The Alan Bennett Collection featuring An Englishman Abroad
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An Englishman Abroad
A Day Out
Sunset Across the Bay
A Visit from Miss Prothero
A Woman of No Importance
The Insurance Man
Dinner at Noon
102 Boulevard Haussman
A Question of Attribution
Portrait or Bust
Among the more renowned works is 1983's An Englishman Abroad, based on actor Browne's account of her meeting in Moscow with the notorious Guy Burgess (Bates), who defected to the USSR after being caught spying for the Russians in the '50s. Bennett, who supplies new introductions for each film, aptly describes this meeting between "the elegant actress [Browne plays herself] and the seedy exile" as both funny and sad; Burgess comes off as a drunken, fairly pathetic character, a self-described "tremendous villain" who knows he can never go home again. Another of the so-called "Cambridge spies," Sir Anthony Blunt (Fox), who was the "keeper of the Queen's pictures" and also confessed to spying for the Soviets, is the subject of A Question of Attribution, while The Insurance Man stars Day-Lewis as Franz Kafka in a surreal fantasy about a nightmarish bureaucracy that can only be described as Kafkaesque. These portraits are brilliant, but so are the ones about more ordinary folks, like Sunset Across the Bay, a meditation on aging in which a couple moves from Leeds (Bennett's hometown) to the seashore, only to find that retirement isn't quite what they'd hoped for, and A Woman of No Importance, a 48-minute monologue with Routledge as the title character (the very idea of this piece--one woman talking for nearly an hour, mostly about trivial matters--sounds impossibly boring, but in fact it's remarkably poignant). Bonus features include an extended interview with Bennett. --Sam Graham
Top Customer Reviews
This selection is very much a mixed bag and I would not recommend sitting through it all at once. But each part has its special value.
"A woman of no importance", played brilliantly by Patricia Routledge, starts in comic vein and ends in stark tragedy.
For cold war afficionados we have "An Englishman Abroad". The final scene is a gem, with Guy Burgess (played by Alan Bates) strutting flamboyantly through a Moscow snowstorm in his newly-arrived English clothes, to the patriotic strains of Gilbert and Sullivan's song "...for he is an English Man".
Last but not least, reality fans will enjoy the fly-on-the wall documentary from the Crown Hotel in Harrogate. Brilliant editing and a thoughtful commentary by Bennett. It goes to show the truth of the old Yorkshire saying, "there's nowt so queer as folks." [queer in its original meaning!].
Lots of good stuff here, as they would say in Leeds.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A brilliant collection of Alan Bennett's less familiar works, superbly acted and wonderfully introduced by the writer himself, one of the greatest of our day, whose gentle insight... Read morePublished 5 months ago by David J. Conolly
All wonderful.....each and every story....watched it all twice. Bennett is great.Published 16 months ago by Sullivan
The Alan Bennett Collection is rife with the clever understated dialogue, droll humor, and astute observations of the human condition (bordering at times on character... Read morePublished 17 months ago by Charles S. Houser
Not every piece here was a five star film for me, but the stunning breadth of Bennett's work, often ranging from outrageous humor to dark tragedy in a single piece makes this a... Read morePublished 17 months ago by K. Gordon
Saw this 20 or more years ago and always remembered it.
Glad to have the chance to own it.
Quick service. Thanks.
Odd in many ways, but in the ways that I enjoy. Quirky, a bit queer, but I found that the lesser known items were at least as enjoyable as the famous ones. Read morePublished on July 17, 2013 by Absinthe
If you want to be depressed for more than a few weeks, this is for you. On the other hand, if you are a devoted Alan Bennett fan, you will kvell from.Published on July 15, 2013 by Harrison H. Sheld
If you like his Talking Heads videos, this is another one to see. He does the commentary between pieces himself.Published on December 26, 2012 by Pamela Nelson
I am a great fan of the cold war stories particularly the ones of the English spies from oxford and CambridgePublished on December 23, 2012 by Philip Richards