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Archive for September 7th, 2012

by Allan Fish

(USA 1948 105m) DVD1/2

Be vulgar, by all means

p/d/w  Preston Sturges  ph  Victor Milner  ed  Robert Frich  md  Alfred Newman  m  Giaocchino Rossini, Richard Wagner, P.I.Tchaikovsky  art  Lyle Wheeler, Joseph C.Wright  cos  Bonnie Cashin

Rex Harrison (Sir Alfred de Carter), Linda Darnell (Daphne de Carter), Rudy Vallee (August Henshier), Barbara Lawrence (Barbara Henshier), Lionel Stander (Hugo Standoff), Kurt Kreuger (Anthony), Edgar Kennedy (Det.Sweeney), Al Bridge (house detective), Julius Tannen (tailor), Torben Meyer (Dr Schultz), Robert Greig, Isabel Jewell,

Of all his comic masterpieces, none has been so worthy of rediscovery as this black romantic comedy.  Sturges’ last major film was also his most highbrow, a film that, though enjoyable for all, contained subtleties surrounding the choice of music that only connoisseurs could appreciate.  It’s like a box of After Eight mints, dark on the outside, velvety smooth on the inside and leaving you craving for more.  Just a pity that Sturges wasn’t allowed to ever give us seconds.

Sir Alfred de Carter is a famous British composer (modelled on Thomas Beecham, Carter’s liver pills being the name for Beecham’s pills in the US) who has married a young American, Daphne, whose younger sister is wife to a rich but dull financier.  When de Carter asks his brother in law to keep an eye on his wife while he’s away, he doesn’t realise how seriously he would undertake the task and is told that he believes Daphne is having an affair.  One night, while conducting a concert, he imagines three different ways of dealing with the situation; murder, surrender and Russian roulette.  (more…)

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by Allan Fish

(UK 1976-1979 270m) DVD1/2

In memory of St Tadger

Terry Hughes  d  Terry Jones  w  Terry Jones, Michael Palin

Michael Palin, Terry Jones, Gwen Watford, Ian Ogilvy, Roy Kinnear, Barbara New, John Barrett, Liz Smith, Isobel Dean, Frank Middlemass, Iain Cuthbertson, Harold Innocent, Denholm Elliott, Don Henderson, Charles McKeown, Eileen Way, Hilary Mason, Tenniel Evans, Aubrey Morris, Edward Hardwicke, Gwen Taylor, Bill Fraser, Roger Sloman, Richard Vernon, Joan Sanderson, John le Mesurier, Kenneth Colley, Jan Francis,

By the late summer of 1975, the institution of Monty Python was, if not actually over – two more films would follow – then essentially over.  It had been an amicable split as the sextet went onto different things; Fawlty Towers for Cleese, direction for Gilliam, and lesser comedies for Idle and Chapman along the road to the latter’s alcoholism and a tragically premature death.  For Michael Palin and Terry Jones it led them first to writing the likes of black comedy play Secrets, about a chocolate company into whose chocolate machine fall three employees, only for the cannibalistic confectionary to go through the sales roof.  Yet something else was stirring, memories of all those Boys Own adventures from the days between the wars, days of the British Empire and it were grim up north tales, when upper lips were as stiff as bayonets on the western front.  (more…)

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