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

Three little-seen features from the gifted British filmmaker Mike Leigh, best known for his semi-improvised portraits of life in the United Kingdom, are collected in this special box set. The Mike Leigh Collection, Vol. Three includes the films Four Days in July (1984), a witty examination of two couples living in a small neighborhood in Belfast; Home Sweet Home (1982), which follows a day in the lives of three mail carriers; and Kiss of Death (1977), in which David Threlfall plays a much-put-upon undertaker's assistant.
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Kiss of Death
Trevor (David Threlfall) works as an assistant to an undertaker (Clifford Kershaw of Hard Labour). In his spare time, he reads, and he hangs out with his mate, Ronnie (John Wheatley), who works in a supermarket. Ronnie often invites Trevor along when he goes out with his girlfriend, Sandra (Angela Curran). Sandra isn't too happy with this situation, so one day at the pub, she introduces Trevor to her friend, Linda (Kay Adshead). Linda is pretty and sexually aggressive, but she's put off by Trevor's lack of social graces. In particular, Trevor has a goofy nervous giggle that he can't control. Linda agrees to go out with him. They go out to a pub and for a walk, but Trevor doesn't talk much. She asks him to take her to a disco. He refuses. They make a date to go to the movies, and Trevor stands her up. Linda is furious and attacks Trevor when she sees him at the pub. Trevor doesn't seem to care. He tries to arrange for Ronnie to have sex with Sandra at his house while his mother is out, but Ronnie is afraid to tell Sandra about the plan. After an upsetting incident at his job, a confused Trevor shows up at Linda's house. They're momentarily distracted when a neighbor needs assistance with her sick mother. Afterward, Linda tries to get Trevor to kiss her. He agrees to take her to a disco, where a frustrated Linda begins flirting with Ronnie. Mike Leigh's Kiss of Death was originally shown as part of the BBC's acclaimed Play for Today series. ~ Josh Ralske, Rovi

Home Sweet Home
Stan (Eric Richard), Gordon (Timothy Spall), and Harold (Tim Barker) are postmen who work together as they sort the mail each morning before they go on their rounds. They chat a little about their home lives, and Harold tells terrible riddles and recites song lyrics in a monotone. Harold dotes on his wife, June (Su Elliot), but she's clearly an unhappy woman, and is constantly telling him to leave her alone. Gordon's house is on Stan's route, so Gordon tells his wife, Hazel (Kay Stonham), to invite Stan in for tea when he comes around. She does, but the vivacious woman seems to have more than tea on her mind as she gives Stan a tour of the house, with an emphasis on the bedroom. She suggests that Stan come by for Sunday dinner some time. An overbearingly cheerful social worker, Melody (Frances Barber of Sammy and Rosie Get Laid), shows up at Stan's door and harangues him into spending more time with his estranged teenage daughter, Tina (Lorraine Brunning). Tina's been in foster care for years, ever since Stan's wife ran off. Stan is a busy man, chatting up his co-workers' wives and picking up women at the launderette, but eventually he makes time for a visit. Encouraged by this progress, Melody coerces Stan into bringing Tina home for a weekend. He decides to bring her over to dinner at Gordon and Hazel's, and it soon devolves into a horrific evening, made all the more awkward by an unexpected visit from June. Home Sweet Home, "devised" and directed by Mike Leigh, was originally shown as part of the BBC's Play for Today series. ~ Josh Ralske, Rovi

Four Days in July
The setting of Mike Leigh's Four Days in July is Belfast in the mid-'80s, just before the annual July 12th march of The Orangemen to celebrate the 17th century victory of the Protestant William of Orange over the Catholic King John II. Two couples prepare to have their first child. Collette (Brid Brennan) and Eugene (Desmond McAleer) are Catholic, while Lorraine (Paula Hamilton) and Billy (Charles Lawson) are Protestant. Eugene is injured and awaiting a disability check, so he has time to dote on his pregnant wife. Billy is in the military, and when he's not manning checkpoints, he hangs out with his fellow soldiers, Big Billy (Brian Hogg) and Little Billy (Adrian Gordon). On the 11th, as the celebrations and bonfires are being prepared, Brendan (Shane Connaughton, who later co-wrote the script for My Left Foot) comes by to fix Collette and Eugene's toilet. Then an old friend of Brendan's, Dixie (Stephen Rea), comes by to clean the building's windows. The four of them sit around for a while and chat. The upcoming marches are a sore spot that is briefly alluded to, and Eugene reveals that his injuries were suffered at the hands of the British military. Lorraine goes with Billy to a bonfire, where there's drinking, singing, and high spirits. The next morning, both women go into labor and are brought to the same hospital. In the waiting room, Eugene strikes up a conversation with Billy. Four Days in July was the last film Leigh made for the BBC and one of the first films scored by composer Rachel Portman. ~ Josh Ralske, Rovi

Cast & Crew

  • Image coming soon
    Kay Adshead
  • Pamela Austin
    Pamela Austin
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