Comrades, the story of the Tolpuddle Martyrs, by Bill Douglas, whose historic film centre is based in Exeter University, is set to be released on DVD for the first time from the British Film Institutes.
It comes after the success of Bill’s autobiographical trilogy -My Childhood (1972), My Ain Folk (1973) and My Way Home (1978) -last year.
In Comrades, the Tolpuddle story is related to the audience by a travelling showman using popular visual entertainments of the 19th century â€“ panoramas, shadow plays, and magic lanterns.
Many of the ideas and devices from the film are displayed in the South West’s cinema museum at the University of Exeter’s Bill Douglas Centre for the History of Cinema and Popular Culture (BDC).
The museum is named after filmmaker Bill Douglas, who, with his friend Peter Jewell, built up an enormous collection of items on cinema and optical entertainment that forms the basis of the museum’s attractions and the centre’s research facility.
An exhibition of artefacts from the film will be on display at the BDC from Monday, July 20 onwards as part of the university’s launch event where Peter Jewell will be in attendance and Sean Martin will screen his film Lanterna Magika.
Bill deliberately cast the main roles of the Tolpuddle Martyrs to unknown professional actors. A number of young actors working on the film like Keith Allen, Phil Davis, Imelda Staunton and Alex Norton.
The British Film Institute release of Comrades is a new, high definition restoration DVD. The special features on the two-disc set include cast members recalling the making of the film and a new documentary by Sean Martin on Bill’s life and work.
Every year the Trade Union Congress (TUC) organises the annual Tolpuddle Martyrs Festival and this year, Bill Douglas Centre Curator Phil Wickham will be introducing a screening of the new DVD of Comrades at the Tolpuddle Village Hall on Friday, July 17 as part of the 175th anniversary celebrations.
For more on the film, check it out on the Screen Online site.
posted by Cptn
(Image: Comrades courtesy of the BFI)
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