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  1. #1
    Senior Member Country: England
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  2. #2
    Super Moderator Country: Great Britain
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    Mar 2006
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    From the MovieMail site:

    Potter's last works - Karaoke and Cold Lazarus - written while he was dying of cancer, sum up his career to date and also signpost where he might have gone next. They are an essential purchase says Peter Wild.

    After almost 14 years of back and forth, Karaoke and Cold Lazarus, Dennis Potter’s final two TV dramas, which were originally shown posthumously on BBC and Channel 4, have received a DVD release – and a long overdue pleasure it is to see them again. Both written under the cosh, as Potter battled with pancreatic cancer, Karaoke and Cold Lazarus deliver an extraordinary punch managing to summarise Potter’s career to date whilst at the same time interacting with one another and signposting where Potter might possibly have gone next, had he been given the opportunity.

    Karaoke concerns a writer called Daniel Feelds (played by Albert Finney) who is struggling with his health somewhat (we first meet him in the midst of a day dream that itself harks back to the likes of Pennies from Heaven, as he undergoes an uncomfortable hospital procedure) and possibly gradually becoming unhinged as he sees people in the world about him apparently uttering lines from the film he is working on (which is itself called ‘Karaoke’). The film within a film scenes featuring Ian McDiarmid are darkly humorous – McDiarmid closely resembling Potter himself – and serve to direct eagle-eyed Potter fans back to the likes of both Blackeyes (in which a young model attempts to rewrite the story foisted upon her by an omniscient narrator) and Doubledare (which featured characters locked in time and destined to repeat the same actions over and over again).

    Cold Lazarus is set 350 years in the future, a fully-fledged science fiction drama that could actually find a potent new audience with Dr Who fans. Daniel Feelds is now a head in a jar, experimented upon by scientists who don’t know that he has achieved a kind of consciousness while they attempt to excavate his memories for commercial benefit among the bland citizens of a crass Americanised future (all of which gives Potter enormous scope for satire). The theme of confined bodies with wandering minds, here demonstrated by Daniel's cryogenically preserved head, is a familiar theme to Potter's drama, having previously been explored through the psoriatic, bed-bound Philip Marlow in The Singing Detective and the incarcerated Giacomo Casanova in Potter's 1971 drama.

    Taken together with The Essential Dennis Potter boxset, this is an essential purchase both for fans and for those who need to catch up with one of the greatest English dramatists of the twentieth century.

    Film Description

    Karaoke and Cold Lazarus were a pair of television dramas written by the acclaimed TV playwright Dennis Potter. Having been diagnosed with terminal cancer and with less than six months to live, Potter undertook a race against mortality to complete two television dramas which were uniquely - at Potter's request - to be co-produced between Channel 4 and the BBC. In a televised interview with Melvyn Bragg he said 'My only regret is if I die four pages too soon.' He didn't - and the result is a fitting tribute to a life committed to the creation of some of the finest television drama ever written.

    Karaoke sees Albert Finney play Daniel Feeld, a man working on a fictional play for television. The play, entitled Karaoke, concerns a beautiful young woman working in a sleazy karaoke bar run by Arthur 'Pig' Mallion. Fiction and reality begin to intertwine when Feeld overhears snatches of his dialogue in the world around him - and encounters real people bearing his character's names.

 The lines between the world he has created and the world in which he lives begin to blur - and a desperate struggle to control both becomes enmeshed in his evolving sickness and a terminal diagnosis. Re-writing his will to right wrongs, leaving his body to a cryogenics laboratory, and plotting to go out with a bang, Daniel Feeld is about to write an ending for one world that will have great repercussions in the next.

    Cold Lazarus is the four-part British television drama written by Dennis Potter with the knowledge that he was dying of cancer of the pancreas. It forms the second half of a pair with the television serial Karaoke and was unique in being a co-production between the BBC and Channel 4 - something Potter had expressly requested before his death.

    The cryogenically stored brain of Daniel Freed is trapped in a future world where scientists gather to watch his projected memories. Under pressure from rival corporate interests, the scientists fall victim to the tricks that memory can play, picking at threads as they try to comprehend how personal histories are written - and can be rewritten. As elements of truth and fiction explosively intertwine, will the mind of Daniel Feeld finally be set free?

  3. #3
    Senior Member Country: UK didi-5's Avatar
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    May 2008
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    Wonderful news and a definite 'must buy'. I'm glad they appear to have sorted the copyright issues on this one.

  4. #4
    Senior Member Country: UK Windthrop's Avatar
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    May 2007
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    Sorry but I found these really were the Emperor's new clothes. DP never topped The Singing Detective IMO

    Ps - a sequence in this with Roy Hudd will put you off poached eggs for life

  5. #5
    Senior Member Country: Jordan
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    Dec 2007
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    name='Windthrop' timestamp='1283074320' post='468910']

    Sorry but I found these really were the Emperor's new clothes. DP never topped The Singing Detective IMO

    Ps - a sequence in this with Roy Hudd will put you off poached eggs for life

    Any idea why Black Eyes has never come out (or even been reshown as far as I am aware)? Definately not in the class of The Singing Detective but I'd like to see it again after all these years

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