Goodbye Love Film!

film projector

We’ve been subscribed to Love Film in its several incarnations for years.

But Amazon sent an email a couple of months ago to inform us that the DVD-rental-in-the-post that we’ve enjoyed so much was coming to an end.

Yes, we have Prime and a subscription to Netflix and are overwhelmed with choice. But there was something about Love Film which made it special.

We rarely used it for trying to view recent films. It was the back catalogue we particularly liked.

And our final Love Film DVD has been brilliant.

“In Celebration” is a 1975 film directed by Lindsay Anderson.

It’s based on the 1969 stage play of the same title by David Storey.

Storey’s modern classic took audiences by storm and established him as one of the country’s most powerful playwrights.

The film’s director, Lindsay Anderson, also directed the stage play at The Royal Court Theatre in London.

The cast of the film is the same as the cast of the stage play.

Not strictly autobiographical, but rooted in the playwright’s Nottinghamshire mining background, “In Celebration” is set in a family home on the night three grown-up sons return somewhat reluctantly to celebrate their parents’ wedding anniversary.

The film stars Alan Bates and was shot in the Derbyshire mining town of Langwith. The Shaws (Bill Owen, Constance Chapman) are celebrating their 40th wedding anniversary and their three sons have returned home to take them for a night out at an expensive restaurant. Mr. Shaw is a coal miner of 49 years, who married a woman from a higher social class. He’s only one year off retirement. Mrs. Shaw urged her sons to abandon their father’s mining heritage in pursuit of corporate careers, but the results have not been positive. Andy (Alan Bates), the oldest, became a solicitor, but abandoned the work to pursue painting. Colin (James Bolam) was a former Communist party member, who has come to enjoy material (but not emotional) success as a labour negotiator for an automobile company. The youngest brother Steven (Brian Cox) is a teacher, married with four children of his own, who is writing a book, but has not produced any notable published works. The film examines the tensions which develop as the family reunite over the course of one evening.

The film was produced and released as part of the American Film Theatre, which adapted theatrical works for a subscription-driven cinema series. The play was re-rehearsed for three weeks before shooting and location scenes were filmed in the colliery town.

The sound quality of the film is flaky now but the acting is strong and powerful. The themes of the play still resonate strongly today and overall, we enjoyed the film adaptation of an excellent drama. Michael actually saw the original production at The Royal Court and was fascinated to watch the film and revive his memories of the original production.

We’d got several old films on our Love Film waiting list and hopefully we’ll be able to track them down on one of the streaming services.

But we’ll miss our DVD in the post and say goodbye, rather sadly, to Love Film!

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  1. Youngest-but-one son was also a big fan of Love Film. He told me to recommend Cinema Paradiso to you – slightly more expensive, but bigger back-catalogue, apparently!

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