January 2, 2017

Privates on Parade (1982)


�We�re SADUSEA, and on the other hand we�re glad you see, we�ve got together in this equatorial latitude to chase your blues away and change your attitude...� What do you get when you take one gay man�s autobiographical reminiscences of his time in the Forces, mixed with biting political comment, slapstick comedy, bloody violence, tragedy, high camp, and peppered with some wonderful song and dance pastiches? You could get a bloody mess, that�s for certain. But thankfully, Michael … [Read more...]

Woman in a Dressing Gown (1957)


Woman in a Dressing Gown (1957) is in many ways a ground-breaking film for British cinema in the 1950s. It deals with themes which prefigure the New Wave movement of the following decade, which made big stars out of the likes of Albert Finney, Richard Harris and Tom Courtenay among others; yet unlike the majority of these it is set in London rather than the North or Midlands, and features women as characters who, ultimately, prove strong and acquire self-knowledge. Leading lady Yvonne Mitchell, … [Read more...]

Death by Hammer


The first movie that I remember watching is the 1961 MGM film �The Pit and the Pendulum� with Vincent Price.� My brothers and sisters (all older) were picking on me, so my mom and dad let me stay up and watch the film with them on television and eat striped shortbread biscuits while my brothers and sisters all had to go to bed. I have been hooked on horror since then. For those of us who love horror, there was clearly a golden age.� 1930 to 1940 was the decade of elegance in horror, the … [Read more...]

Went the Day Well? (1942)


� �Went the day well? We died and never knew; But well or ill, England, we died for you.� This quote from John Maxwell Edmond�s epitaph appears at the beginning of Went the Day Well?, accompanying images of the peaceful, idyllic Buckinghamshire countryside as we assume the point of view of a vehicle travelling towards the small village of Bramley End. Our journey comes to a halt at the churchyard, where we are greeted by the affable figure of sexton Charles Sims (Mervyn Johns) who doffs his … [Read more...]

Monty Python’s The Meaning of Life (1983)


And so to seasonal review number two, 2011. OK, this is, I�ll admit, a tenuous link even by my standards, but it�s got a song about Christmas in it, so as far as I�m concerned, it counts. And anyone who posts vast rambling complaints on the comment board will duly be laughed and pointed at. So there�. I�ll be the first to admit, readily, that there�s not an awful lot to be said about The Meaning Of Life (the film, not the concept) that hasn�t already been said, but with a film so … [Read more...]

Spring and Port Wine (1970)


Spring and Port Wine (1970) is a film which can be viewed on several levels. It speaks volumes about the changes in British society occurring during the sixties, and in ways which are much more real than in some of the �Swinging London� films of the same era. Although set in Bolton, it is not a gritty realist work in the mould of Saturday Night, Sunday Morning or This Sporting Life. It can be seen as a family-based comedy, and it certainly contains elements of that; the presence of Likely Lads … [Read more...]

Late Extra (1935)


Made in 1935, British �Quota Quickie� Late Extra provides an early example of the now well-worn screen theme of the clever reporters outsmarting both the villains and the Police. The opening scene establishes both the film�s age and the script�s take on Police competence: a Policeman phones through to a colleague with a Scotland Yard report of a car stolen in London. There�s a description of the car, but when asked for the registration number, he replies: �This is a stolen car!� Er, right, so … [Read more...]