Along with Ken Loach (Poor Cow
) and Mike Leigh (High Hopes
), Alan Clarke was one of Britain's leading television and film producer-directors in the 1970s and '80s, specializing in works of "social realism," i.e., stories that resembled contemporary society and those who helped shape and/or were shaped by it. The Alan Clarke Collection
, a six-disc boxed set encompassing most of Clarke's directed efforts (1986's Rita, Sue & Bob Too
, probably his best-known film in the U.S., is not included, unfortunately) is not only an intense introduction to Clarke's concerns with institutional and private violence, but a chance to see phenomenal early performances by the likes of Tim Roth and Gary Oldman.
The son of a bricklayer who also spent some time as a laborer before studying acting and directing in Canada, Clarke (who died in 1990) got his start at the BBC in the 1960s. By 1977, he had directed his explosive and controversial television feature, Scum, starring Ray Winstone (Sexy Beast) as a survivor at a corrupt and brutal juvenile prison. Harrowing, claustrophobic, and deeply tragic, Scum was banned by the BBC for graphic brutality (and, quite likely, criticism of the justice system), leading Clarke to remake it with Winstone and the same script as a 1979 theatrical release. Both versions are included in this set, and each is a unique experience. The earlier Scum is a lean, low-budget, relentlessly nightmarish drama while its second take is moodier, slower, and intermittently shocking.
Disc 3 contains the 1982 Made in Britain, featuring Roth in a brilliant film debut as a ferociously intelligent skinhead determined to rampage his way into oblivion. Written by David Leland (writer-director of The Land Girls), Made in Britain ingeniously turns Roth's character, Trevor, into a sympathetic if irredeemable monster who rejects every effort to force him into Thatcher-era conformity. Disc 4 includes two of Clarke's most interesting films and, at least in this set, the best evidence of a surrealist streak often noted by his contemporaries. The 1998 The Firm stars Gary Oldman in a dazzling performance as a London realtor, Bex, whose hobby is soccer hooliganism. Surrounded by other middle-class mates with nice cars, homes, and families, Bex is essentially a gang ringleader who exchanges violent hostilities with another gang of even better-dressed, better-spoken London soccer fans. Clarke's images of grown men, with lives of real responsibility, beating each other's brains in is too bizarre to shake off. From the same year is Clarke's short, Elephant, in which a wordless series of vignettes about shootings take on a ritual, almost musical, form. The final disc offers a fine, 1991 documentary about Clarke that helps place his films into a personal and stylistic context. --Tom Keogh
We are proud to present the 5-disc Limited Edition Alan Clarke Collection that includes participation by a veritable who's who of cutting edge British cinema: Tim Roth (Reservoir Dogs, Pulp Fiction), Danny Boyle (Trainspotting, 28 Days Later), Ray Winstone (Sexy Beast, Cold Mountain), David Leland (Mona Lisa, Wish You Were Here) and Phil Daniels (Quadrophenia). Seeing that this is brandished the NO FUTURE collection, the run will remain a very limited 10,000. This 5-disc set will include the following:
SCUM (1977 - BBC Version)
A shocking story of the brutality at a British school for young offenders. Ray Winstone (Sexy Beast), portrays a young troublemaker caught between the menacing staff and tough inmates. Banned by the BBC, this has never before been available on home video. Starring a well-known British cast, including Phil Daniels (Quadrophenia) and David Threlfall (Master & Commander). Producer Margaret Matheson also worked on infamous punk rock film, Sid & Nancy.
* Audio Commentary with Stars Phil Daniels and David Threlfall and Producer Margaret Matheson.
* Selected Scenes with Audio Commentary by Star Ray Winstone.
SCUM (1979 - Theatrical Version)
After being banned by the BBC, director Alan Clarke remade Scum as a theatrical feature, utilizing the same story and several of the same actors.
* Audio Commentary with Star Ray Winstone
* Interviews with Producer Clive Parsons & Writer Roy Minton (17 Mins.)
* Poster & Still Galleries
* Theatrical Trailer
MADE IN BRITAIN
Tim Roth portrays a young, intelligent, and sometimes violent skinhead who rebels against all authority, including those who want to help him. A potent portrait of disaffected youth (with a stinging punk rock soundtrack) that remains as relevant today. An unforgettable debut by Tim Roth, who went on to star in such classics as Reservoir Dogs and Pulp Fiction. Written by David Leland, who also scripted Mona Lisa and Wish You Were Here.
* Audio Commentary #1 with Star Tim Roth
* Audio Commentary #2 with Writer David Leland and Producer Margaret Matheson
* Archive Interview with Tim Roth (5 mins.)
* Poster & Still Gallery
In the tradition Lock, Stock & Two Smoking Barrels and Sexy Beast, Gary Oldman stars as the leader of a gang of football hooligans, whose plan to unite rival "firms" for the Championships results in violence.
* Still Galleries
In the inspiration for Gus Van Sant's award-winning film of the same name, a series of killings are committed randomly and without explanation in Northern Ireland. Produced by Danny Boyle (Trainspotting, 28 Days Later).
* Audio Commentary with Producer Danny Boyle
* Memories of Elephant: Interviews with Gary Oldman, David Hare & Molly Clarke (5 mins.)
DIRECTOR: ALAN CLARKE
A documentary featuring rare behind-the-scenes footage and interviews with friends and colleagues of Clarke, including Tim Roth, Danny Boyle, Stephen Frears (High Fidelity, The Grifters), Ray Winstone and Phil Daniels.
* Features rare behind-the-scenes footage and interviews with friends & colleagues of Alan Clarke, including Gary Oldman (Bram Stoker's Dracula), Tim Roth (Reservoir Dogs, Pulp Fiction), (Stephen Frears (High Fidelity), Ray Winstone (Sexy Beast) and Phil Daniels (Quadrophenia).
* Alan Clarke bio.