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Archive for September 27th, 2012

by Allan Fish

(UK 1995 301m) DVD1/2

Austen fever

p  Sue Birtwistle  d  Simon Langton  w  Andrew Davies  novel  Jane Austen  ph  John Kenway  ed  Peter Coulson  m  Carl Davis (including “Voi Che Sapéte” from “The Marriage of Figaro” by W.A.Mozart)  art  Gerry Scott, Marjorie Pratt, Mark Kebby, John Collins  cos  Dinah Collin

Jennifer Ehle (Elizabeth Bennet), Colin Firth (Fitzwilliam Darcy), Alison Steadman (Mrs Fanny Bennet), Benjamin Whitrow (Mr Bennet), David Bamber (William Collins), Barbara Leigh-Hunt (Lady Catherine de Bourgh), Susannah Harker (Jane Bennet), Crispin Bonham Carter (Charles Bingley), Anna Chancellor (Caroline Bingley), Lucy Scott (Charlotte Lucas), Adrian Lukis (George Wickham), Julia Sawalha (Lydia Bennet), Lucy Briers (Mary Bennet), Polly Maberly (Kitty Bennet), Christopher Benjamin (Sir William Lucas), Joanna David (Mrs Gardiner), Tim Wylton (Edward Gardiner), Anthony Calf (Col.Fitzwilliam), Nadia Chambers (Anne de Bourgh), Emilia Fox (Georgiana Darcy), Lucy Robinson (Mrs Louisa Hurst), Rupert Vansittart (Mr Hurst), Lynn Farleigh (Mrs Phillips), Lucy Davis (Maria Lucas), Paul Moriarty (Col.Forster), Harriet Eastcott (Mrs Jenkinson), Tom Ward (Lt.Chamberlayne), Sarah Legg (Hannah),

In the mid-nineties, Jane Austen was plat du jour.  The BBC had made Persuasion for TV and the need for such refined fare was so great it was released in the cinema in the States.  Ang Lee and Emma Thompson combined to bring us a richly entertaining version of Sense and Sensibility which cemented the stardom of Kate Winslet and gave Hugh Laurie one of the great vignettes of modern times.  Gwyneth Paltrow showed her comfort with everything Anglofied by perfectly capturing Austen’s most popular heroine, Emma.  (I also mirthfully recall a titbit quoted by Sarah Michelle Gellar in Empire magazine about how someone she knew remarked how Emma had been a complete rip-off of Amy Heckerling’s Clueless; I completely share her horror.)  Pride of place, however, if you forgive the pun, must go to the Andrew Davies scripted six-part version of Pride and Prejudice screened in the autumn of 1995. (more…)

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by Allan Fish

(USA 1984 83m) DVD1/2

This goes up to eleven

p  Karen Murphy  d  Rob Reiner  w/m/ly  Christopher Guest, Rob Reiner, Michael McKean, Harry Shearer  ph  Peter Smokler  ed  Robert Leighton  art  Dryan Jones

Christopher Guest (Nigel Tufnel), Michael McKean (David St Hubbins), Harry Shearer (Derek Smalls), Rob Reiner (Marty DiBergi), R.J.Parnell (Mick Shrimpton), David Kaff (Viv Savage), Tony Hendra (Ian Faith), Bruno Kirby (Tommy Pischeda), Fran Drescher (Bobbi Flekman), Anjelica Huston, Ed Begley Jnr, Billy Crystal, Patrick MacNee,

Rob Reiner’s spoof rockumentary of an ageing British rock band on tour in the US at the twilight of their careers truly was one of the most original films of its decade.  Here was a film that finally, deservedly attacked and made fun of that most pretentious of musical art forms, the heavy metal rock band, in this case the fictitious Spinal Tap, one of England’s loudest bands behind such ‘classic’ albums as Intravenus de Milo, Shark Sandwich and The Gospel According to Spinal Tap, the latter prompting one reviewer to say that if God rested on one day why did he not rest the day he made Spinal Tap?  Thank God he didn’t, because the world would be a far less funny place without them.

Spinal Tap, a British rock group founded in the mid sixties, consists of three core members, guitarist and singer David St Hubbins, lead guitarist Nigel Tufnel and bass guitarist Derek Smalls.  They are legends in their own imagination, feted through the known world for such songs as ‘Hell Hole’ and ‘Big Bottom’.  Commercial director Marty DiBergi – who on first hearing them was “knocked out by their exuberance, their raw power and their punctuality” – records the behind the scenes happenings and gigs and interviews the band members as they embark on their first US tour in six years.  (more…)

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