146 Black Joy

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domino harvey
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146 Black Joy

#1 Post by domino harvey » Tue Mar 12, 2019 9:12 pm

(Anthony Simmons, 1977)
Release date: 24 June 2019
Limited Blu-ray Edition (World Blu-ray premiere)

Based on Jamal Ali’s acclaimed stage play Dark Days and Light Nights, Black Joy tells the story of a naïve Guyanese immigrant who learns the hard way about life on the streets of Brixton.

Presenting vivid characters, terrific action, and a superb soundtrack of soul, funk, dub and reggae, Anthony Simmons’ gritty film is an honest and insightful comic drama, exposing the lives of unemployed black Britons and immigrants in a ghettoised London.

Starring Norman Beaton (Desmond’s), Trevor Thomas (Inseminoid), Floella Benjamin (Play School), and a young Oscar James (EastEnders), Black Joy comes to Blu-ray for the very first time.

• High Definition remaster, newly re-graded and approved by cinematographer Phil Méheux
• Original mono audio
• The BEHP Interview with Anthony Simmons (1997): an archival audio recording, made as part of the British Entertainment History Project, featuring the prolific director in conversation with filmmaker Rodney Giesler
• Interview with actor Trevor Thomas (2019)
• Interview with actor Floella Benjamin (2019)
• Interview with actor Oscar James (2019)
• Interview with playwright and screenwriter Jamal Ali (2019)
• Interview with producer Martin Campbell (2019)
• Interview with cinematographer Phil Méheux (2019)
• Featurette exploring the film’s London locations (2019)
• Bow Bells (1954): Anthony Simmons’ nostalgic short film about London’s East End
• Original theatrical trailer
• Image gallery: on-set and promotional photography
• New and improved English subtitles for the deaf and hard-of-hearing
• Limited edition exclusive booklet with a new essay by Josie Dolan, recollections by director Anthony Simmons and star Norman Beaton, Michael Brooke on Bow Bells, an overview of contemporary critical responses, archival articles, and film credits
• World premiere on Blu-ray
• Limited Edition of 3,000 copies
• All extras subject to change

BBFC cert: 15
EAN: 5037899071946

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Re: 146 Black Joy

#2 Post by colinr0380 » Tue Apr 09, 2019 1:30 am

Very interesting! I have not seen this but the cast is great. As noted in the write up Norman Beaton became most famous later on as the cranky patriarch in the great barbershop sitcom Desmonds, which ran from 1989 until he died in 1994. And of course any good 80s kid would remember Floella Benjamin!
Last edited by colinr0380 on Tue Apr 09, 2019 2:11 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: 146 Black Joy

#3 Post by MichaelB » Tue Apr 09, 2019 3:21 am

I’ve now watched five out of the six interviews on this disc, and they’re all terrific. Everyone clearly has very fond memories of making the film and they’re still fiercely proud of it to this day - and quite rightly, because it really was a bit of a one-off in British cinema.

Critically, it’s tended to be dismissed (or at least sidelined) by people who think it should have been more angrily political along the lines of the bookending Pressure (1975) and Babylon (1980), but there’s plenty of astutely observed political material bubbling under the surface: Floella Benjamin’s Miriam is particularly well drawn in this respect. (And she’s an absolute revelation: as she ruefully acknowledges in her interview, she never got a part like that before or since, so grabbed it with both hands.) It’s also often very funny indeed (Norman Beaton takes much of the credit for this), which I suspect is another reason why it was treated with suspicion by people who thought that black British films should be resolutely stern-faced and militant.

Like Jean Renoir, Anthony Simmons clearly loves all his characters, no matter what their manifest flaws - in fact, Beaton’s Dave reminds me of the publisher Batala in Le Crime de Monsieur Lange in that he’s clearly an incorrigible rogue in every imaginable way (he gleefully rips off pretty much everyone who has the misfortune to come into contact with him) but so irrepressibly charming that he somehow gets away with it. As Dave puts it in almost his last line: "there's always room in this world for the jester".

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Re: 146 Black Joy

#4 Post by jlnight » Tue Apr 09, 2019 6:52 am

Yeah, it's a good film this. I watched a screening of this at university, taken from an off-air Channel 5 transmission. Later I found that it had one outing on Channel 4 in 1987, a couple of plays on Channel 5 in 1997/98 and then nothing until a DVD release. London Live picked it up in recent years (along with Pressure and Babylon, as well as Simmons' Four in the Morning). Only occasionally can you spot its roots as a stage play but I like its atmosphere and its dialogue. And it also has a Viv Stanshall cameo!

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146 Black Joy

#5 Post by MichaelB » Tue Apr 09, 2019 6:58 am

It also had its original cinema release abruptly curtailed because of music rights problems that took four years to resolve, and by then it had rather missed its moment. Which is a real shame as it got excellent reviews and opened very strongly indeed (the soundtrack album in particular was racing up the charts).

The one interview that I haven't seen yet is the one with original writer Jamal Ali, but I'm getting the impression that quite a few changes were made in the transition from stage to screen - in particular, a huge amount of the film's dialogue was improvised. Norman Beaton was in the original stage version - in fact, it wouldn't surprise me at all if that part had been explicitly written for him in the first place.

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Re: 146 Black Joy

#6 Post by Apperson » Tue Jun 11, 2019 6:59 am

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