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The Bill Douglas Trilogy

4.2 out of 5 stars 5 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

The lost genius of U.K. cinema, Bill Douglas produced a trilogy of soul-shattering autobiographical films unlike anything seen before.
Douglas recounts his childhood and adolescence through the experiences of young Jamie, who has the misfortune to come from a poverty-stricken mining town in Scotland. MY CHILDHOOD introduces Jamie s family and focuses on his relationship with a German POW during the last days of WWII; MY AIN FOLK finds him living with his paternal grandmother before being taken to a children s home; and MY WAY HOME follows an older Jamie during his national service in the Royal Air Force.
Unforgettable performances by a cast of professionals and nonprofessionals, including Stephen Archibald as Jamie, highlight this trio of real-life dramas.

Special Features

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Product Details

  • Actors: Stephen Archibald, Hughie Restorick, Jean Taylor Smith, Karl Feiseler, Bernard McKenna
  • Directors: Bill Douglas
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Black & White, Full Screen, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Rated:
    Unrated
    Not Rated
  • Studio: FACETS
  • DVD Release Date: September 23, 2008
  • Run Time: 165 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B001BMN3ZK
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #202,554 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Bill Douglas Trilogy" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

By David Edelberg on October 5, 2008
Format: DVD
Serious film lovers are surely blessed that Facets Video (which brought out top rated 'Decalogue' and recently Bela Tarr's 'Satantango') has now released a totally pristine DVD of this almost forgotten 1970's U.K. filmmaker.
Here is Douglas' own poverty stricken childhood in a small Scottish village, recreated using mainly non-professional actors in three one hour segments. According to the added special feature documentary, Douglas (who died in 1991 of lung cancer) escaped the brutality of his surroundings by virtually living in his town's dumpy movie theater. If this brings to mind Antoine Doinel in Truffaut's 'The 400 Blows,' that's fine, but replace Antoine's Paris with a landscape straight from Samuel Beckett.
Douglas' genius was very much appreciated at the time but the producers also knew he had little commercial appeal. He was only to make one commercial film ("Comrades") before his death.
He was very much enamoured of silent movies and in this trilogy, dialog is very limited. Instead, his camera lingers long enough on a face or an abandoned yard or a shabby table, so that words become superfluous.
This is a great film experience. Several days after seeing it for the first time, the images still replay themselves in my mind. Once you own it, you'll know exactly what to buy next for your dedicated film buff friends.
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Format: DVD
Confession - I had never heard of Bill Douglas until a recent fortunate accident connected me with the legendary TRILOGY.If you define a masterpiece as art with a power and appeal that defies analysis, yet connects you with something profound and truthful, this collection of monochrome autobiographies of "Jamie" (immediately identifiable as Bill Douglas himself)is without question a masterpiece. A boy drags himself out of terrifying poverty into a self-created world of hope and creativity. This is not Dickensean cinema, Oliver re-visited, or a Scotish Bleak House. One soon realizes a subtle artist is at work, for Mr Douglas' shots are squeezed dry of sentimentality. There is no manipulation of the audience, no compromising sweetness, no orchestration of response through a music score. Cuts are as jarring as Jamie's life itself. The audience's intelligence is respected when there are omissions of chronology and brutality is neither explained nor resolved. The films' artistry fashions beauty from the most unpromising images and themes, and at the end you will not know how the director achieved it. Slag heaps, coal lifts dropping men like refuse into the shafts, tenement pathways never offering an exit from the slums, awful toys in undarned Christmas stockings, lumpen food, silent dinner tables, adults incapable of joy, kids unable to smile -hardly a wholesome or hopeful world for the central character (superbly played by non-actor Stephen Archibald, whose casting is itself a stroke of genius by Bill Douglas). Yet the narrative culminates in Jamie breaking through the grimey surface of poverty, triumphing over his shattering beginnings, and finding a friend and a purpose.Read more ›
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Format: DVD
Seen as some of the best depictions of childhood ever recorded on camera; these three films from Bill Douglas are both time capsules and sad reminders of how tough it was and can be growing up poor. These are autobiographical films and the first `My Childhood' was made in 1972 with Stephen Archibald playing the main character `Jamie'. It is set in a blasted landscape in a Scottish coal mining community just at the tail end of World War II.

Jamie is being brought up by his grandmother along with his older half brother Tommy. It is utterly devastating what the children go through all to a seemingly indifferent world.

The second `My Ain Folk' was made the following year and picks up where the first ended with Jamie ending up in a council run care home. It shows him trying to adjust and yet at all time being alone, even when he is surrounded by others. This is probably one of the bleakest of the three films in that this depicts the very people who Jamie should rely on to support and care for him and all are found wanting.

The final part is `My Way Home and was made five years later in 1978, in fact Bill Douglas waited until Stephen Archibald was old enough to be able to play his army role. This is a sort of redemption and features his adolescence and all the anomie that would normally afflict any teenager at that time being expanded by the exterior influences he faces.

These are devastatingly dark films, all shot in brilliant black and white with dirt you can almost feel under your nails and the smells seem to cloy at you from the screen. For me there was a lot of resonance with my childhood, though nowhere near as bleak, so for me it was not an easy watch - especially the violence. It is a testament to the human spirit that he could have gone through so much and ended up such a talented and gifted individual.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I am going to keep this review brief, but if you are on the fence about buying this stop thinking and do. It's one of the most poetic and musical film(s). Although the films are short they are dense and pack just as much of a punch than any full length film. Definitely worth it.
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