The Rank Collection: Dirk Bogarde Collection [4 Discs] [DVD]

This box set caters to fans of the eminent British actor Sir Dirk Bogarde (1921-99), with four of that thespian's films produced between 1952 and 1964. First on the list is the satirical spy comedy Agent 8 ¾ (1964). Produced amid a wave of popularity for James Bond, it stars Bogarde as Nicolas Whistler, an unemployed fellow who takes a job for a glass company and inadvertently winds up behind the Iron Curtain. Next on the bill is the adventure drama Campbell's Kingdom (1957), with Bogarde as the inheritor of Canadian land who becomes involved in a dispute over a dam. The 1952 comedy Penny Princess stars Bogarde as an enterprising fellow who helps a neophyte princess save her country's economy via smuggling. Finally, the 1955 drama Simba stars Bogarde as a man who travels to Kenya to visit his brother, and inadvertently becomes involved in the notorious Mau Mau uprising of 1950-56.
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Overview

Special Features

  • Campbell's Kingdom: Original trailer
  • Simba: Photo gallery

Synopsis

Agent 8 3/4
Dirk Bogarde plays one of those "reluctant spies" so common to adventure films of the 1960s. A poverty-stricken author, Bogarde is sent to Czechoslovakia by the British government as an unofficial "goodwill ambassador" to an industrial firm. It soon dawns upon him that his real assignment is to gather facts for his government's secret service; unfortunately, neither Bogarde's bosses nor his adversaries let him in on just how much danger is involved. After an excellent--and quite funny--opening, the film bogs down into an uninspired James Bond parody (we should have been warned what was coming by the very first scene, in which Agent 007's file is marked "Deceased"). Also known as Agent 008 3/4, Agent 8 3/4 was originally screened in England as Hot Enough for June; the British version ran nearly twenty minutes longer than the American release. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

Penny Princess
Actress Yolande Donlon and her producer-director husband Val Guest were the prime movers of the 1952 comedy Penny Princess. Donlon plays Lindy Smith, a Manhattan shopgirl who inherits a mythical European kingdom. Upon learning that the country is flat broke, Lindy applies her Yankee ingenuity towards hyping the country's one and only asset: alcohol-flavored cheese. Soon the tiny country is thriving economically, much to the dismay of a gang of smugglers who'd previously ruled the roost. The romantic angle is provided by Dirk Bogarde as a go-getting cheese salesman who falls for the heroine. A. E. Matthews, who by conservative estimate must have been 300 years old in 1952, has a sparkling cameo as Bogarde's boss. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

Campbell's Kingdom
Based on a novel by Hammond Innes, the British Campbell's Kingdom is set in the Canadian Rockies. Dirk Bogarde plays Bruce Campbell, a British aristocrat who has been given only six months to live. Inheriting a financially troubled Canadian valley, Campbell finds a new lease on life as he champions the cause of the local citizenry. He is particually effective in standing up to the eco-unfriendly excesses of contractor Owen Morgan (Stanley Baker), whose ethically-challenged dam project threatens to flood the valley. Methodically paced, Campbell's Kingdom rewards the viewer's patience with an abundance of action highlights, the best of which is reserved for last. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

Simba
The recent Mau Mau uprising in Kenya served as story material for the 1955 British film Simba. White farmer Dirk Bogarde and his neighbors are targeted for extermination by the zealously nationalistic Mau Maus. Native doctor Joseph Tomelty, whose brother had earlier been killed under questionable circumstances, endeavors to help the whites escape the hordes, only to discover that his own father is the local leader of the insurrectionists. Given the cruelties of colonial rule in Africa, it is hard for any film to make the Mau Mau total villains, despite their own well-documented brutal treatment of their enemies. Simba downplays side-taking and ideology, choosing instead to concentrate on the adventure and suspense elements. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

Cast & Crew

  • Dirk Bogarde
    Dirk Bogarde - Nicholas Whistler
  • Sylva Koscina
    Sylva Koscina - Vlasta Simenova
  • Robert Morley
    Robert Morley - Col. Cunliffe
  • Leo McKern
    Leo McKern - Simenova
  • Roger Delgado
    Roger Delgado - Josef
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