Archive for October 23rd, 2012

by Allan Fish

(UK 1966 365m) DVD2

Hello, stranger…

p  Michael Bakewell  d  Christopher Morahan  w  John Hopkins  ph  Mark McDonald  ed  Howard Billingham  m  Wilfred Josephs  art  Richard Wilmot

Judi Dench (Terry), Michael Bryant (Alan), Margery Mason (Sarah), Maurice Denham (Ted), Pinkie Johnstone (Jess), Emrys James (Gordon), Windsor Davies (D.S.Wilson), Calvin Lockhart (Leonard), Maryann Turner (Mrs Hayter),

It’s nearly half a century now since John Hopkins’ trailblazing small screen drama first burst onto our screens.  For many years it went unseen and when it finally came to DVD it was as part of an eight drama Judi Dench Collection.  There’s some other very fine stuff included in that set, from a 1987 version of Ibsen’s Ghosts with Kenneth Branagh, Natasha Richardson and Michael Gambon to the famous play Going Gently, where Dench played nurse to Norman Wisdom and Fulton Mackay as too old dying cancer patients, but this is the great work among them.

She’s always been a big draw in the theatre, but it’s fair to say that Judi only really seemed to command the big screen when in her early sixties.  Oh she had her moments, but she never quite seemed in command as Maggie Smith did.  That’s not a unique phenomenon, of course; Vanessa Redgrave and Helen Mirren likewise never really commanded the screen – or at least took it seriously – until later in their lives.  For Judi the turning point came with Mrs Brown and Shakespeare in Love, after which Hollywood finally, as if communicating by a distant satellite off Jupiter, embraced her.  (more…)

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