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Everything posted by Alvy

  1. Great. Love that play (and the film).
  2. As a critical piece, Robin Wood's book is great. For trivia and the rest, there's a great book out called Hitchcock's Secret Notebook, containing excerpts from scripts, interviews, storyboards, behind-the-scenes accounts and the like.
  3. I love 'The 39 Steps', and it would certainly be in my top five Hitchcock's, I think. I used to much prefer 'The Lady Vanishes', and thought Steps was a bit of a bore, but I really love it now. When I read Buchan's brilliant novella, I couldn't get Donat's distinctive voice out of my head as I read through the witty dialogue in those early apartment scenes. It's only recently I've really appreciated the cinema of the '30s and '40s. I've always had my favourites, but now I can't get enough of that slightly stagey, but intimate '30s feel. I think if I were to reformulate my list of favourite Hitches, it would now look like this: 1. The Trouble with Harry 2. Vertigo 3. Rear Window 4. Rope 5. The 39 Steps They're favourite, as opposed to best.
  4. Wes Anderson's Rushmore (1998) and The Royal Tenenbaums (2001) both revolve around themes of betrayal, grace and reconciliation.
  5. Alvy

    The Italian Job (1969)

    I haven't seen the remake, so I can't really compare them. I'm reading my short review above and wondering what on earth I meant when I said it "felt very much like a film before its time"... Oh, hey, Rich -- we're still bruvs, no matter what those danged Anglicans say!
  6. I think Bernstein's score is fantastic, but after a brilliant opening, the film itself becomes rather banal and uninventive. I don't think The Music Man's score has the same merit as Bernstein's, but as a film it's more successful.
  7. Ken, I felt exactly the same about Bill Murray, until I saw him in Rushmore and The Royal Tenenbaums, and was converted.
  8. Thanks, MrMando. I thought it was amusing enough to blog (with hat-tip to your good self).
  9. My guess is even my fellow Brit Matt Page might have trouble putting a face to the name. Patsy was a regular in the British 'Carry On' comedies of the '60s and '70s. I read of her passing on a fan forum on Saturday, but it seems only to have reached the media today. Report here. Below, with fellow 'Carry On' star Kenneth Williams:
  10. Alvy


    It looked like it would be intriguing, only the picture was so dark I could hardly see a thing... Any ideas what the problem might be? Everyone else seems to have seen it fine!
  11. Alvy

    The Story of Film

    148 on my first go. The timer was kind of offputting. Did terribly on the post-1990 questions!
  12. Ugh. After listening to the sample clip of "Music of the Night" on Amazon, I can see what the critic meant by "not strong enough, vocally, even for Broadway". Michael Crawford sang that number so beautifully; this guy sounds disappointingly amateur at best.
  13. Yes, Matt, it was the production with Glenn Carter that I saw, although unfortunately both the leads (Carter and James Fox -- not the James Fox, but the lesser-known singer who won Fame Academy or something -- as Judas) had to be replaced by understudies on the night I saw it. It is difficult to see how what happened in the production I saw could be interpreted as anything other than the Resurrection, although I can't say whether it was part of the original play.
  14. It is if God hasn't forsaken you. My interpretation has always been that God did not abandon Jesus, and later on in the psalm it says as much: "He has not hidden his face from him, but has listened to his cry for help."
  15. Thanks for the responses, guys. Peter, I heard "This could be my body," but the preceding "For all you care" didn't register -- makes a difference. Personally, I don't mind "before I change my mind". It's quite a strong expression of doubt on Jesus' part, but then, I think "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" is a pretty strong expression of doubt. Doesn't, for me, detract from his divinity. The resurrection did segue very swiftly into the final bow, but I'm pretty sure it was part of the original play. Matt, the production I saw was a Bill Kenwright touring production. If you're going to see a professional production soon, there's a chance it is the same one. It wouldn't be too difficult for am-dram, in terms of the staging, which could be done very simply, but the music is certainly challenging. Even the professional Jesus I saw missed a couple notes. (To be fair, both he and Judas were played by the understudies that night!)
  16. I'm just cutting and pasting from Grace Pages, but am eager to hear anyone else's response.
  17. I'm hopelessly behind the times, cinematically speaking. I rarely keep up with the latest releases, and the ones I do see tend to be selected quite arbitrarily (a friend happens to invite me along, for example). I have to say, though, I can't wait for Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.
  18. Aha, this is just the thread I was going to start myself, which is why I asked you to fish out my film journal for me, Alan! Perhaps last year could be the year of Wes Anderson for me. I already knew (and loved) Tenebaums, but last year I also saw Rushmore and Bottle Rocket for the first time. I've never known such perfect and deeply moving cinematic parables of grace. One of my other great discoveries was Francois Truffaut's short film Les Mistons (1957). Beautiful. Following closely on its heels, Etre et Avoir. One thing I've learned from my film journal is that I'm not adventurous enough. Most of the films I saw have been repeat viewings. Out of about 135 films, I'd say only about 20 or less were first-time viewings. Having said that, many were films I saw as a child, which I've watched for the first time as an adult. Maybe I should add a separate symbol this year to indicate "first adult viewing".
  19. January 01 The Sixth Sense (M Night Shyamalan, 1999) 01 Everyone Says I Love You (Woody Allen, 1996) 17 Frankenstein and the Monster from Hell (Terence Fisher, 1974)
  20. For some bizarre reason, I still can't get that thread up. Perhaps someone could do me a favour, and cut and paste my film journal from last year onto this thread, preferably with the code, using the "quote" button? Thanks!
  21. I got the Chanthology, a box-set of Charlie Chan mysteries from the 1940s. Jolly good fun. Also got the Werner Herzog/Klaus Kinski collection, although I'm going to have to be in the right mood before I start watching them properly. Big sis bought me Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, which I had had on VHS for years, but was dying to add to my DVD collection. In the new year sales I got a few nifty bargains, including A Room with a View, Maurice, The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance and Trainspotting (Special Edition).
  22. I've always thought Michael Caine was a lousy actor.
  23. Alvy

    Mary Poppins

    Yeah, Peter, I believe PL Travers was closely involved in the film's preproduction. The documentary showed her heavily annotated copy of the script, with scribbles everywhere demanding for this and that to be cut, or protesting this or that addition. I can only assume Disney had the final say, and overrode her own wishes. Unfortunately, I can't be much clearer, since I didn't see the entire documentary -- I was unfortunately engaging in my particularly bad habit of trying to watch two channels at the same time.
  24. Alvy

    Mary Poppins

    I look forward to seeing this DVD when it is released on Region 2 in the next couple months. Great film. There was an interesting documentary (on British television) the other day about PL Travers, who apparently hated what Disney did to her creation. I believe the original books were far darker. The current West-End musical, using the same songs by the Sherman brothers (plus a few extra written by them) and with a book by Julian Fellowes (Gosford Park etc) is reputed to restore Poppins's darker undercurrents. The Telegraph's critic thought the stage show was far superior to the film.
  25. Sucker that I am, I decided to watch this tonight on the (British) Hallmark Channel. (As if the name of the channel weren't clue enough what to expect!) How terribly banal. The songs were uninspired. Grammer did nothing for me as Scrooge. Give me Alistair Sim or Albert Finney.
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