Archive for October 19th, 2012

by Jaime Grijalba.

How can you possibly think of killing such a sweet old lady? Well, given the circumstances in which these five criminals are found, I can’t say that I wouldn’t have wanted the same, but even then, why kill such a great and kind lady? Well, there are some levels in which the performance of Katie Johnson of the character credited in the movie as ‘The Old Lady’, and I think that there’s a certain cleverness on the decission to name her like that, because she is the embodiment of what we think about when we talk about old sweet ladies, she is the cliché before the cliché, the archetipe of the oversweetness of the english mother, one that was later satirized and forever encapsulated in the multiple renditions of them in the TV series ‘Monty Python’s Flying Circus’, being played by all the members of the troupe in one episode or another, being the most memorable the one called ‘Njorl’s Saga’. There is something in the performance that makes me think every time I see it, and I end up considering it one of the best supporting performances in the history of cinema (damn me if I remember if I actually voted for it in the polls, nevermind) because there is a documentary feeling about it, there is a natural charm that comes from within, as if this was any old lady that was stopped right in the middle of the street and asked if she wanted to perform in a movie called ‘The Ladykillers’ alongside the talent of Alec Guinness, Peter Sellers and Herbert Lom. There is something believable that is quite supported by the screenplay and the situations in which this old madame founds herslef in alongside these criminals, some naiveté, some obliviousness towards what is actually happening around her that makes it a memorable film, one of the best screen performances and the only element of ‘normal’ in this incredibly crazy british film. (more…)

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by Allan Fish

(UK 1974 350m) DVD1/2

Aka. Jennie

No mere portrait

p  Andrew Brown  d  James Cellan Jones  w  Julian Mitchell  m  Tom McCall, André Previn  art  Frederick Pusey, Mike Hall

Lee Remick (Jennie Jerome), Ronald Pickup (Randolph Churchill), Christopher Cazenove (George Cornwallis-West), Siân Phillips (Mrs Patrick Campbell), Warren Clarke (Winston Churchill), Dan O’Herlihy (Leonard Jerome), Thorley Walters (Prince of Wales), Zoe Wanamaker (Pearl Gragie), Rachel Kempson (Duchess of Marlborough), Cyril Luckham (Duke of Marlborough), Jeremy Brett (Count Kinsky), Barbara Parkins (Leonie Jerome), Patrick Troughton (Disraeli), Joanna David, Michael Gough, John Westbrook, Charles Kay,

At the time of its release, Jennie seemed to herald a new era in television drama; or at least do so for the ITV network.  It was a massive success, winning its star both a BAFTA and a Golden Globe for her performance, and it lead to similar dramas Edward the Seventh and Lillie that followed on ITV over the forthcoming years.  Those other two have their own claims to classic status, especially Edward, with its towering portrayals from Timothy West, Robert Hardy and Annette Crosbie as Eddie, Albert and Victoria respectively.  The sneaking suspicion, however, was that the first of the trio was the best, but for too long it was impossible to judge.  Repeats were extremely limited – non-existent on terrestrial TV since the advent of video, while poor Network tried several times to overcome the copyright problems surrounding it to release it on DVD before they finally succeeded.  If seven hours seems a long time to invest in the life of one person – for those unaware, the American girl who married Lord Randolph Churchill, and was Winston’s mother – I can safely say it took many years to even get chance to see it, and I can quite categorically say that it was well worth the wait. (more…)

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