From the 1950s to the early 80s, the British film industry had a thriving sideline in almost ridiculously wholesome family entertainment. Much it came through the Children’s Film Foundation, but other companies got in on the act too, and through one of those we got 1973’s Digby The Biggest Dog In The World. Thanks to showings on TV it became a bit of fave for several generations of kids, but bizarrely it’s been unavailable on DVD for years. It’s particularly strange as while a lot of old kid’s entertainment is now horribly outdated and won’t work for modern children, Digby will still be enjoyed by youngsters and so it’s been a bit of an omission to have it out of print. [Read more…]
The Lacey Rituals is the sort of release that shows why we’re very lucky to have the British Film Institute. It’s a collection that will never appeal beyond a niche audience, but is something it’s more than worth collecting together and digitising for posterity. And without the BFI it’s unlikely it would ever have happened.
Bruce Lacey is seen by many as a seminal figure in the emergence of performance art in the 1950s and 1960s, with his influence perhaps best felt in those around him, such as The Goons, Ken Russell, Richard Lester, Peter Cook, The Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band and Monty Python. Things such as his work with the Albert Brothers (a small bit of which is included here, but which largely went undocumented) pointed the way towards a new form of anarchic, slightly homemade comedy, with a surreal bent but genuine thought and ‘meaning’ behind it. Lacey describes this is ‘the triumph of the amateur’, something that’s true of much of his career. [Read more…]