Posted 20 hours ago

An Inspector Calls [DVD]

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As the doors slowly open and the servants traipse out, we are invited into the world of an upper-middle-class dinner party. Things are going well... there is an engagement to celebrate and the future of better business relations between two competing families.

An Inspector Calls (TV Movie 2015) - IMDb An Inspector Calls (TV Movie 2015) - IMDb

A riveting version of the famous socialist J B Priestly morality play by the BBC. It was originally broadcast as a three-part serial in the summer of 1982 but is much more enjoyable if viewed as a 'movie'... and a watchable version is currently available on YouTube as I write this (2018).Set in 1912 as the build-up to 'The Great War' was in motion, it can be seen politically as a warning of what war will bring and also socially as how a young, spirited and attractive, working-class girl (who we never see) is discarded by the middle classes. Capitalism is about to be put on the trail when a mysterious Detective Goole arrives and holds the members of the family up to scrutiny as it emerges that a girl has killed herself by drinking cleaning fluid. Yikes! What a horrible way to go! Walsh's version also represents the Inspector (David Thewlis) as a mysterious figure moving slowly in the darkness towards the Birling residence, walking along a narrow slum in shadow, his bowler hat and long coat silhouetted, and visiting the dying Eva in hospital. We are left unsure as to whether he exists at all - especially at the end when he mysteriously disappears. But the question of his being isn't really important: what matters more is his ability to uncover the truth about the Birling family through patient, insistent questioning. Thewlis's expression remains impassive throughout - even if he despises the Birlings' superciliousness, he will never let his emotions get the better of him.

An Inspector Calls (TV Mini Series 1982) - IMDb An Inspector Calls (TV Mini Series 1982) - IMDb

Aisling Walsh's telefilm of the Priestley classic, first performed at London's Old Vic Theatre in 1945, opens out the action somewhat. It begins with a shot of Eva Smith (Lucy Rundle) writing in her diary in a lonely room, followed by a shot of some wooden floorboards, and two or three establishing shots of the Birling factory with a 1912 car moving out of the gates. Through this brief sequence we are given a clear idea of the class-differences permeating the film between the haves and the have-nots, the exploiters and the exploited, that forms one of Priestley's major themes.

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