In Celebration (1975)

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Released 15-Jun-2005

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Drama Main Menu Introduction
Main Menu Audio & Animation
Interviews-Cast-Alan Bates (Actor)
Interviews-Crew-David Storey (Writer)
Interviews-Crew-Otto Plaschkes (Executive Producer)
Trailer-American Film Theatre Trailer Gallery (4)
Notes-AFT Cinebill For In Celebration
Notes-Article - "David Storey And In Celebration"
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 1975
Running Time 124:27
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (99:21) Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 1,2,3,4,5,6 Directed By Lindsay Anderson
Umbrella Entertainment
Starring Brian Cox
Gabrielle Daye
Bill Owen
Alan Bates
James Bolam
Constance Chapman
Case Amaray-Transparent-Secure Clip
RPI $29.95 Music Christopher Gunning

Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.78:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles None Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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Plot Synopsis

    This 1975 adaptation of the David Storey play takes place in a Yorkshire mining town. The Shaws (Bill Owen, Constance Chapman) are celebrating their 40th wedding anniversary and their three sons have come up for a night out at an expensive restaurant. Shaw senior is a coal miner who has been down the pits for 49 years, with a year left until retirement. Andy (Alan Bates), the oldest, studied to be a solicitor but has thrown that over and become an artist. Colin (James Bolam) flirted with the Communist party but is now a factory manager and is well-adjusted to middle class life. The youngest brother Steven (Brian Cox) is a teacher, married with four children of his own, and writing a book.

    It is obvious that there are family traumas that have been repressed and over the course of the evening some of the emotion and resentment bubbles to the surface, particularly in relation to the first born brother Jamie.

    The film was directed by Lindsay Anderson, a writer and film critic who also dabbled in direction. His first feature was based on Storey's novel This Sporting Life, and it seemed a natural for him to direct this play on the screen. The action takes place mainly in the claustrophobic setting of the living room of the Shaw house, but does open out with sequences in other rooms and outdoors.

    It is very well acted, particularly by Bates and Bolam. Those of you familiar with Owen from Last of the Summer Wine will be surprised by the gravity he brings to this role. A young Cox is very effective as Steven, as is Constance Chapman as the slightly clueless mum who makes the best of a marriage and life we suspect she did not want.

    I first saw this film a number of years ago and was quite impressed by it. On second viewing it seems to be lacking something, some sort of more dramatic resolution perhaps. As a depiction of a slightly dysfunctional family it has nothing on The Homecoming, another entry in the American Film Theatre series (which on recent experience should really have been called the Anglo-American Film Theatre), but this one is more realistic and you sense that it depicts aspects of Storey's own life. There is a lot of repressed pain in it, and it seems to suggest the author had not come to reconcile himself with his family upbringing at the time it was written.

    This is another worthy entry in this series and is well worth seeing.

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Transfer Quality


    The film is transferred in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1 and is 16x9 enhanced.

    The transfer is sharp up to a point, but I suspect the original print material was a little on the soft side. There is a reasonable amount of detail but it is not highly detailed.

    Contrast seems excessive. Several sequences have overbright whites, for example Bill Owen's shirt at 11:24 which is boosted to a level way in excess of what is required, resulting in a loss of detail. Shadow detail is poor, with little definition in the black hair of several of the actors, notably Bates. Colour is, as usual, slightly lacking in vibrancy but reasonably realistic.

    There is some slight aliasing a couple of times and some minor edge enhancement. There are some compression artefacts visible in backgrounds, especially on some of the featureless walls. The film is regularly jumpy, but I found myself adjusting to this. There are numerous film artefacts, mainly white flecks and some darker spots.

    No subtitles are provided. The disc is RSDL formatted with the layer change poorly placed at 99:21, interrupting a scene.

Video Ratings Summary
Shadow Detail
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts


    The sole audio track is Dolby Digital 2.0 mono.

    Dialogue is clear throughout, though occasionally the volume needs to be turned up. At the 67 minute mark there is an drop in the sound level which continues for several minutes. The audio is hissy and there is some crackling apparent at various times throughout the film.

    There is some music, used for the credits and for punctuation between scenes in the film.

Audio Ratings Summary
Audio Sync
Surround Channel Use


Main Menu Introduction

    The usual footage of projection equipment.

Main Menu Audio & Animation

    The usual selection of scenes from the film, with the generic theme music for the DVD releases.

Interviews-Cast-Alan Bates (Actor)(40:04)

    This is an extended version of the interview included on the Butley disc, with Bates, presumably recorded in the last year of his life, looking back at his roles in three of the AFT films.

Interviews-Crew-David Storey (Writer)(21:42)

    The author reminisces over the film and his friendship and working relationship with Lindsay Anderson.

Interviews-Crew-Otto Plaschkes (Executive Producer) (21:46)

    The same interview that appears on several discs in this series. The executive producer talks about his work on the series.

Trailer-American Film Theatre Trailer Gallery (11:18)

    Trailers for four films in this series.

Notes-AFT Cinebill For In Celebration

    This cinebill contains two articles, one by the director about the playwright, and one by the playwright about the director.


    Four stills from the film.


    A single poster for the film.

Notes-Article - 'David Storey And In Celebration'

    An informative text article by Michael Feingold about the playwright's career in general and this work in particular.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    Both the US Region 1 and UK Region 2 releases appear to be the same as the Region 4.


    A good if not great play well adapted to the screen.

    The video quality is acceptable.

    The audio quality is problematic.

    Some useful extras, and some repeats.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Philip Sawyer (Bio available.)
Thursday, August 11, 2005
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV-S733A, using Component output
DisplaySony 86CM Trinitron Wega KVHR36M31. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to DVD player, Dolby Digital, dts and DVD-Audio. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum.
AmplificationSony TA-DA9000ES
SpeakersMain: Tannoy Revolution R3; Centre: Tannoy Sensys DCC; Rear: Richter Harlequin; Subwoofer: JBL SUB175

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