Archive for September 10th, 2017

by Sam Juliano

A somber remembrance is upon us today.

The school year is underway, with summer 2017 now reaching its final days.  Before long it will be Halloween decorations, and horror movie festivals, though in actuality both are already moving forward.  Here at Wonders in the Dark, our long-running Greatest Television Series Countdown is in the final quarter, with the writing and comments fabuloso each and every day.  Many thanks to all those who have found some time in their days to follow this unique venture, and of course to the writers who have performed spectacularly well.  This coming week will showcase some really awesome essays on seminal shows.  Celeste Fenster, Dennis Polifroni, Duane Porter, Jeff Stroud, Bobby J., Jon Warner, Jamie Uhler, Frank Gallo, Pierre de Plume, Tim McCoy, Adam Ferenz, Patricia Hamilton, Bill Riley, Stephen Mullen, Brandie Ashe, Robert Hornak, John Grant, Peter, Rick Chinigo, Frank Aida, Karen, Steve Mazzone, David Noack, Maddylovesclassicfilms, Paula P., Marilyn Ferdinand, Patricia Perry, Maurizio Roca, Wendy Wahmann, Barry Germansky, Maxine Grgurev, Larry Weise, J.D. Lafrance,  Sachin Gandhi, Brian Wilson, Lee Price, Jim Clark, Laurie Buchanan, John Tonner, jamiepeeps, John Greco, Simply Megan Joy, Lucille Juliano, Samuel Juliano IV, Jack Marsh, Jillian Juliano, Arturo Gomez, George Pappas, Cassandra, Broadway Bob Eagleson I want to extend to you our deepest thanks for helping to produce some fabulous comment sections.

I was quite thrilled to read the part of P.T. Barnum in my daughter Melanie’s latest film, The Brooklyn Bridge Elephant Stampede.  Both Pierre de Plume and Russell Martin, two treasured friends are all part of the cast and can be heard in this creatively irreverent venture.

Our entire brood saw the latest Stephen King adaptation at a local multiplex, while Lucille, Jeremy and Broadway Bob were on board with me to watch a splendid Czech political satire at the Film Forum.  Otherwise I’ve been spending quite a bit of time with television shows in advance of Part 2 of our marathon project, set to commence again in December. (more…)

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by Allan Fish

(UK 1981 640m) DVD1/2

Vanitas vanitatum et omnia vanitas

p  Derek Granger  d  Charles Sturridge, Michael Lindsay-Hogg  w  John Mortimer  novel  Evelyn Waugh  ph  various  ed  Anthony Ham  m  Geoffrey Burgon  art  Peter Phillips

Jeremy Irons (Charles Ryder), Anthony Andrews (Sebastian Flyte), Diana Quick (Julia Flyte-Mottram), Laurence Olivier (Lord Alex Marchmain), Claire Bloom (Lady Teresa Marchmain), Stéphane Audran (Cara), John Gielgud (Edward Ryder), Phoebe Nicholls (Cordelia Flyte), Simon Jones (Bridey Flyte), Nickolas Grace (Anthony Blanche), Jane Asher (Celia Mulcaster-Ryder), John Grillo (Mr Samgrass), Mona Washbourne (Nanny Hawkins), Bill Owen (Lunt), Charles Keating (Rex Mottram), Jenny Runacre (Brenda Champion), John le Mesurier (Father Mowbray), Stephen Moore (Jasper Ryder), Michael Gough (Dr Grant), Kenneth Cranham (Sgt.Block), Jeremy Sinden (Boy Mulcaster),

It’s difficult now, over 25 years on, to judge the impact of Brideshead on not just British television, but prestige drama in general.  It had long been, as Leslie Halliwell observed, an albatross round the neck of Granada, described as an incredible folly in the long months leading up to its transmission.  The strain of classic TV drama serials had reached both its zenith and its end in the mid seventies with Jennie, Edward the Seventh and I, Claudius.  Yet however superb in terms of their acting and writing those productions may be, there’s nothing cinematic about them.  They look like BBC Shakespeare productions or series shot on left over sets from Upstairs, Downstairs.  Brideshead changed everyone’s conceptions; virtually entirely shot on location, punctiliously adapted from the original source to the extent that any faults it may have had were those of the original.  As with Jesus of Nazareth, two lead actors had changed roles (then Robert Powell and Ian McShane, here Anthony Andrews and Jeremy Irons), and thank God they did.  For it is no more imaginable that anyone other than Andrews could play the faintly homosexual, hard-drinking and doomed Sebastian than it is for any other tones than Jeremy Irons could provide the soulful commentary provided by Charles Ryder.  Here were actors to their parts born, perfect in every way.  It is a great credit to the other cast members that they don’t get lost, but there are gems everywhere, from Grace’s definitive old queen Anthony Blanche to Bloom’s suffocating Lady Marchmain, Queen Henrietta Maria reincarnated in the 20th century.  Not to forget one time Arthur Dent Simon Jones as the blissfully boring Bridey, John Gielgud as a deliciously supercilious and witty Mr Ryder and Diana Quick as the tortured Julia.  And we haven’t even mentioned Geoffrey Burgon’s truly hauntingly fitting score, at once a theme tune for stately houses nationwide.  (more…)

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