"...You've done it all by bloody cheating"
In 1974 when the legendary Leeds United manager Don Revie (Meaney) is appointed the new England Manager, the Division One Champions appoint the brightest new young manager in the game, Brian Clough (Sheen). Extremely confident in his own ability and wanting to make his own mark at the club, Clough’s new ways didn’t go down well with the team that Revie built but even after turning Derby County into a Division One championship winning side, could this be a job that is even too big for the biggest head in football.
When it comes to naming great movies about the world’s most popular sport any film aficionado will struggle to get past ‘Escape to Victory’ but now fans finally have a movie that shows the drama of the beautiful game.
Football or Soccer movies, as the American’s like to call them, have never really captured the drama and passion of the most popular sport in the world. While American sports like baseball, basketball and Grid Iron spawned classics of the sporting genre but Football has struggled. Fans have had to put with Hollywood dross like Will Farrell’s ‘Kicking and Screaming’, ‘Soccer Dog: The Movie’, ‘She’s the Man’ and ‘Air Bud: World Pup’ but British efforts like ‘Mean Machine’, ‘Bend it like Beckham’ and the awful Sean Bean starrer ‘When Saturday Comes’ haven’t really been much better. There have been a few exceptions like ‘Goal: The Dream Begins’, ‘Goal II: Living the Dream’ and ‘Fever Pitch (the British Version not the awful Drew Barrymore one)’ but the firm favourite still has to be ‘Escape to Victory’ with Sylvester Stallone, Michael Caine, Max Von Sydow and football Bobby Moore, Ossie Ardiles, John Wark, Russell Osman and the immortal Pele. Football does have many real life stories to tell however and has a history of great characters in both players and managers but there is one man who deserves to be brought to the silver screen and his name is Brian Clough.
When David Peace released his novel ‘The Damned United’ in 2006 it was received to great critical acclaim but the family of the great man didn’t like the negative portrayal of Brian Clough but Peter Morgan, the writer of ‘The Queen’, ‘The Last King of Scotland’ and ‘Frost/Nixon’, has written a script that captures the spirit of one of England’s greatest ever managers and shows him as he really was. ‘The Damned United’ is set around the events that saw Brian Clough and his assistant manager Peter Taylor leave Derby County and Brian take charge of the biggest in English Football Leeds United in 1974. With the immortal Leeds manager Don Revie leaving to take on the England managers job, the Leeds board appoint the country’s best up and coming young manager Clough but his approach, over confidence and style didn’t go down well with the players, the board and most importantly the fans, leading to a tenuous forty four days in charge.
To bring a story like this to the screen you need an actor to bring ‘Old Big ‘Ead’ to life and in the chameleon-like Michael Sheen you have exactly that. Throughout his career, the British star has made a name for himself playing real life people. His performances as ex-British Prime Minster Tony Blair, TV presenter David Frost and ‘Carry On…’ legend Kenneth Williams have brought him to the forefront of character acting and he continues this as Brian Clough. The man totally embodies the great man, portraying him as the overly-confident young manager that he was but he also captures his mesmerising charisma that made Brian Clough such a legend in the game. The supporting cast is also first rate with the always superb Timothy Spall as Brian’s assistant and best friend Peter Taylor, Jim Broadbent as Derby chairman Sam Longson and an excellent performance from Colm Meaney as Leeds’ legendary manager and the man who Clough was obsessed in bettering, Don Revie.
‘The Damned United’ is a football movie that shows the true drama and passion that the beautiful game can create. The fact that the movie doesn’t actually include much actual footage of the games supports this, showing that what happens off the field is just as fascinating, if not more so, than what happens on it. This is the best football movie to come along in a very long time and could be the best ever.
PICTURE & SOUND
The Blu-Ray disc is presented in High Definition wide screen 1:78:1 up to 1080p, with Dolby TrueHD 5.1 surround sound.
Commentary with Director Tom Hooper, Michael Sheen and producer Andy Harries
The man at the helm, his producer and the star provide a chatty and informative. The trio talk passionately about the great man himself, the adaptation of the book, casting and Michael’s performance as Old Big ‘Ead. This is a good commentary that fans of the film will enjoy.
Deleted Scenes (High definition)
Entitled ‘Leeds 1974 “Whose desk is this, Love?”’, ‘Leeds 1974 “Is everything alright, Brian?”’, ‘Leeds 1972 “That was as perfect a half of terrible football as I’ve ever seen”’, ‘Leeds 1974 “Never got it”’, ‘Leeds 1974 “I’m not fu*king English”’, ‘Leeds 1974 “Fu*king Scot”’, ‘Leeds 1974 “Never come between a footballer and his motor”’ and ‘Leeds 1974 “Keep fighting 1 & 2”, each of these deleted scene have optional commentary by director Tom Hooper.
Cloughisms (High definition)
Watch the full footage that was shot with Michael Sheen recreating Brian Clough’s interviews with David Colemen, Michael Parkinson and David Frost.
Perfect Pitch: The making of The Damned United (16.25 mins/High definition)
Director Tom Hooper, screenwriter Peter Morgan, producer Andy Harries, production designer Eve Stewart, football coach/choreographer Simon Clifford and stars Michael Sheen, Timothy Spall, Colm Meaney and Stephen Graham talk about the key actors, casting of the Leeds and Derby players, adapting the book and creating the 70s look of the grounds.
Creating Clough: Michael Sheen takes on Old Big ‘Ead (High Definition)
Star Michael Sheen talks about how he approached playing the legendary manager Brian Clough.
Remembering Brian (9.34 mins/High definition)
Star Michael Sheen, football coach/choreographer Simon Clifford, ex-players John McGovern and Eddie Gray and MP Austin Mitchell talk passionately about the man, his career, his time at Leeds and his contribution to English football.
The Changing Game: Football in the Seventies (19.12 mins/High definition)
Ex-players Eddie Gray and Gordon McQueen are joined by MP Austin Mitchell to talk about the beautiful game in the 70s. Here we here about the differences between then and the modern game, the impact of Don Revie and Brian Clough and the lack of foreign players in the English First Division in those days.
Previews of ‘Paul Blart: Mall Cop’, ‘Angels & Demons’, ‘The International’, ‘Terminator Salvation’ and ‘Year One’
Place the Blu-Ray into an Internet enabled player or PS3 and gain access to extra bonus features
The Blu-Ray treatment for ‘The Damned United’ is one that fans of the film, football and Brian Clough will enjoy. With a good commentary track and some excellent featurettes this is a great package and one that makes this movie all the more watchable.
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