REG ON: From Stage to Screen

Article published on July 29, 2016.

This is a move from the normal book reviews I do. A short time ago I enjoyed reading and reviewing a book entitled MGM: Hollywood in Boreham Wood written by actor Derek Pykett. I did a short email interview with him at a later date. Recently however, he told me of a collection of DVD discs entitled ‘From Stage To Screen’ which he had produced.

I make no secret of the fact that I certainly enjoy the older film, especially those made before 1970, going right back to the silent era. Therefore, this collection of discs fitted the bill quite admirably. Derek Pykett’s latest release is made up of intimate interviews with several eminent stage and film actors and actresses from the last few decades. There can be nothing better, and richer than somebody talking about their individual lives, virtually uninterrupted for about an hour. There are six discs, each featuring two actors/actresses amounting to a total of fifteen hours on disc. One assumes they were recorded at their own home addresses, and once the camera had been set up, a short prompt and away they go.

Television does a similar thing when someone dies, but this is far different. These people have a story to tell, they tend to do a better job than any book or television can do it. How they became known, their careers, their marriages, children, good and bad reviews, asides about other celebrities, travel and appearances all over the globe. Tragic stories and funny stories, especially with the human touch being very much evident usually, sadly missing in television interviews. I enjoyed the intimate image of these people drinking a mug of tea as they spoke, much in the vein of a favourite uncle or aunt telling those stories when they came round for tea sometime. All in all, an incredibly relaxed basis upon which to hear about several people spanning some 70 years of television, stage and screen. A very credible collection of discs to grace perhaps the older generations DVD collection shelves. The one thing that all these people have in common is the Second World War – they all lived through it in some fashion or other.

The collection is to be released on July 3rd 2016, available from Amazon.co.uk and is entitled ‘From Stage to Screen’. The discs feature luminaries Joss Ackland, Freddie Jones, Michael Medwin, Vera Day, Derrin Nesbitt, Julian Glover, Roy Dotrice, Shirley Anne Field, Michael Jayston, Lee Montague, Sarah Miles and Michael Craig. Interspersed with the face to face appearances are photographs and film trailers, clips and stills featuring their careers.

I have to say that in one sitting, it is a challenge, but I shall watch these often over time, and what is especially gratifying about this collection is that all monies go to either ‘The Alzheimer’s Society’, or the ‘All Dogs Matter’ charities. I firmly believe that Derek Pykett has produced a worthwhile and erudite item worthy of anybody’s time and money. I wish him every success with his venture.

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