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A Bit of Scarlet

Ian McKellan , John Hurt , Andrea Weiss  |  DVD
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)

Price: $19.99 & FREE Shipping on orders over $35. Details
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Product Details

  • Actors: Ian McKellan, John Hurt, Vanessa Redgrave, Dirk Bogarde
  • Directors: Andrea Weiss
  • Writers: Andrea Weiss, Stuart Marshall
  • Producers: Rebecca Dobbs
  • Format: NTSC
  • Region: All Regions
  • Studio: MayaVision Ltd./British Film Institute
  • DVD Release Date: November 20, 2008
  • Run Time: 80 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B001LNOKN8
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #530,413 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Special Features


Editorial Reviews

A Bit of Scarlet excavates clips from Britain's cinema archives to create a moving and humorous testament to the closeted gay and lesbian images from filmmaking's earliest days.

Following gay characters as they go from being the butt of jokes to full-blown leading characters, Weiss has captured a playful, occasionally melodramatic, insight into on-screen queer representation. With Ian McKellen as narrator and witty graphics to introduce each theme, A Bit of Scarlet reveals to what lengths the film industry went to include and yet ridicule gay characters. Both well-known portraits - like John Hurt's performance in The Naked Civil Servant and Dirk Bogarde in Victim- and many more obscure finds, make for a telling post-modern look at British queer cinema.

This product is manufactured on demand using DVD-R recordable media.'s standard return policy will apply.

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars British Celluloid comes out of the Closet December 28, 2009
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Andrea Weiss has produced an extremely entertaining and empowering documentary of the queer side of British film history which compliments The Celluloid Closet beautifully (they were both works in progress at the same time).

I recently remastered the recording of my half hour interview with Andrea from 1st August 1997, for Queer Radio on 4ZZZfm, when she was invited by the Brisbane International Film Festival to present "A Bit Of Scarlet". Andrea was enthusiastic and deservedly proud of this feature. However she was shocked when the projectionist showed the last few reels out of order. I'm over the moon that A Bit Of Scarlet is now available on DVD - I want to see A Bit Of Scarlet in its entirety exactly as Andrea intended.

Wonderful, stylish, inventive, historically unique and truly vital documentary film-making. Highly recommended.
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3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Sometimes entertaining; seldom informative. July 2, 2010
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Called a British companionpiece to "The Celluloid Closet," which was based on Vito Russo's book of the same name, telling the story, mainly in clips from the films, the story of the treatment of gay characters in movies from 1895 to c. 1992---"A Bit of Scarlet" falls way short.

If you had seen all, or nearly all, of the movies "A Bit of Scarlet" shows you clips of, you might get a kick out of it. Alas, I had only seen 13-14 (and I say, chaps, how did you let "My Beautiful Laundrette" get away from you?). There are NO titles under the clips, nor are there dates, nor are the clips shown in chronological order, nor are they shown in the order in which all their names appear (rather speedily) at the end of the movie. ) Ian McKellen's wonderful voice sometimes speaks in the present tense, sometimes in the past tense---this follows no chronological order either.

When I saw "The Celluloid Closet," it took me about a month to spend $200 on the movies I had seen clips of and did not yet own. What's more, the film told a sort of a story, which "A Bit of Scarlet" does not. One of the reasons I thought of "My Beautiful Laundrette" is that "The Celluloid Clposet" ends with an appeal that sometime soon, movies with important gay characters will not have to be "gay" movies--but simply mix gay characters with straight characters. The way life does, if you happen to live in the right place, like Berkeley, California. And no, I'm not saying nobody is in a closet, or a half-opened closet anymore...but some places in this favored land, there are fewer than there were.

Andrea Weiss uses a lot of Lesbian clips (very few of which came from movies I had seen), and some of which I would very much like to see...if I could only identify them!
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