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Archive for June 20th, 2009

 

Two legends - you can bet your bottom franc that isn't lemonade in that glass

Two legends - you can bet your bottom franc that isn't lemonade in that glass

by Allan Fish

It had been my intention to commemorate numerous centenaries and anniversaries on WitD over the last months, yet time did not permit it.  The centenaries of Burgess Meredith, Dana Andrews, Joseph L.Mankiewicz and James Mason.  I should perhaps mention that of Marcel Carné which falls on 18th August coming.  It’s Mason I regret not paying tribute to, however, in that he was of similar stock, a Northerner, a Yorkshireman from Huddersfield (South Yorkshire, but Yorkshire nonetheless), who indeed spent a few years at school on the shores of Lake Windermere not 10 miles from where I write.  James, above all, if you’re listening, I apologise for the oversight.

This morning, however (well actually as I write the anniversary is coming to an end), is the 100th anniversary of the birth of the son of a Tasmanian University professor, Errol Leslie Thomson Flynn.  I remember Leslie Halliwell entering him rightly in the Hall of Fame for “living several lives in half of one and almost getting away with it.”  Indeed, he only made it halfway to his centenary, dying at the age of 50 but, as the coroner observed, with the body of a man twenty years older.  Through all the charges of statutory rape (rightly dismissed), being a Nazi sympathiser (absolute rubbish!), all the abuses to his body – drink, drugs, women, anything else you care to name, it was perhaps a miracle that he lived even to see 50.  (more…)

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ollie 1

by Allan Fish

(UK 1971 111m) not on DVD

Seduced by sensual delights

p  Robert H.Solo, Ken Russell  d/w  Ken Russell  play  John Whiting  novel  “The Devils of Loudon” by Aldous Huxley  ph  David Watkin  ed  Michael Bradsell  m  Peter Maxwell Davies  art  Robert Cartwright, Derek Jarman

Vanessa Redgrave (Sister Jeanne), Oliver Reed (Fr Grandier), Gemma Jones (Madeleine), Dudley Sutton (Laubardemont), Max Adrian (Ibert), Murray Melvin (Fr Mignon), Michael Gothard (Fr Barre), Georgina Hale (Philippe), Brian Murphy (Adam),

John Trevelyan and his censors, not to mention the Daily Mail morality brigade, were just waiting for a film like this with which to accuse the entire film industry of perversion.  In America, the film was released in a butchered 103m version, so bad that US critics who attacked the film must be forgiven as they didn’t see the proper beast.  Even in the UK, it suffered.  I list the running time as 111m, which in all prints it is, but it should have been around 120m, and of the minutes cut out, by far the most important and controversial was the sequence that came to be known as ‘The Rape of Christ’.  Believed lost, it became, in the words of Mark Kermode, “the Holy Grail of Ken’s black mass.”  How fitting it was then than it was Kermode, the film’s biggest champion as he had been with The Exorcist, who was largely responsible for its recovery.  It hasn’t as yet been reinserted into the film as Warners are digging their heels in and refusing to release a DVD, but armed with an old semi-widescreen VHS and the clip of the Rape of Christ sequence sneakily downloaded off the internet, one can at last get an idea of the film as Ken intended it.  And as Vanessa Redgrave said, “I think every director should have the right to show their film the way they wanted it to be seen.” (more…)

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