Though Willow was one of director Ron Howard's few box-office disappointments, it definitely deserves a second look. At once an epic celebration and a gentle spoof of the sword-and-sorcery genre, the film concerns the efforts by little person Willow Ufgood (Warwick Davis) to protect a sacred infant from the machinations of a wicked queen (Jean Marsh). One source book has assessed the picture as a combination of The Ten Commandments and Snow White. This is true enough, except that neither one of those properties offered such offbeat casting choices as Billy Barty and Jean Marsh. Executive producer George Lucas has (through the conduit of screenwriter Bob Dolman) added elements of his own Star Wars saga to the stew. The results are generally satisfactory, though the film is sometimes weighed down by too much plot, and the action sequences may not be suitable for very young children.
Peter Weir's haunting and evocative mystery is set in the Australia of 1900, a mystical place where the British have attempted to impose their Christian culture with such tweedy refinements as a girls' boarding school. After gauzily-photographed, nicely underplayed scenes of the girls' budding sexuality being restrained in Victorian corsets, the uptight headmistress (Rachel Roberts) takes them on a Valentine's Day picnic into the countryside, and several of the girls, led by the lovely Miranda (Anne Lambert) decide to explore a nearby volcanic rock formation. It's a desolate, primitive, vaguely menacing place, where one can almost feel the presence of ancient pagan spirits. Something – and there is an unspoken but palpable emphasis on the inherent carnality of the place – draws four of the girls to explore the rock. Three never return. No one ever finds out why. The repercussions for the school are tragic, and of course Roberts reacts with near-crazed anger, but what really happened? Weir gives enough clues to suggest any number of explanations, both physical and supernatural.
A moving and comprehensive look at the epic battles of World War II and how the British people coped in times of extreme hardship.
The second series of the hugely successful Wainwright Walks. Julia Bradbury retraces the footsteps of the legendary fell walker, artist and guide writer Alfred Wainwright using his "Pictorial Guides to the Lakeland Fells" on a further six walks. Includes the popular walks Helvellyn, Catbells and Helm Crag, the true summit of which Wainwright himself never succeeded in reaching. DVD extras include an interview with Eric Robson, Chairman of the Wainwright Society.
Julia Bradbury retraces four walks made popular by the legendary fellwalker, artist and guide writer Alfred Wainwright. The walks are Blencathra, Haystacks, Scafell Pike and Castle Crag. Also includes the documentary 'Wainwright: The Man Who Loved the Lakes'.