G'ole AKA G'olť!
R2 - United Kingdom - Fabulous Films
Review written by and copyright: Matthew Crossman (10th November 2015).
The Film

In 1978 I was just discovering football, some might say belatedly, as a nine year old. Football was considered to be in the doldrums in the late 1970ís due to hooliganism and an archaic offside law that rewarded defensive football. I clearly remember the World Cup Final of 1978 between hosts Argentina and Holland but not much else of the tournament. Fast forward four years and my football education was filling out quite nicely. I now attended league matches almost every week and often attended matches at my local non league team as well. The World Cup of 1982 was a time of great excitement. The tournament had been extended to include twenty four teams now and was being held in Spain meaning matches beamed live to the United Kingdom would be on at a reasonable time. England, Scotland and Northern Ireland had all qualified for the finals giving many in the UK reason to watch.

FIFA had been arranging for the tournaments to be filmed since the Finals were held in Switzerland in 1954 and this would be the eighth such film produced. Rather than take television footage the producers and director had several 35mm cameras at the matches capturing the action from many different angles. Much of the footage is taken from pitch side giving the viewer a spectators angle so even if you had watched many or all of the matches on television the footage found in this film will be new to the viewer. The film starts with the opening ceremony and instead of having several different commentators talking about different matches instead we have a sole voice narrating the action. This voice is the voice of Sean Connery and he narrates the action beautifully and with real honesty. Not all the matches are covered. Instead the makers of the film concentrate on the big names, such as Maradona in his first World Cup, and the big teams such as Brazil. Smaller nations do get a look in too with highlights from New Zealandís defeat to the USSR and Cameroonís battling draw with Italy. As the film progresses the film concentrates on the big matches. The most notorious of these matches was the semi final between West Germany and France. West Germany had already been painted as the pantomime villains earlier in the tournament when the played Austria in the group stages. Due to the overly complicated league system used West Germany went into their final group match needing a win over the Austrians. Austria, however, would qualify regardless of the result due to the Algeria V Chile match being played a day earlier. West Germany consequently took the lead after 10 minutes and then for the remaining eighty minutes neither team created any chances. In fact such was the collusion between the teams that hardly a tackle was made as pass after pass went either sideways or backwards. The match was later dubbed the disgrace of GijÚn. It is a direct result of this match that final group matches are now played simultaneously in all subsequent competitions. France were much favoured going into the semi final. It was they that were now required to provide the flair of the competition now that Brazil had been eliminated by finalists Italy, who had beaten Poland in the other semi final. The first half of the match was a dour affair with the West Germans fouling the more skilful French players time and time again. However, the West Germans had managed to forge a goal in the 17th minute but were pegged back in the 26th minute when French captain Michel Platini scored from the penalty spot. The moment of controversy happened on the hour mark. Substitute Patrick Battiston was sent clean through on goal. Harold Schumacher, the West German goalkeeper came racing towards the ball but was clearly not going to get close in time. Battiston lobbed the stampeding German but Schumacher did not check his run and jumped, hip first, into Battiston. The ball drifted harmlessly wide and Battiston was pole axed. The referee ignored the French protests and gave a goal kick whilst Battiston lay unmoving on the floor. Eventually Battiston was stretchered off and France, in searing 37 degree heat, had to use up another valuable substitute. It was later discovered that Battiston suffered with two teeth knocked out, three cracked ribs and a damage vertebrae. With the match still at 1-1 after 90 minutes the game continued into extra time. France took a 3-1 lead but unable to make any more substitutions the wearily legs of the French players conceded two late goals and the match was decided on penalties in favour of the West Germans. The incident with Schumacher is the only incident replayed in the film and Conneryís narration is particularly scathing. So onto the final.

I doubt very much whether there were many people outside of West Germany cheering for them and thankfully they were not to profit from their disgraces earlier in the tournament. The endearing image of Marco Tardelli, running away after scoring his goal in the final, his mouth frozen in a scream of orgasmic like ecstasy is slowed down in the film as if that is the image we should remember from a great World Cup Finals and not the brutal assault by Schumacher on Battiston.

Video

The film is exhibited on this DVD in itís original aspect ratio of 1.33:1. No restoration of the film has been undertaken and scratches and grain are all present. Whilst a cleaned up version would be nice I think the defects actually add to the authenticity of the footage and take me back to a time when images such as these were common place on film and television. Normally I would be disappointed but because this is a historical social document of the times I think it suits the presentation. That is not to say that the image is poor. It is perfectly acceptable and clear throughout.

Audio

The original English Dolby Digital Mono 1.0 mix has been used. Conneryís narration is clear throughout. The only other sounds are crowd noises and the occasional burst of samba music when Brazil are featured. Again, the sound mix is perfectly acceptable and preferred by this reviewer. There are no subtitles available.

Extras

There are none present on the disc.

Overall

As you can possibly tell, I thoroughly enjoyed this. It took me back to when I was a 13 year old, rushing home from school, just in time to see Bryan Robson score the fastest goal ever at a World Cup Finals, in just 27 seconds. I would also argue that this is the best World Cup Finals in recent history. This is a time before corporate boxes, prawn sandwiches, diving, cheating players and fall from grace of FIFA at Sepp Blatterís hands. This was a time when the game was played by real men and the sport was still for the common people who would be priced out of the sport within the next 25 years. If your favourite brand of football includes big hair, short shorts and burly men kicking seven bells out of each other then this disc comes highly recommended.

The Film: A Video: B- Audio: B- Extras: F Overall: B-

 


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