Bronco Bullfrog

Bronco Bullfrog

DVD Rating: ****

Reviewed by: Jeff Robson

Read Jeff Robson's film review of Bronco Bullfrog

The transfer to the disc has obviously been as painstaking as the cinema restoration, with the sound quality and the black and white camerawork both pin-sharp. You might still want to use the subtitles function to keep up with the rapid-fire East London patter, though.

The extras package is very impressive too. No director commentary, but a revealing documentary (Everyone’s An Actor, Shakespeare Said) which shows the eventual stars of the film, as well as several others, improvising a variety of scenes in Littlewood’s workshop. If the film were an album this would be the “demo tapes and outtakes” CD, but brace yourself for some casual racism as the youngsters discuss their non-white neighbours.

Copy picture

There’s also an interview with Joan Littlewood recorded as part of an aborted TV series. She’s on fine, free-ranging form, though not much of what she says pertains to the film directly. And a cracking 35-minute short from 1975, Seven Green Bottles. Directed by renowned documentarian Eric Marquis, it too uses local lads as actors (though one of them, Danny John-Jules later found fame as The Cat in Red Dwarf) and has a largely improvised script. It’s a cautionary tale (commissioned by the Metropolitan Police) on what juvenile crime can lead to. But, like the main feature, it’s clear-eyed about just how much fun bunking school and misbehaving can be. Finger-wagging takes over eventually, of course, and the final image of the law comprehensively winning is a striking one.

A pretty comprehensive accompanying booklet, too, which fills in some of the gaps that could have been covered by the one glaring omission – a documentary about the life and career of Platts-Mills and the actors. But all in all, very good value for money.

Reviewed on: 16 Sep 2010
Share this with others on...
Bronco Bullfrog packshot
A young apprentice in late 60s East London drifts into petty crime and dreams of escape.
Amazon link

Product Code: BFIB1064

Region: 0

Ratio: 1.33:1

Sound: PCM mono audio (48k/24-bit)

Extras: Everyone’s An Actor, Shakespeare Said, Joan Littlewood interview, Even Green Bottles, booklet

Search database: