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January 19, 2010

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David N

It was part of a short-lived ITV series of one-off dramas called "Tales out of School" all written by Leland, which included "Made In Britain" , "Flyng Into the Wind", and Mike Newell's "Birth of a Nation". I vaguely remember the controversy they all stirred up - I was a little kid at the time - but R.H.I.N.O. has never been available on VHS or DVD in the UK. "Made In Britain" is the only one which has really remained in circulation. Chris Menges photography, Google tells me, on R.H.I.N.O. How anybody could mistake Clarke's incredible "Elephant" for anything else I can't fathom.

Leland was a great writer back then and it seems like his work as a Director almost ruined him - he wrote nothing of note for a decade between 1987 and 1998, but he directed two mediocre films; "The Big Man" with Liam Neeson and "Checking Out" with Jeff Daniels. "The Land Girls" which he wrote and directed in 1998, is surprisingly good, though.

The most surprising aspect of all this is that these films were on ITV, not BBC or Channel 4. ITV is now most famous as home of Pop Idol, Britains Got Talent and Hell's Kitchen. Its Drama output for much of the last decade has been execrable.

Paul

Other weirdnesses in the White piece - comparing Alan Clarke (deadpan, minimalist, extreme) to Shane Meadows (Godardian, third-wall-breaking, cuddly/vicious/hip). Also, the big musical number in Rita, Sue and Bob Too was provided by teethgrindingly horrible novelty act Black Lace, doing their remarkable tune Gang Bang (no relation to the Sensational Alex Harvey Band track of the same name). I can't recall any Bananarama in there, though I am quite prepared to be told I'm mistaken.

Ryan Kelly

Now, can you explain the point of his recent Variety piece? At this point, I'd just be happy if someone translated it to English.

Dan

They actually discuss the lack of availability, obliquely, in Blue Underground's Alan Clarke boxed set (which I own and you should too: "Scum" (both versions), "The Firm" and "Elephant" are all classics, while "Made in Britain" is superbly acted but stagy as all hell). If I remember correctly (and I might not), the demand wasn't there except for "Made in Britain", which is one of those movies that the people it's talking about miss the point and think it's brilliant praise of their lifestyle. Ah, commerce.

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