I AM A CAMERA BLU RAY REVIEW

The prevailing thoughts around Studio Classics, from the physical media crowd, seems to be, great films, good label, average releases. This brand-new restoration of I AM CAMERA, seems to skirt some of this arguement. The film follows famed author Christopher Isherwood (played with reserved grace by Laurence Harvey), as he lives in interwar years Berlin. Isherwood is actually reflecting on his life post the second war. After the madness and monsterousness of the age. His reflections are, like the books he produced, defused with a sense of loss and bewilderment at the horrors of the age. In Berlin, he meets an English woman, Sally Bowles (Shouty fun Julie Harris). She is eccentric in a very noisy way. The city was very like this during the age and she encapsulates it perfectly. The two connect and spend days and nights, living on the bread line, dreaming of a fine time, avoiding Nazi crimes and, Isherwood hopes, writing the greatest book of modern time.

This 1955 British comedy-drama film, is often over shadowed by CABARET from 1971. The latter is the better translation of The Berlin Stories by Christopher Isherwood. However the later also is stuck fast to the excellent play by John Van Druten. Where that sticks, here we get a little more Isherwood and a lot more humour. Laced a little with pathos, pain and a sprinkle of the power that reflecting on a seismic event. Director Henry Cornelius, might have made better films, PASSPORT TO PIMLICO is one. However he extracts enough form John Collier script, his cast, especially Julie Harris, who is recreating her Tony Award-winning performance as Sally Bowles, to deliver a refreshing take on the times, the story of Sally Bowles and the life of Isherwood.

So to the disc and well, the box is lovely, isnt it! I really like the delivered art work that shares enough of the sense from the film and its tone to get away with it. The extras are very good, if limited. Peter Parker, who has written the definitive book on Isherwood, delivers a focuses, brief but very rich piece on the great writer. Speaking on how he felt the film and his legacy would be. He should have been given more time, but I feel that the viewer probably, if they like what they see, will buy his book. Anna Smith, has a little less to say but it is very well researched and also user friendly. Delivered with panache, she explores the cast and the creators behind the film. The interesting points about Jean Ross to Sally Bowles, make for a fine introduction to the body of work.

 

 

Extras:

* Peter Parker on Christopher Isherwood
* Interview with journalist and film critic Anna Smith
* Stills gallery
* Trailer

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