Dir. Kevin Brownlow and Andrew Mollo
On DVD 02/15/00
After IT HAPPENED HERE opened to rave reviews but disasterous distribution from the Hollywood studio that had purchased the rights, it took Kevin Brownlow and Andrew Mollo eleven more years to screw up the courage to create this historical film. For audiences, however, it was worth the wait, as their re-creation of the story of WINSTANLEY proved the pair to be two of the best British filmmakers of their era. Sadly, it was also to be their last collaboration. (So far!)
April 1, 1649. St. George's Hill. Surrey, England. A Reformation-era religious sect called the Diggers sets out to form a commune and till the soil on "common" land," which by law permits grazing - but not settlement and cultivation. Led by Gerard Winstanley, theirs is a nonviolent action to reclaim land for the poor who had been dispossessed by Oliver Cromwell's recent Civil War. But the local villagers see the Diggers' "occupation" as a threat to their livelihood and, led by the Presbyterian parson, John Platt, take action to harass and burn them out.
With WINSTANLEY, Brownlow and Mollo set out to make an absolutely authentic historical film. They even used rare breeds of animals that dated back to the seventeenth century and borrowed armor for the battle scenes from the Tower or London. Basing their screenplay on Winstanley's writings (the same pamphlets which Marx read in the British Museum while forming his ideas on communism), they created an almost perfect dramatic rendering of the events.
Catalog Number: Mile0064