Mike Leigh Collection, Vol. 2 [3 Discs] [DVD]

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Overview

Synopsis

Bleak Moments
Mike Leigh began his career as one of Britain's most interesting directors with this realistic drama about a woman looking for respite from an unsatisfying life. Sylvia (Anne Raitt) is a slightly overweight woman who works as a secretary and hasn't had much luck in romance. She shares her home with her retarded sister, whom she looks after, and has been dating Peter (Eric Allen), a schoolteacher whom she hopes will ask her to marry him. However, one evening they have a date that doesn't go especially well, and Sylvia discovers that Peter is impotent; he breaks up with her shortly afterward. The only other interesting relationship in her life is with Norman (Mike Bradwell), a hippie who rents out Sylvia's garage as a workspace for his underground newspaper and plays songs on his guitar for her sister. Bleak Moments was adapted from a play written by Leigh; as is his habit, the story was created in collaboration with the actors who originated the roles. ~ Mark Deming, Rovi

Who's Who
Mike Leigh's Who's Who, originally produced for the BBC TV series, Play for Today, takes a look at a group of men who work at a London brokerage house. Giles (Adam Norton), a childish slob, lives and annoys his pernickety roommate, Nigel (Simon Chandler). The two invite lady friends and a mate from the office, the snidely lecherous Anthony (Graham Seed) to a dinner party. While Nigel frets about cooking and making a classy impression, the carefree Giles picks up an apple crumble from his mother. The party goes awkwardly, with Nigel an uptight mess as his vivaciously obnoxious date, Samantha (Catherine Hall) flirts with Anthony. Kevin (Philip Davis of Quadrophenia, who went on to appear in Leigh's Grown-Ups and High Hopes) spends his days at the office slyly mocking his co-worker, Alan (Richard Kane), who's disgusted with the slightest impropriety and obsessed with British nobility. Alan lives with his wife, April (Joolia Cappleman), who raises cats, and writes to celebrities and royals to ask them for autographed photos, which he proudly displays. He even proudly displays polite rejection notes written by their secretaries. April is perturbed when Alan comes home early from work one evening and interrupts her efforts to sell a prized cat to Miss Hunt (Geraldine James). Alan, sensing a whiff of class about the woman, presses her for details about her private life. Desmond Shakespeare (Sam Kelly of Leigh's Grown-Ups, Topsy-Turvy, and All or Nothing) is there to photograph April's cats, but is roped into a private viewing of Alan's "collection." Meanwhile, Lord (David Neville) and Lady Crouchurst (Richenda Carey) invite Francis (Jeffrey Wickham), one of the firm's higher-ups, over to discuss a tricky financial situation. ~ Josh Ralske, Rovi

Nuts in May
Keith (Roger Sloman) and Candice Marie (Alison Steadman) take a trip to a campsite in the English countryside. They're folk-singing vegetarian types, but Keith is very controlling, and Candice Marie is manipulative as well, in her own childlike way. Keith is also very anal, taking down every expenditure in a ledger, using his various guidebooks to lead them through every attraction, and refusing to diverge from his detailed plan for their trip. "What's the point of having a schedule if you don't stick to it?" he asks. He rushes ahead of Candice Marie, and she struggles to keep pace. The couple spends a good deal of time trying to find a dairy farm that will sell them unpasteurized milk. Their idyll, such as it is, is interrupted by the arrival of Ray (Anthony O'Donnell), a geology student, who disturbs the couple by playing his radio. Candice Marie goads Keith into confronting Ray, but Ray refuses to turn off his radio, so the couple move to a new location a bit further away. Returning home from one of their day trips in the rain, the couple stops to offer a ride to a pedestrian who turns out to be Ray. Keith refuses to speak to him, but Candice Marie makes polite conversation, and soon decides that Ray is "nice." Candice Marie's attempts to be social infuriate the quietly jealous Keith. But he goes along when she invites Ray over for tea, and the couple bullies Ray into joining them in a little singalong. But things are shaken up again when a couple of young bikers, Finger (Stephen Bill) and Honky (Sheila Kelley), show up flouting the "country code." Nuts in May was written and directed (or "devised and directed") by Mike Leigh for the BBC program, Play for Today. ~ Josh Ralske, Rovi

Cast & Crew

  • Image coming soon
    Anne Raitt - Sylvia
  • Image coming soon
    Mike Bradwell - Norman
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    Eric Allen - Peter
  • Liz Smith
    Liz Smith - Pat's Mother
  • Image coming soon
    Linda Beckett - Remedial Trainee
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