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Christopher and His Kind (2011)

Matt Smith , Toby Jones , Geoffrey Sax  |  Unrated |  DVD
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (54 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Matt Smith, Toby Jones, Imogen Poots, Lindsay Duncan, Will Kemp
  • Directors: Geoffrey Sax
  • Writers: Christopher Isherwood, Kevin Elyot
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.77:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: Unrated
  • Studio: BFS Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: June 28, 2011
  • Run Time: 90 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (54 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B004RIACU4
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #77,351 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Special Features


Editorial Reviews


"I am a camera with its shutter open" - Christopher Isherwood

Based on writer Christopher Isherwood's critically acclaimed memoir, Christopher and His Kind, this landmark BBC adaptation gives a fascinating glimpse into the decadent and politically unstable world of 1930s Berlin. A young, wide-eyed Christopher (Matt Smith - Doctor Who) escapes repressive English society and arrives in Berlin at a time when the cabaret scene is in full swing. Launched into the thriving gay subculture, Christopher embarks on a potent journey of self-discovery amidst the vibrant atmosphere of Berlin's cabaret nightlife and the dark rise of Nazi politics.

WARNING: This program contains nudity and mature content. Viewer discretion is advised.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
93 of 94 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Inspired adaptation of Isherwood memoir. May 14, 2011
BBCVideo offers this truly inspired and (more importantly) faithful adaptation of Christopher Isherwood's memoir of the events that inspired his Berlin Stories. Matt Smith (the current Doctor Who) stars as Isherwood, off to Berlin to join W. H. Auden in pursuit of....not culture, or education, but boys! Most of Isherwood's fiction was thinly veiled autobiography and thus Christopher and His Kind could be interpreted as the unexpurgated Cabaret, for basically the stories are the same without the music. [Of course this made for television film doesn't really compare with the Fosse/Minnelli classic].

Matt Smith plays Isherwood wonderfully well, capturing his initial sexual and political naïveté and burgeoning enlightenment. Indeed, what is most impressive in the performance is that we witness the character develop - not just sexually (yes, the film is explicit), but more importantly, politically, and as a keen observer and able chronicler of personal and world events.

As the flamboyant chanteuse Jean Ross - the inspiration for Sally Bowles, Isherwood's most indelible literary creation - Imogen Poots is breathtakingly world-weary and heart-sore, vulnerable and sincere; it's a special performance worthy of special recognition. The underrated Toby Jones scores again as the unforgettable Gerald Hamilton (read: Mr. Norris from Mr. Norris Changes Trains), fortune's fool and victim of time (he's an aging, balding queen) and his own ill-begotten schemes. Lindsay Duncan as Isherwood's deliciously manipulative mother is a treat, while Perry Millwood is wantonly earnest as his all but forgotten brother Richard.

The script by Kevin Elyot and direction by Geoffrey Sax deserve praise for capturing the essence of Isherwood as well as the atmosphere of pre-war Berlin; in fact all the production elements are top drawer. Over all this is a glorious production and deserves a wide audience.
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42 of 42 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Capturing the "feel" of pre-war Germany July 2, 2011
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
In my youth, I became obsessed with the writings of Christopher Isherwood and always considered the movie "Cabaret" with Minnelli and Grey to be one of my very favorite films ever. The aforesaid emotions of my youth persist to this day. Therefore, when this British TV film "Christopher and his Kind" became available in this country, I readily purchased it and I am so very glad that I did because it is splendidly directed and acted capturing the "feel" of Isherwood's pre World War II Berlin wonderfully.

For years after the marvelous film of "Cabaret" was released, Christopher Isherwood lamented that the film was not a true portrayal of what his life was really like in Berlin during the time being shown especially his supposed "love affair" with Sally Bowles. This film of "Christopher and his kind" as in the book by the same name certainly goes a very long way in showing what it was really like for Christopher and his friends in Berlin before Hitler and his thugs took over.

The acting by all in this BBC film is simply great. Matt Smith as Christopher in his youth is fantastic. He acts Isherwood all "wide-eyed" with wonder at the sexual freedom, Berlin offered at the time. Jean Ross is also great as the character that was to become Sally Bowles--vulnerable,"world weary" and a little "wild". (I adored the way the film emphasizes that she and Christopher were really good friends.) In fact, all of the acting in this film is very good.

Be advised that although in "Christopher and his Kind", the viewing audience gets a good look at the decadence and the "gay life" that was in early 1930's Berlin, we are never allowed to forget that the horrors of the Nazis were just around the corner. I really enjoyed this film.
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48 of 51 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Magnificent Achievement March 21, 2011
Matt Smith turns in a fearless portrayal of author Christopher Isherwood. This film is splendid and beautiful as writer Kevin Elyot and director Geoffrey Sax bring to life Isherwood's vision of Berlin, its boys, the cabarets and the downfall under Hitler's Nazi regime. Not since Merchant/Ivory has so beautiful a 20th Century period piece been created, with brashness and privacy.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
After his famous "Berlin Stories" inspired both the drama "I Am A Camera" and the dramatic musical "Cabaret", author Christopher Isherwood still did not feel that his life had been accurately depicted on stage and screen. To this end, he published "Christopher And His Kind" in 1976. If the earlier play and musical had been, esentially, "fictionalized autobiography", then "Kind", directed by Geoffrey Sax and written for British TV by Kevin Elyot, wants to be Isherwood's "true story".
Aspiring writer Christopher Isherwood (Matt Smith) quickly goes to Berlin at the invitation of his friend W.H. Auden (Pip Carter). Ireland makes a surprisingly believeable "location substitute" for Berlin in this production. Christopher writes that he went to 1930's Berlin "for the boys." He probably went to escape his horribly judgemental and domineering mother (Lindsay Duncan). After a few moments with Duncan on screen, you might want to escape by any means necessary as well.
During his early months in Berlin, life may well have been a cabaret, filled with gay sex, for young Christopher. "Kind" is surprisingly frank and candid about his sex life, far more so than "Cabaret." "Cabaret" made Christopher bi-sexual;
in love with chanteuse Sally Bowles, and that is probably what bothered him about it. "Kind" portrays him as totally homosexual. Christopher gets so much sex here, it seems that sex is his job and teaching English and writing is his hobby; instead of vice-versa. But Berlin also contains terrors far more frightening than the domineering mother Christopher ran away from. At first, Christopher, who famously wrote, "I am a camera with its shutter open" views the Nazi uprising rather passively.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Masterful
I avoided viewing this film for a long time, assuming it was all "gay" and no story. Boy, was I wrong. Read more
Published 2 days ago by Lost in Vegas
4.0 out of 5 stars Quite thoughtful
From the setting of the movie, you don't need to be a historian (or a Time Lord?) to figure out that the rise of Nazism will play a bit of a factor in this story. Read more
Published 4 days ago by Rocky Sunico
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Published 19 days ago by robert
4.0 out of 5 stars Sos so
The movie okay it arrived on time
Published 1 month ago by Ejay
5.0 out of 5 stars Long before Sally Bowles there was Christopher and his kind.
Having read the book when it came out many years ago I was curious to see that it had become a movie. It was well done in every way. Read more
Published 1 month ago by D. Peters
4.0 out of 5 stars Gay life in 1930's Germany
Nice classy film. I enjoyed watching. This film is meant to be based in Germany in the 1930's with a sound portrait of the Gay life in that time and place. Glad I checked it out. Read more
Published 2 months ago by ~*JONAS*~
4.0 out of 5 stars the last hedonistic days before Hitler
This is the story of writer Christopher Isherwood's indulgence in the gay mecca of Berlin in those last days before Hitler. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Harry Pandolfino
4.0 out of 5 stars Well done BBC adaptation
Credible production of Christopher Isherwood's 1930s novel (and all that followed) that chronicled Berlin's remaining salad days under the Weimar Republic. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Blue in Washington
5.0 out of 5 stars Douglas Booth is BRILLIANT
Stumbled upon this movie on Netflix and was blown away. The acting by Matt Smith (Christopher Isherwood) and Douglas Booth (Heinz) is something that you can't even begin to think... Read more
Published 4 months ago by Jacob
4.0 out of 5 stars The Real Cabaret
This was a very good film. I think it may have been the real story of "Cabaret" The acting was superb. I would recommend this film.
Published 5 months ago by Mr. M. Capeloto
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is there any english subtitles
The UK release says that the dvd is English Language with English Subtitles. I would imagine they did not remove these for the American release.
May 15, 2012 by Sara R. Clifton |  See all 4 posts
did they hack out any scenes for the american version? Be the first to reply
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