these killings, and a very specific back-story and context, but Clarke wants to get away from the political and religious conflict, which were the terms in which the media framed the killings, and redirect our attention to the brutal facts of mutual murder. Which is why it's so important that we never know who's killing who. Republican killings look the same as Loyalist ones.

Clarke made another superb, abstracted film about Northern Ireland, Contact, but I don't think that's readily available.

Posted: Sun Jun 29, 2008 10:04 pm
by miless
wait, so are there any differences between the transfers for the Alan Clarke boxed set and the stand alone titles?
I just noticed that the set came out before the individual titles were issued and don't want to screw myself.

Posted: Mon Jun 30, 2008 10:12 am
by colinr0380
Blue Underground did the same thing with the Alan Clarke set as they did with the Mondo Cane box, releasing the boxset as a limited edition and then all the films (and in the case of Scum, Africa Addio and Goodbye Uncle Tom versions of films) separately once the box was going out of print.

The only difference there seems to be is that you don't get the Director: Alan Clarke career retrospective documentary (as you don't get The Godfathers of Mondo documentary from the Mondo Cane set) outside of the boxset. The films and related extras on the film discs seem to be exactly the same as those in the box.

Posted: Mon Jun 30, 2008 3:20 pm
by Musashi219
colinr0380 wrote:The only difference there seems to be is that you don't get the Director: Alan Clarke career retrospective documentary (as you don't get The Godfathers of Mondo documentary from the Mondo Cane set) outside of the boxset. The films and related extras on the film discs seem to be exactly the same as those in the box.
While it is true they did not release the Alan Clarke documentary separately, I should mention that The Godfathers of Mondo documentary is also available in the broken down boxsets of the Mondo Cane set. They released three of them called Shockumentaries Vol. 1, Vol. 2, etc, and Vol. 2 comes with The Godfathers of Mondo. Wish they would've released the Clarke documentary separately, as I bought all the Clarke titles individually. :|

Posted: Tue Jul 01, 2008 5:56 pm
by miless
for anyone interested, is selling their last few copies of the Alan Clarke collection for just under $60 (which is the cheapest I can find it anywhere)... my total (w/shipping) was $62.11
according to their website they have 3 copies left.

Posted: Sat Jul 12, 2008 7:26 pm
by miless
The Alan Clarke Collection was very good, but it left me wanting more. I assume that Blue Underground has no current plans for releasing more of Alan Clarke's films, which is a shame because my mouth is watering for more (Christine, in particular, looks fascinating).

Alan Clarke

Posted: Thu Nov 01, 2012 5:01 pm
by peerpee
I'm currently watching 25 or so Alan Clarke films, many of them rare, and writing notes here:

]THE GOLD ROBBERS: The Arrangement (tx: 25th July 1969, ITV) - available in a ltd ed 4xDVD set, UK, Network
THE LAST TRAIN THROUGH HARECASTLE TUNNEL (tx: 1st October 1969, BBC1, The Wednesday Play)
SOVEREIGN'S COMPANY (tx: 22nd April 1970, BBC1, The Wednesday Play)
HORACE (1972)
THE EDWARDIANS: Horatio Bottomley episode / BBC2 tx 28/11/1972 - available in a 4xDVD set, UK, Acorn. Made in colour, but unfortunately only in B&W on this DVD (some other episodes are in colour).
PENDA'S FEN (1974)
DIANE (1975)
SCUM (TV, 1977) - available on DVD
NINA (1978)
SCUM (Film, 1979) - available on DVD
BAAL (1982)
MADE IN BRITAIN (1983) - available in UK Blu-ray set, "TALES OUT OF SCHOOL"
CONTACT (1985)
BILLY THE KID AND THE GREEN BAIZE VAMPIRE (1987) - available on Network DVD, OAR but non-anamorphic
RITA, SUE, AND BOB TOO! (1987) - available on DVD, but recently HD restored and released on Blu-ray by Twilight Time in the USA (Blu-ray could be improved upon, HD resto suspected of being a bit too heavy handed)
ROAD (1987)
THE FIRM (1989) - available on DVD
ELEPHANT (1989) - available in the 2004 Blue Underground Alan Clarke DVD boxset

Does anybody have access to:

HALF HOUR STORY: A Man Inside ITV tx 26/5/1967 director
HALF HOUR STORY: Which of these Two Ladies is he Married To? ITV tx 12/7/1967 director
THE INFORMER: Sleeping Dogs Lie ITV tx 27/11/1967 director
A MAN OF OUR TIMES: Sally Go Round the Moon ITV tx 18/1/1968 director
A MAN OF OUR TIMES: Got Yourself Sorted Out At All? ITV tx 25/1/1968 director
A MAN OF OUR TIMES: Never Mind How We Got Here - Where Are We? ITV tx 14/3/1968 director
HALF HOUR STORY: Nothing's Ever Over ITV tx 17/7/1968 director
THE COMPANY OF FIVE: Stand By Your Screen ITV tx 8/12/1968 director
THE COMPANY OF FIVE: Gareth ITV tx 15/12/1968 director
SATURDAY NIGHT THEATRE: The Piano Tuner ITV tx 8/3/1969 director
PLAYS OF TODAY: The Ladies - Doreen BBC2 tx 18/9/1969 director
PLAYS OF TODAY: The Ladies - Joan BBC2 tx 18/9/1969 director
SATURDAY NIGHT THEATRE: The Comic ITV tx 29/11/1969 director
PLAY FOR TODAY: I Can't See My Little Willie BBC1 tx 19/11/1970 director
PLAY FOR TODAY: Everybody Say Cheese BBC1 tx 3/6/1971 director
PLAY FOR TODAY: A Life is for Ever BBC1 tx 16/10/1972 director
ACHILLES' HEEL ITV tx 18/3/1973 director
PLAY FOR TODAY: Man Above Men BBC1 tx 19/3/1973 director
VODKA COLA ITV tx 22/7/1980 director / producer
THE BRITISH DESK ITV tx 8/5/1984 director


Re: Alan Clarke

Posted: Thu Nov 01, 2012 5:35 pm
by warren oates
What I wouldn't give to have copies of some of this work, especially ROAD, CONTACT and CHRISTINE. So does this mean that anyone is planning to release any of these titles, Nick, or is it for some kind of Alan Clarke retrospective or just for your personal edification? I've always thought that both Alan Clarke's and Michael Haneke's unreleased TV movies would make awesome Eclipse sets.

Re: Alan Clarke

Posted: Thu Nov 01, 2012 6:10 pm
by peerpee
I've been trying for years to speed up and enable their HD remastering and proper, comprehensive release. I'm now able to focus clearly on one project at a time and I'm devoting November to Alan, watching everything properly, making notes, whilst continuing to try and get some wheels turning.

[EDIT: I've put all the missing works in the top post so I can continue editing just the one post]