What was the last film you watched?

Willie Oleson

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INCEPTION (2010)

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Inspired by the Leonardo DiCaprio thread (which was inspired by an update of the River Phoenix thread, which was inspired by my review of a River Phoenix film, which was inspired by my desire to watch a great film from the 1980s) I decided to ignore my instincts and my previously failed attempts to watch this film.
This time it was going to happen, come hell or high water.

It turned out be hell and high water, and I'm not sure if I can ever forgive myself. It's really not about the time I've wasted, it's just that I don't want to know this story.
I've never realized how happy and blissfully unaware I was before I subjected myself to INCEPTION.
And btw, why does IMDB show me Dutch translations and film posters - but not consistently? I understand the IP address thing but I don't understand why they do it.

It looks as if the filmmaker has taken his cue from the Gaming Universe by writing a new rule book that allows the story to develop in a particular and most spectacular way. So far so good, I suppose.
The problem is that the film explains relentlessly how it works (inadvertently magnifying the issues why it doesn't work) but completely omits the explanation why it works.
The story has already arrived there when the film begins but that is something I can overlook when I'm in the mood for it, and to be honest the film does give you the option to buy into it or walk away from it right from the very beginning.
This time I felt strong and ready for the challenge, but apart from the issues mentioned earlier I had not foreseen that INCEPTION was also going to take itself very very very seriously, like watching someone masturbating to his own crazy fanfic. It made me feel dirty but not in a fun way.

Then, on top of everything, it also manages to be a boring film. Even without trying keeping up with the specific rules and why this-or-that works in such-or-so way I found it increasingly difficult to pay attention to the non-stop action/fantasy sequences. When it feels like watching the screen rather than what's happening on that screen then it sucks all the pleasure out of it.

INCEPTION is currently rated 8,8 at IMDB. (!!)
How in the world.

Leonardo got the "dead wife" movie trope and if I have to mention one positive thing then I'll say that I liked her as the antagonist who keeps popping up in Leonardo's unconsciousness.
I don't hate INCEPTION, I just want to un-see it. Please write me a rule book that can make it happen.
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Snarky Oracle!

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INCEPTION (2010)

View attachment 51619

Inspired by the Leonardo DiCaprio thread (which was inspired by an update of the River Phoenix thread, which was inspired by my review of a River Phoenix film, which was inspired by my desire to watch a great film from the 1980s) I decided to ignore my instincts and my previously failed attempts to watch this film.
This time it was going to happen, come hell or high water.

It turned out be hell and high water, and I'm not sure if I can ever forgive myself. It's really not about the time I've wasted, it's just that I don't want to know this story.
I've never realized how happy and blissfully unaware I was before I subjected myself to INCEPTION.
And btw, why does IMDB show me Dutch translations and film posters - but not consistently? I understand the IP address thing but I don't understand why they do it.

It looks as if the filmmaker has taken his cue from the Gaming Universe by writing a new rule book that allows the story to develop in a particular and most spectacular way. So far so good, I suppose.
The problem is that the film explains relentlessly how it works (inadvertently magnifying the issues why it doesn't work) but completely omits the explanation why it works.
The story has already arrived there when the film begins but that is something I can overlook when I'm in the mood for it, and to be honest the film does give you the option to buy into it or walk away from it right from the very beginning.
This time I felt strong and ready for the challenge, but apart from the issues mentioned earlier I had not foreseen that INCEPTION was also going to take itself very very very seriously, like watching someone masturbating to his own crazy fanfic. It made me feel dirty but not in a fun way.

Then, on top of everything, it also manages to be a boring film. Even without trying keeping up with the specific rules and why this-or-that works in such-or-so way I found it increasingly difficult to pay attention to the non-stop action/fantasy sequences. When it feels like watching the screen rather than what's happening on that screen then it sucks all the pleasure out of it.

INCEPTION is currently rated 8,8 at IMDB. (!!)
How in the world.

Leonardo got the "dead wife" movie trope and if I have to mention one positive thing then I'll say that I liked her as the antagonist who keeps popping up in Leonardo's unconsciousness.
I don't hate INCEPTION, I just want to un-see it. Please write me a rule book that can make it happen.
View attachment 51620

I haven't seen them since they came out, But I get INCEPTION and SHUTTER ISLAND confused, conflated and mixed-up in my head. Probably for no good reason.
 

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Tonight was an "underrated gems of 1980s cinema" double feature.


THE MOSQUITO COAST (1986)



The 6.6 IMDB rating is ridiculous because this film has everything that Aguirre, Wrath Of God doesn't have: an all-round terrific cast, big drama and one of the most impressive explosions I have ever seen in a film. Directed by Peter "Picnic At Hanging Rock" Weir.
Former action-adventure hero Indy seems a logical choice for MOSQUITO's techno-Frankenstein who's trying to build a new and untarnished civilisation in the jungle, except that this Harrison Ford is far from likeable.
The first 20 minutes is almost a non-stop tirade against US consumerism and waste culture, and it even continues when the setting moves from America to their green nirvana.
There is the irony of the disillusioned American who then buys a jungle village and accuses another white man of trespassing.
I've never really thought about it but there's something truly bizarre about "man" owning a piece of the planet. Who the hell do we think we are?

Yound and fresh-looking River Phoenix was the eighties answer to Leonardo DiCaprio and I must check out some of his other films.
Andre Gregory is a joy as Reverend Spellgood and I wish his part had been bigger. "Dinner With Andre" added to the watch list.
The twins are the stereotypical twin toddlers who only serve as extra precious baggage. At one point they have to be strapped to a mast to keep them inside the boat. Funny.
Conrad Roberts is the main black actor who plays Mr. Haddy and he's so good that I almost didn't notice it. Perhaps it's also a bit racist to assume that these kind of roles are easy to do for black actors.
Protagonist Allie Fox is definitely a racist, a dictator and a lousy father, and not in an entertainingly villainous kind of way. It goes completely against Harrison Ford's blockbuster charm and that alone makes it an interesting performance to watch.
Helen Mirren is never not good but I wonder if the novel describes as being British.
Somehow it kinda works that she unintentionally creates an air of detachment, it makes it easier to believe that she would follow her bossy genius-husband all over the world, like a devoted Mary Poppins wife.
It's a beautiful and very intense film, and as with most great films of the 80s decade a bit harder to discover. But it's always the payoff that counts.

The mosquito Coast was a very impressive film, and definitely should have a higher profile. It is definitely one of the best films of 1986, and Harrison Ford has never been better. As for River Phoenix, I would definitely suggest Running on Empty and Dogfight as being your next stops to look at.
 

Willie Oleson

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Last night was a "the eyes have it" double feature.

THE VISITOR (1979)

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I have no idea how this film poster connects with the feature itself, unless it should be read as a promise that we're going to gaze into Franco Nero's uncredited Jesus eyes.
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And a few eyes are getting picked out so perhaps it all makes sense anyway.

THE VISITOR is a typical example of an ill-conceived (semi-)European project that borrows bits and bobs from popular sci-fi and horror films, kinda like the Italian soft-core disco vampire genre.
It goes without saying that these type of films have tremendous "cult" value - it would be a great entry for Studiocanal's Cult Classics label, maybe I should drop them an email - but the surprise here is that THE VISITOR is much more entertaining than it deserves to be.
It's messy, it's overwrought or downplayed in all the wrong places, scenes are rushed or go on forever, the soundtrack - albeit a very good one - is often used inappropriately, it's unintentionally campy etc etc.
You'd think this is one of those "so bad it's good films" but it's not. There really is something effective and fascinating about this trippy potpourri, but it's a matter of sheer luck rather than the result of creative input.
My experience was similar to watching ASSAULT ON PRECINCT 13, John Carpenter's film that failed to deliver its vision (at least there was one) but made with such deadpan coolness that it acquired a unique atmosphere.



THE SPIRAL STAIRCASE (1946)

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This time it's a misleading title rather than a misleading film poster, as that spiral staircase only marginally contributes to the story.
In fact, it's massively upstaged by the grand staircase in this typically American mansion including the offensive but fashionable black statures.
Although it could be argued that the staircase is upstaged by that fantastic, huge mirror on the mid-landing.
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Yes, why didn't the Carringtons have a mirror like that on their dramatic staircase?

It's very much a product of its time, an unsubtle and melodramatic gothic noir, but the effects and cinematography are excellent.
I'd say that it puts the "dark" back in DARK SHADOWS, and I always love it when they transform something as mundane as a person's eye into a macabre and grotesque feature.
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The events play out during a thunderstorm - well, naturally - and it enhances the experience of cozy nighttime watching.
Dorothy McGuire's ficitional vocal handicap proves a little bit too ambitious sometimes but never to the point that it started to irritate me. Besides, it was compensated by physical acting that captured the frenzy this film was going for.

I enjoyed the bitchiness between the bedridden matriarch and nurse Barker.
You're being paid to sit in the hall, that's all you're good for.
The actress who played nurse Barker reminded me of a woman who used to work in a department store I frequented, and we hated each other.
Then there's the sneaky maid who's only interested in getting drunk, sexy secretary Blanche who also lives in the mansion, and the new handsome doctor in town, Dr. Rossi style.
So, apart from being a serial strangler whodunnit there are various other things to enjoy. I guessed the murderer but not for the correct reasons.
All in all, this is a good choice if you're in the mood for something old-fashioned with a few surprisingly creepy effects, but don't expect too much from the spiral staircase itself.
 

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THE SPIRAL STAIRCASE (1946)

View attachment 51761

This time it's a misleading title rather than a misleading film poster, as that spiral staircase only marginally contributes to the story.
In fact, it's massively upstaged by the grand staircase in this typically American mansion including the offensive but fashionable black statures.
Although it could be argued that the staircase is upstaged by that fantastic, huge mirror on the mid-landing.
View attachment 51762
View attachment 51763
Yes, why didn't the Carringtons have a mirror like that on their dramatic staircase?

It's very much a product of its time, an unsubtle and melodramatic gothic noir, but the effects and cinematography are excellent.
I'd say that it puts the "dark" back in DARK SHADOWS, and I always love it when they transform something as mundane as a person's eye into a macabre and grotesque feature.
View attachment 51764
The events play out during a thunderstorm - well, naturally - and it enhances the experience of cozy nighttime watching.
Dorothy McGuire's ficitional vocal handicap proves a little bit too ambitious sometimes but never to the point that it started to irritate me. Besides, it was compensated by physical acting that captured the frenzy this film was going for.

I enjoyed the bitchiness between the bedridden matriarch and nurse Barker.

The actress who played nurse Barker reminded me of a woman who used to work in a department store I frequented, and we hated each other.
Then there's the sneaky maid who's only interested in getting drunk, sexy secretary Blanche who also lives in the mansion, and the new handsome doctor in town, Dr. Rossi style.
So, apart from being a serial strangler whodunnit there are various other things to enjoy. I guessed the murderer but not for the correct reasons.
All in all, this is a good choice if you're in the mood for something old-fashioned with a few surprisingly creepy effects, but don't expect too much from the spiral staircase itself.

Yes, Siodmak's SPIRAL STAIRCASE is a good one, lots of atmosphere in a perfect '40s horror-noir. dark-and-stormy-night kind of way, beautifully filmed. And, yes, the title doesn't make much sense for the reasons you state.

I also liked Elsa Lanchester as the alky cook who does indeed use that spiral servant's staircase in the back (so maybe she was supposed to be the star and we never knew it).

You should re-post this on the Noir thread.
 

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Dune Part Two (2024)

I wish I could say I understood what this movie was about but for two hours and 46 minutes I struggled to comprehend what I was watching. I won’t say it wasn’t entertaining because it definitely was at times, but overall I didn’t find it to be very good in quality. Part one from three years ago felt like a much better film overall, while this one didn’t seem quite as enjoyable.
 

Willie Oleson

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NOPE (2022)

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The title looks too "cool" for my taste and the brother and sister characters are hm-hm so-so.
The story and cinematography are fantastic and there's never a dull moment. I love the GORDY sitcom tragedy and the chimpansee is played by the chimpansee-impersonator from THE SQUARE.

I guess there's a little bit of HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON in it, and even though it all looks very wacky it's never at the expense of the sci-fi menace.
And the sounds, oh the sounds. Great stuff!
 

Willie Oleson

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Today was an "age disparity" double feature.

THE HUMAN STAIN (2003)

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Set against the backdrop of the Clinton-Lewinsky scandal (hence the title's double entendre) the story opens with a college scandal based on another word with two different meanings. That is to say, if you're familiar with the slang expression of the word "spook".
While the professor who used the word has a very good case based on common sense, the pressure of political correctness decides that his career as college professor has to be terminated.
Not very cool since he's spent his entire career building up the prestige of said college. Naturally, that itself wouldn't make a genuine racist comment less racist, but that is not the case here.
Or so it seems.
On top of everything, his wife is so upset by the whole thing that she literally dies because of it.

Sometime later, the former professor (Antony Hopkins) befriends a seclusive writer and also begins a romantic relationship with an emotionally scarred and much younger woman (Nicole Kidman).
Initially he contacted the writer to write a revenge-memoir because he felt that the people who voted against him were responsible for his wife's death, but for reasons not stated specifically the project fails to materialise.

The story is interspersed with flashbacks of the younger version of Anthony Hopkins' character and that's when we learn, most bafflingly, that he is in fact a black man with a pale complexion.
This part of the story builds up to a dramatic conclusion while the present day narrative reveals the shocking trauma of Nicole Kidman's character, including a homicidal ex-husband.
Meanwhile, the couple has to deal with the community's disapproval of their May December relationship.

I must say that everything that's happening on screen looks very good to me. Nicole Kidman may not be the most suitable choice for a trailer trash character (to use their own words) but I always like her when she plays "dirty" and she doesn't hold back.
However, to say that there's a lot going on in this story would be the understatement of the year.
There's the story of college controversy and the narrow-minded community, the controversy of the relationship itself, the excruciatingly traumatic past of Kidman's character, and then there's the meatiest part of the white Afro-American man who betrays his heritage for personal gain, and even develops racist feelings against his own race, which retroactively makes the "spook" word controversy interestingly ambiguous.
But this is mostly me reading between the lines, they don't actually do very much with it.
And then at the end the whole story is hijacked by the crazy ex-husband which is actually enjoyable in a FARGO type of twist, but still I feel that the peculiar story of the white black man deserved a much more dramatic payoff.
I think it's a good film about a muddled and ultimately unsatisfying story.


MAY DECEMBER (2023)

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I guess it's better not to say too much about the story of this new-ish film so I'll just describe it as a drama with dark and tragic undertones.
And I mean very subtle undertones because nothing is being spelt out.
If this would describe all of the film then I'd say "fantastic!", but it's also got some satirical undertones that gave the false promise of something slightly more outlandish.

Julianne Moore - who already has a flair for "nouveau camp" - tells her somewhat plump daughter "I'm so proud of you that you're not afraid to show your arms in that dress. You are a modern woman".
And then the daughter, initially ecstatic about her choice, returns to the changing room to try on another dress - with sleeves, of course.
The MAY husband tells his father that it's going to be very quiet now that the children are going to leave their home.
His father comforts him by saying that he'll have more time to focus on other things, to which the non-smoking son responds with ligthing a cigarette, followed by a close-up of the father's ashtray filled to the brim with cigarette butts.
That's not drama that's satire. And there are many more examples.

I don't have anything against satire - on the contrary - but it made me feel as if something was missing here. Something like. for example, the frog rain in MAGNOLIA.
But if I'm willing to overlook that one missing ingredient that could make it look more complete then I'd say this is a very good film. Even the score from the GO-BETWEEN seems to work better in this one.
 

Mel O'Drama

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Prometheus (2012)



This one's been on my radar for a while. Alien is a sci-fi horror favourite, so Ridley Scott returning to that universe for the first time since 1979 had me excited and, frankly, elevated my expectations considerably.

To offset this I was aware that this isn't an Alien film per se, but rather a story that exists in the same universe at an earlier point in time. Even so, I found myself actively looking for things that tied this to the original film... and it certainly wasn't difficult to find stuff. If I'd watched unaware of the link, I'm sure I'd have felt that this film was heavily influenced by Alien. Prometheus certainly hits many of the same notes as the original and embraces its themes.

All the same, what was most impressive about this Alien-adjacent project was the degree of world-building taking place. New concepts, ideas and innovations are to be found left, right and centre, and the balance between the familiar and the new was spot-on. There's obviously more CGI than in 1979's Alien, but it seems to be used relatively sparingly and stops short of unnatural artifice. It's most noticeable during scenes featuring holograms and suchlike, when one would expect it to look artificial. For the rest of the film there seem to be plenty of practical sets and effects.

The film is fairly well-cast, with the standout being Michael Fassbender whose performance speaks for itself.

As evil corporation head Peter Weyland, Guy Pearce's pretty features were hidden beneath a ton of ageing-up prosthetics (to the point he resembled Patricia Hayes). He was great in the role, but his moment to shine actually came in a scene not used in the film. The much younger Weyland's 2023 TED Talk was part of the film's viral marketing campaign:

In short, Prometheus has made me hungry to watch Covenant and (eventually) Romulus.​
 

Willie Oleson

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ANATOMY OF A FALL (2023)

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A title with a double meaning, or at least that's how the story plays out.
I think it's a very atmospheric and tense drama with terrific performances, and its 2,5 hours running time never got in the way of my viewing pleasure.
On the other hand it's the kind of film that I only need to watch once. But that's how people use to do it in the days without video, unless the film was shown on television.
 

Mel O'Drama

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Alien: Covenant (2017)



For context, I actually watched this at the weekend but I'm only just getting round to writing about it. Even after a relatively short time, memories get a little fuzzy and logic takes over due to (over)thinking time. For these reasons, I find my views on Covenant perhaps a little harsher than they might have been three days ago.

The not so good news with this film is that it disappointed. It wasn't big time disappointment - there's a lot to enjoy and it's certainly mostly a well-made film - but there's just an underlying feeling that it could have been better.

The casting is mostly fine (if one can get past ghastly Jussie Smollett's presence).

If Prometheus was Alien without the Xenomorph, Covenant feels rather like Ridley Scott's take on 1986's Aliens, with elements of Alien 3 and Resurrection thrown in for good measure. In this regard I'm reminded of how Halloween's 2018 reboot was a top-notch tribute to the spirit of the original while the follow up films delved tonally into the numerous Halloween sequels and were all the poorer for it.

There's (1986's) Aliens' big stakes, with threat on a world scale and a large cast of characters armed with guns and whatnot. But this means there's also (1986's) Aliens' boisterousness and muscle flexing The good news being that this being Ridley Scott instead of Cameron and Hurd, Covenant mercifully lacks the air of chest-puffing, gum-chewing swaggering conceit that I find such a turn-off in Aliens, well-made and revered as it is.

The new planet with its inbuilt threat and old-world feel conjures up Alien 3 (and probably some of what makes that film work for me). More controversially, Covenant takes a leaf from Alien 3's book by killing off one of its primary protagonists off-screen between films. It's a decision I cheered in Alien 3, Newt's incessant, annoying high-pitched scream having been one of the main reasons I find Aliens so intolerable. I'm less enthused about the similar choice in Covenant, though this stems less from attachment and more from disappointment at having to start this angle from scratch... again.

There's also Resurrection's themes of experimentation as a means of speeding up evolution.

Also in common with the original sequels is the "give 'em what they want" approach with the alien itself. When the xenomorph does show up, it's more in-your-face than it should be: on screen and nicely lit. What makes the original Alien the best of the films - still - is that it kept the alien in the shadows, where it's never been more terrifying.

It's said that Ridley Scott understandably wanted Covenant to be a direct continuation of Prometheus, with a focus on AI (embodied by David) as the key threat and that he did not plan for the Xenomorph to even feature until there was interference from The Powers That Be based on feedback from Prometheus. Understanding this helps make sense of Covenant. It does pick up Prometheus's themes and run with them. There's also alien horror action. Neither quite achieves its potential because there's a sense of two differently toned films playing out at the same time, but a few days on, it's the Prometheus stuff that lingers in the mind, while the xenomorph stuff is already forgotten. That's where the interest lies.​
 

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Alice in Wonderland (1931)
Alice in Wonderland (1910)
Having watched the 1915 version, YouTube naturally offered up some more. The 1931 version is a talkie with a theme song by Irving Berlin no less, while the 1910 one , although only ten minutes long, has the distinction of being made by Thomas Edison - or at least his company.
In common with remakes up to the present, they leave out parts of the story and substitute sequences of their own device, sometimes insisting on finding some rational meaning to the nonsense in much the same way as the 1939 Wizard of Oz introduces Dorothy's acquaintances before they transform into the characters of her dream. And successive screenwriters persist with the hubris that can improve on Carroll's original dialogue .
 

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I just saw Now, Voyager, which I enjoyed much more than I thought I would. I haven't seen too many Bette Davis movies, but now I want to see more, particularly Dark Victory.

I've seen Whatever Happened to Baby Jane a few times, and I've see All About Eve once. The latter I want to see again. Now, Voyager is the first I've seen of her earlier pictures. I now totally get the fascination people have with her.
Any suggestions on Bette's movies I should see?

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Mel O'Drama

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Sparrows Can't Sing (1963)




She was able to display some competent acting skills in the early career such as in the film Sparrows Can't Sing , which earned her a BAFTA nomination, so even the industry recognised her abilities as an actress.


This film's been on my radar for many a year, so I'm delighted to be able to say I've now watched it... and in glorious high definition.

What a fascinating film. It captures a moment in time like very few films do with any success. The use of genuine East End characters as extras and secondary characters. The location work on an area that was evidently still recovering from the after effects of war, but which has now largely been redeveloped and gentrified, make this one of those wonderful social documents of along with the likes of Ealings such as Hue & Cry or Went The Day Well. Very much in common with Till Death Us Do Part, its backdrop shows us the practical realities of working class families being moved from condemned two up/two downs to brand new high rises, considered at the time to be the height of modernity, offering new hope with luxurious assets such as indoor toilets and lifts.

Multiculturalism is celebrated in the most low-key way, being presented as part of the city's cosmopolitan vibrance. There's a terrific scene where James Booth nips up and down the stairs of a block, opening the door to different living spaces, each appearing as a welcoming exotic window to a different culture.

There's a darker edge to the film but, for better or worse, the hopeful ebullience makes it palatable. There are undercurrents of violence, with Booth's character returning from sea having left Babs with serious injuries from a beating (in the original play he was returning from serving prison time for that very act), but it's told so matter of factly that it's accepted as the reality with which these characters live (which I find far more potent than had it been presented as an "issue"). I'm sure oversensitive younger viewers might be triggered by Babs receiving wolf whistles as she walks along the street, but she simply soaks it all up and then sticks out her tongue, thumb to the tip of her nose while waggling her fingers in front in a "nyaaa nyaaah" gesture. It's endearing, and serves as a grounded precursor to the similar treatment she'd receive on a regular basis in the Carry Ons. More fascination comes from scenes filmed in the Krays' nightclub (they were friends of Barbara's and, as is relayed in the bonus features, also paid visits to the set and even arranged security for cast and crew).







Stephen Lewis wrote Sparrows Can't Sing (which I've never seen but have read good things about. My fascination with British films of this era means it's on my viewing bucket list).


The very young Stephen appears as well, as does his future sparring partner and co-scriptwriter Bob Grant. There are a host of familiar character actors, many of whom would later become household names through sitcoms: Brian Murphy is here, with best friend Roy Kinnear and Yootha Joyce. There's Victor Spinetti. Harry H. Corbett. Fanny Carby. Arthur Mullard and Queenie Watts.

It's a proper who's who of British light entertainment, and I would think that any "six degrees of separation" of actors from this era can be made significantly shorter by visiting this film.




I love this song:

It's gorgeous (and I've just seen that it's on iTunes).

In the bonus features, Barbara says that Joan Littlewood showed Lionel Bart (another East Ender) a cut she'd made of the film (after using certain connections to pinch it from the studio to stop The Powers That Be taking the heart out of it). Afterwards, Lionel told Barbara "I'll write you a song" then went away and came up with this.


Actually, the bonus material is fascinating. I haven't watched it all yet, but the "then and now" locations featurette is great, and the BFI Q&A with Babs and Murray Melvin is fantastic. They tell of Joan's dislike of actors who were too professional. She liked them to have a certain rawness and sacked a technician for trying to polish Barbara's performance.

They also tell a great story of Joan's aversion to awards ceremonies. When she received a lifetime achievement BAFTA, it was insisted that she attend, and her acceptance speech was "I know why you've given me this. It's because I stayed away". Apparently she immediately dumped the award in a Sainsbury's carrier bag and told someone to "take the f*cking thing to Stratford. It'll do as a doorstop".

I hadn't realised this was also the first English language talkie to receive English subtitles in American screenings.

There's a charming moment where Barbara invites June Brown to say something from the audience, prompting June to admit that she hasn't been able to hear a word they've said.
 

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Corsair (1931)
I've been on something of a Thelma Todd kick recently - watching the DVDs of the comedy shorts she made for Hal Roach.
This is a more dramatic affair involving stock market fraud and maritime hijacking but she never quite loses the playful persona.
 
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