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The London Nobody Knows

A documentary showing the underbelly of London in the Sixties narrated by James Mason.
Norman Cohen
Alec GuinnessCecil ParkerHerbert Lom
None Available
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Rentals include 30 days to start watching this video and 48 hours to finish once started.
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Supporting actors
Peter Sellers
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Prime Video (streaming online video)
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4.5 out of 5 stars

113 global ratings

  1. 68% of reviews have 5 stars
  2. 21% of reviews have 4 stars
  3. 5% of reviews have 3 stars
  4. 3% of reviews have 2 stars
  5. 3% of reviews have 1 stars
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Top reviews from the United Kingdom

Hilary SMithReviewed in the United Kingdom on 12 August 2020
1.0 out of 5 stars
NOT 2 films as shown on the cover
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I googled Les Bicyclette de Belsize and this came up showing it as a double bill of 2 short films. The cover also shows it as 2 films
However the film I wanted wasn't on it, just the 1st one so I paid for something I didn't want
2 people found this helpful
BassaReviewed in the United Kingdom on 24 March 2010
5.0 out of 5 stars
Nostalgia can be bitter sweet
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In my late 40s, and born and bred in Islington, "The London Nobody Knows" has been one of the best purchases I have made for a long time. Naturally, the scenes shot in Chapel Market brought back many a memory, some wonderful and some not quite so good.

Being a child when this was made (1967), my views of the era are somewhat halcyon: playing outside, in the park, a simple life. What struck me more than anything about this superb documentary was the grinding poverty and squalor in which so many people still lived in the 1960s. Whilst this era went around the world as "the swinging 60s", fuelled by imagery of Carnaby Street and Kings Road, and Britain's dominance in the pop world, the reality for the overwhelming majority could not have been any different.

Scenes of meths drinkers brought memories flooding back of seeing these poor down and outs on the street, and made me wince when viewing them. Especially heartbreaking is the scene where James Mason interviews people in the Salvation Army hostel: 6 shillings for accomodation was a fortune in those days even for those at work.

Coupling this film with 'Les Bicyclettes de Belsize' is not at all incongruous, but a stroke of genius. In an instant, it contrasts the 'soft-focus' world view that many may have had about 'Swinging London' in the 1960s, with the reality that you have just witnessed in 'The London That Nobody Knows'.

This utter gem of a DVD should be in everyone's collection and, importantly, should be made mandatory viewing as part of the National Curriculum.

I would give this 10 stars if I could!!!
22 people found this helpful
Lyn HReviewed in the United Kingdom on 15 August 2011
5.0 out of 5 stars
Still as great as I remember from the 70s.
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I first saw this on TV back in the mid 70s even though it was filmed in the mid 60s.
By the way - I am referring to "The London nobody knows" here.
I was fascinated by it as it was fairly old even when I saw it. In fact I did have a recording of it on a Philips V2000 VCR which gives you an idea just how long ago it really was.
James Mason always struck me as an odd person to present this documentary and, even now I can't work out whether he enjoyed doing it or not especially when interviewing some people in a salvation army hostel he seemed decidedly focussed on ignoring 2 of the 3 people he was supposedly talking to.
Be that as it may, I still feel it's a wonderful look behind the scenes of how London was in the 60s - bustling and on the up in some areas whilst thoroughly depressed and failing in others. In actuality I found that it was very much like watching a prequel to the way we are today having just had the worse civil unrest and depressed times for around 50 years.
The other film on the disc "Les bicyclettes de Belsize" is - bluntly - rather twee but remains watch-able in a somewhat chewing gum for the eyes manner.
It is an interesting view of the areas around Hampstead village and the people who inhabited it. The amazing thing is the proliferation of double yellow lines everywhere and the almost universal ignoring of their meaning by parked cars. Ah happy days.
These films show two distinctly sides of Swinging London. One (bicyclettes) is light and airy, the other is very heavy and quite dispiriting, made more so for me by the way it seems to bear and incredible similarity to the London we live in today.
Over all though I enjoyed both films and reckon their well worth watching for the social commentary each affords the viewer.
3 people found this helpful
Glenn StearReviewed in the United Kingdom on 07 May 2021
5.0 out of 5 stars
A silly romantic nonsense and a gritty historical documentary.
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I loved the quirkiness of Les Bicyclette. I couldn't see Anthony May as a Mod but of a type that could be seen around London at the time when this was made. James Mason and the London that he showed was very interesting. It does not exist anymore so it was an historical documentary of that time. Well worth a look, both films.
MarioReviewed in the United Kingdom on 24 October 2013
5.0 out of 5 stars
The Past is a Foreign Country, They Do Things Differently There
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'London' benefits from the sardonic presence of James Mason ambling around the backwaters of the city like a favourite uncle meeting down and outs and street entertainers and market traders in 1967, with only the briefest nods to the dedicated followers of fashion associated with the era. It's a fascinating glimpse into another forgotten world perhaps marred only by a few kitsch touches of 60s wackyism from the director Norman Cohen. I'd have liked more of James. Still it is a lovable film. Les Bicyclettes is utterly kitsch verging on the embarrassing but so much of its time it's still utterly, charmingly watchable as long as you don't see it with some cynical type determined to trash it! It presents London as the opposite of the Mason film which is why this is such an ingenious and rewarding pairing. In the end the two together make this a poignant reminder of what has been lost as those of us of a certain age head into the oblivion of the 21st century.
2 people found this helpful
A. D. WallaceReviewed in the United Kingdom on 08 March 2009
5.0 out of 5 stars
A Short Nostalgic Visit Into 1960s London
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This DVD captures perfectly a nostalgic feeling of the 1960s.
The 45 minute documentary "THE LONDON NOBODY KNOWS" has James Mason as your guide through streets of 1960s London showing you buildings and ways of life which even then were being lost forever - such as street performers including a "strong man", and a once vibrant, but now derelict theatre - as they are replaced by the modern era, itself now a chapter in history. It is a fascinating visit into 1960s London which brings the past to life better than any reconstruction or fictionalised film setting could manage.
"Les Bicyclettes de Belsize" is an enchanting short musical film. The melodies, beginning with the romantic french style title song, complement the cinematography warmly evoking the fashion, charm and innocence of a bygone era as the main character, a young man played by Anthony May, cycles round a pretty Hampstead village (not Belsize) in 1968 London in search of a beautiful model played by Judy Huxtable.
22 people found this helpful
ARHReviewed in the United Kingdom on 14 January 2022
4.0 out of 5 stars
Documentary capturing late 1960s London locations before many were redeveloped
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Fascinating documentary if you are interested in London locations that still existed in late 1960s but were soon to be redeveloped. James Mason narrates and visits derelict theatres, the site of a Jack the Ripper murder, and traditional street markets trading in pre-decimal currency. Social history is also recorded through touching interviews with residents of a Salvation Army Hostel and glimpses of street drinkers.
BrownshoeReviewed in the United Kingdom on 04 October 2014
5.0 out of 5 stars
'Les Bicyclettes' is a gem of it's time and gives ...
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'Les Bicyclettes' is a gem of it's time and gives a real flavour of the swinging sixties. Some of the filming techniques were very new at the time and it was a popular supporting film in the cinema. A fairly weak storyline is an excuse to roam around residential areas of London with a film camera, and it is visually very appealing. Look out for the telephoto shot of the man on a penny-farthing in the closing credits. The other is a documentary showing unknown areas of London: 'unknown' even in those days, so probably entirely gone now. Two short films which will stand watching again and again.
2 people found this helpful
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