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  1. #81
    Administrator Country: Wales Steve Crook's Avatar
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    For the record, the Daily Telegraph's release review was not as bad as some of the others..but they have to be seen to be believed.

    Daily Telegraph; 9th April 1960

    Review by Campbell Dixon

    Horrible Hobby

    The word for Michael Powell's Peeping Tom (Plaza, "X") is, quite simply, nasty. Its concern is, fashionably, with voyeurisme, the central character being a young man who likes to kill women while recording their reactions during the process with a cine-camera.

    His idea of a pleasant evening, apparently, is to play back the films thus obtained in his attic laboratory along with tape-recordings of intimate conversations and unpleasant episodes from his own childhood, thus getting up, I suppose, enough enthusiasm to go out and murder a new subject.

    As well as being as unpleasant as they come, the film is also silly, probability never being established, although those concerned would, no doubt, defend themselves by saying it is to be taken with a pinch of salt as a satire on the psychological sort of thriller.

    Some scenes finding their fun in the behaviour of film actresses and directors do, in fact, momentarily amuse. They arrive from the psychopath being employed as a camera-man at some film studios.

    It takes him some time to get the pretty stand-in (Moira Shearer) defunct in a trunk, but then he's ready to knock off one of the models he photographs in the nude as a hobby before he turns his attention to the girl down-stairs (Anna Massey)

    So it goes on towards his own suicide, with telling touches of sadism, masochism, voyeurism and the rest, all of which appear to be invoked just for the hell of it. Altogether a work of great "curiosity" as the book trade would say. Sick minds will be highly stimulated.





    This and the rest are at The Killer Reviews
    They just didn't get it did they? :

    And thanks to young penfold for gathering most of those Killer Reviews.

    Although note that many of the trade reviews were quite supportive and thought it'd be a good film to show.



    And some, like David Robinson, wrote a reasonable review for the Monthly Film Bulletin and a scathing review for the Financial Times.



    Steve

  2. #82
    Super Moderator Country: England
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    They just didn't get it did they? :

    And some, like David Robinson, wrote a reasonable review for the Monthly Film Bulletin and a scathing review for the Financial Times.



    Steve
    A tad unfair, there Steve; he says much the same things in both pieces; and by the time of the MFB publication he has had that extra month to reflect....mind you, I think he more or less stands by the review today. He admires the film technically, and what it tries to say; it doesn't mean he actually likes it.

  3. #83
    Senior Member Country: UK DB7's Avatar
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    I wonder what the author of the original article made of CH4's The Seven Sins of England, a collection of working-class Romford chavs and binge-drinkers spouting Elizabethan prose is an interesting contrast - and all credit to the non-actors; they pull it off with aplomb. (especially the roofer waiting for a CT scan who breaks down crying)

  4. #84
    Super Moderator Country: UK batman's Avatar
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    Eric Portman 'A Canterbury Tale'

  5. #85
    Senior Member Country: UK
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    I too got this dvd for Christmas last year and watched it that morning. What a fabulous film and full of all sort of surprises. I love the P & P films with the great Roger Livesey but this is fantastic also. Very spooky in places and also funny.



    Bravo

  6. #86
    Super Moderator Country: UK batman's Avatar
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    I too got this dvd for Christmas last year and watched it that morning. What a fabulous film and full of all sort of surprises. I love the P & P films with the great Roger Livesey but this is fantastic also. Very spooky in places and also funny.



    Bravo
    My favourite P'n'P ... wonderful performances and atmosphere.



    Bats.

  7. #87
    Administrator Country: Wales Steve Crook's Avatar
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    Some people say you have to slow down to the pace of A Canterbury Tale.

    But it's well worth doing so



    Steve

  8. #88
    Senior Member Country: United States TimR's Avatar
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    I assume this film must appear many times here on this thread, so if this needs to be merged with another thread, I certainly understand.



    I had seen this film many years ago and liked it. But last night I watched it again for the first time on the Criterion DVD, and was spellbound. It is now probably my favorite British film.



    I do not understand exactly what it is that makes this film so extraordinarily powerful and rich in meaning, and so deeply moving - it is simply unlike any other film. Yes, it is beautifully made, but that is not enough of an explanation. From the opening prologue it held me, and the cumulative impact was simply unlike any other film: it caught me unawares.



    The original version I saw, as a boy, was quite a bit shorter (I am reasonably sure) and I believe that seeing it again with the added mileage of years opened up a door that I still do not quite grasp. I watched some of the extra features - I must have seen the edited American version.



    When I think about the various parts of the film, they do not even really add up to a logical, coherent whole. My mind is highly logical - and my work is as well - and I immediately, spontaneously try to put pieces together in a clear and precise whole, but this film simply won't fit into my box (Bravo to Powell and Pressburger and so much for my box!). Yet that makes absolutely no difference to my enjoyment: if anything, the fluidity of the film is helped by the interweaving of so many disparate ingredients.



    But there is something else: perhaps it doesn't lend to analysis. At the end I felt as blessed as the pilgrims.

  9. #89
    Administrator Country: Wales Steve Crook's Avatar
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    I assume this film must appear many times here on this thread, so if this needs to be merged with another thread, I certainly understand.



    I had seen this film many years ago and liked it. But last night I watched it again for the first time on the Criterion DVD, and was spellbound. It is now probably my favorite British film.



    I do not understand exactly what it is that makes this film so extraordinarily powerful and rich in meaning, and so deeply moving - it is simply unlike any other film. Yes, it is beautifully made, but that is not enough of an explanation. From the opening prologue it held me, and the cumulative impact was simply unlike any other film: it caught me unawares.



    The original version I saw, as a boy, was quite a bit shorter (I am reasonably sure) and I believe that seeing it again with the added mileage of years opened up a door that I still do not quite grasp. I watched some of the extra features - I must have seen the edited American version.



    When I think about the various parts of the film, they do not even really add up to a logical, coherent whole. My mind is highly logical - and my work is as well - and I immediately, spontaneously try to put pieces together in a clear and precise whole, but this film simply won't fit into my box (Bravo to Powell and Pressburger and so much for my box!). Yet that makes absolutely no difference to my enjoyment: if anything, the fluidity of the film is helped by the interweaving of so many disparate ingredients.



    But there is something else: perhaps it doesn't lend to analysis. At the end I felt as blessed as the pilgrims.
    Sorry Tim, I seem to have missed this one until that recent post brought it back to my attention.



    It's quite likely that you saw the original American release. It was released here in the UK in August 1944 but didn't get across the pond until January 1949. By then, circumstances had changed so much that P&P were persuaded to change it quite a bit to suit what the American distributors wanted.



    The American version had that opening sequence (seen on the Criterion DVD) of the animation showing how many people were involved in WWII and narrowing it down and down until we get to a "typical GI" - Bob Johnson. He's met up with his sweetheart (played by Kim Hunter) and they've got married. They're on top of the Rockefeller Center and she's trying to convince him to take a trip to Australia so that she can show him what she saw while she was serving out there. But Bob's trying to convince her to take a trip to England so that he can show her around Kent where he had such a strange adventure.



    It appears that he's the more convincing because we next see them in the Cathedral tea rooms and then it goes into the main film.



    But the American distributors also didn't like the slow pace or the length of it so quite a bit was cut, reducing it from 124 minutes down to about 95. Bearing in mind the 10 minutes or so they added for the introduction they must have cut about 40 minutes!



    The main thing cut was the boys' river battle which adds so much to the bucolic feel to the film. There were a few other smaller cuts like the wood yard and some of the languorous conversations and John Sweet has to add bits of narration to cover and explain the jumps.





    So, in summary, it's interesting to see what they did to it - but it's best to stick to the full version



    It is a beautiful film. But you have to slow down to its pace. If you can, then it's a lovely way to spend a couple of hours. It will take you on a magical journey.



    But you're right, it is very hard to put your finger on anything about it and say that's why it's such an enjoyable experience. I think it defies complete analysis. When we do our annual location walk, everyone seems to have a different reason for being there. The film speaks to them in different ways.



    But they all seem to agree with the basic message that we should be aware of our past, but that we don't have to live in it and we can look to the future at the same time.



    Steve

  10. #90
    Senior Member Country: United States TimR's Avatar
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    Sorry Tim, I seem to have missed this one until that recent post brought it back to my attention.

    It's quite likely that you saw the original American release. It was released here in the UK in August 1944 but didn't get across the pond until January 1949. By then, circumstances had changed so much that P&P were persuaded to change it quite a bit to suit what the American distributors wanted.



    The American version had that opening sequence (seen on the Criterion DVD) of the animation showing how many people were involved in WWII and narrowing it down and down until we get to a "typical GI" - Bob Johnson. He's met up with his sweetheart (played by Kim Hunter) and they've got married. They're on top of the Rockefeller Center and she's trying to convince him to take a trip to Australia so that she can show him what she saw while she was serving out there. But Bob's trying to convince her to take a trip to England so that he can show her around Kent where he had such a strange adventure.



    It appears that he's the more convincing because we next see them in the Cathedral tea rooms and then it goes into the main film.



    But the American distributors also didn't like the slow pace or the length of it so quite a bit was cut, reducing it from 124 minutes down to about 95. Bearing in mind the 10 minutes or so they added for the introduction they must have cut about 40 minutes!



    The main thing cut was the boys' river battle which adds so much to the bucolic feel to the film. There were a few other smaller cuts like the wood yard and some of the languorous conversations and John Sweet has to add bits of narration to cover and explain the jumps.





    So, in summary, it's interesting to see what they did to it - but it's best to stick to the full version



    It is a beautiful film. But you have to slow down to its pace. If you can, then it's a lovely way to spend a couple of hours. It will take you on a magical journey.



    But you're right, it is very hard to put your finger on anything about it and say that's why it's such an enjoyable experience. I think it defies complete analysis. When we do our annual location walk, everyone seems to have a different reason for being there. The film speaks to them in different ways.



    But they all seem to agree with the basic message that we should be aware of our past, but that we don't have to live in it and we can look to the future at the same time.



    Steve
    So you are the Steve Cook who is a tour leader on the "Canterbury Trail" supplement. I just made the connection. Very nice work.



    I have now watched the film six times, pushing my family's patience.



    I have just finished Arrows of Desire - a pleasure to read, but far too short! The title fits the book, and the team, perfectly: I watched a short film about Blake last night - part of a "British Masters" series - and saw the connection. Both manage to convey transcendent vision. Is there any moment on film that captures a vision like the scene where Alison is walking through the meadow and first sees the cathedral? Or the entire final sequence, that continues to build from the moment the pilgrims arrive by train?



    I have also ordered Michael Powell's autobiography, so that is next.



    It seems to me that critics did not appreciate A Canterbury Tale , even in Britain. Strange.

  11. #91
    Super Moderator Country: England
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    It seems to me that critics did not appreciate A Canterbury Tale , even in Britain. Strange.
    So much of the film is a portrait of a vanishing world. Not everyone at the time either appreciated it was vanishing, or thought it much of a priority in wartime, or thought even that that change would be a wholly positive one...in some ways it was; but looking back, we can now see what we've lost....we're all attending the Colpepper institute now, only Pand P are giving the lecture...in the nicest possible way. It's not a nostalgic film as such...but our nostalgia gives it added poignancy and depth that may not have been so evident at the time.

  12. #92
    Senior Member Country: Great Britain Mark O's Avatar
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    I always feel at home with this Movie, particularly with the reference to 'Ovenden's Donkey', Ovenden being my own surname!



    It's a bit of old England, even a brief appearance by my own fave character actress Judith Furse, of whom I assume was living in the Canterbury area at the time of filming as that was the place of her relatively premature death.......when the weather cheers up a bit I must step up my efforts to find her grave and pay my respects, it really is something I need to get out of my system!

  13. #93
    Administrator Country: Wales Steve Crook's Avatar
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    I always feel at home with this Movie, particularly with the reference to 'Ovenden's Donkey', Ovenden being my own surname!

    It's a bit of old England, even a brief appearance by my own fave character actress Judith Furse, of whom I assume was living in the Canterbury area at the time of filming as that was the place of her relatively premature death.......when the weather cheers up a bit I must step up my efforts to find her grave and pay my respects, it really is something I need to get out of my system!
    There are still quite a few Ovendens in the area. It's a good East Kent name

    When we were doing our Powell Centenary Walk we visited a few of the places where Michael Powell grew up and that also let us visit Wickhambreaux, where we see Colpeper's House on the green



    (No, it's not really in B&W )



    That's the scene where the boys bring Ovenden's donkey to collect the salvage. And what should we see when we look around, b ut Ovenden's pickup truck outside the pub





    Times change, but not much



    Steve

  14. #94
    Administrator Country: Wales Steve Crook's Avatar
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    So you are the Steve Cook who is a tour leader on the "Canterbury Trail" supplement. I just made the connection. Very nice work.
    Guilty as charged



    I have now watched the film six times, pushing my family's patience.
    Only 6? Amateur



    I have just finished Arrows of Desire - a pleasure to read, but far too short! The title fits the book, and the team, perfectly: I watched a short film about Blake last night - part of a "British Masters" series - and saw the connection. Both manage to convey transcendent vision. Is there any moment on film that captures a vision like the scene where Alison is walking through the meadow and first sees the cathedral? Or the entire final sequence, that continues to build from the moment the pilgrims arrive by train?



    I have also ordered Michael Powell's autobiography, so that is next.



    It seems to me that critics did not appreciate A Canterbury Tale , even in Britain. Strange.
    It wasn't just the critics that didn't appreciate ACT. The public didn't go wild over it either. P&P almost considered it a failure. I think that was because by August 1944 when it was released, D-Day had happened and was seen to be a success so the people knew that the end of the war was in sight and they had other things to concern themselves with like putting the world back together again and deciding how the post-war world could be lived. It's only comparatively recently that we've had the time and the leisure to look back and consider how we got here - and so appreciate films like ACT that are giving us messages like that. That we should know our past but not be stuck in it.



    Arrows of Desire is a lovely piece of work. The one you read was probably the 1994 reprint (slightly updated) of the 1985 original. And in 1985, the films of Powell & Pressburger were very hard to see and were almost forgotten except by a few people. Prof. Ian Christie and various others did a lot of very good work to pull them back out of the obscurity to which they'd sunk, especially though the 1970s. Ian organised a retrospective of all their work (or all that could be found, in whatever state it could be found) at the NFT in 1978. He published Powell, Pressburger and Others to accompany that retrospective.



    But from abut 1965-1975 really were the dark ages when you would be hard pressed to find any mention of P&P in any publication and there was next to no chance of seeing any of their films.



    A more recent work on their films is The Cinema of Michael Powell: International Perspectives on an English Filmmaker. Edited by Ian Christie and Andrew Moor. BFI, August 2005. ISBN 1-844-57094-0 (pb), 1-844-57093-2 (hb)

    It's a series of essays about their films mainly by academics but written in a very accessible way.



    You ask "Is there any moment on film that captures a vision like the scene where Alison is walking through the meadow and first sees the cathedral?"

    Yes, there are a few, in other P&P films like A Matter of Life and Death and Black Narcissus. But not many others could capture, or even tried to capture, that "transcendent vision".



    Micky's autobiography (both parts, A Life in Movies and Million Dollar Movie) are both very well written and very readable. And I don't just say that as an admirer of his films, he was a good writer. The first volume covers his early life before films and his life in films. It's just divided into three chapters, Silent, Sound & Colour. Unlike many autobiographies, it's not just a list of his achievements and the famous people he's met. There are lots of famous people mentioned but they're almost mentioned in passing as and when required. And he's not afraid to detail his failures as well as his successes. And as it also covers a lot of what other people were doing at the same time it is a history of the film industry though the early days.



    The second volume is just as well written, but there were more failed projects so it's not as joyful a read. But he doesn't shirk from that.



    And don't forget that Micky was the first to acknowledge that he couldn't have done it without Emeric. Emeric's grandson Kevin Macdonald (an Oscar winner in his own right) has written a very good biography on Emeric.

    Emeric Pressburger: The Life and Death of a Screenwriter. Kevin Macdonald. London: Faber and Faber, 1994. ISBN 0-571-16853-1 (hb), 0-571-17829-4 (pb)



    Steve

  15. #95
    Senior Member Country: United States TimR's Avatar
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    Interesting articles, thanks for the pointer to them.



    But after 4 years of near starvation rations (OK, they were healthy, but they were hungry) and no frills, is it any wonder that the girls went chasing after the GIs? They must have been like people from another planet. They were fit and healthy, well paid and had a seemingly endless supply of lots of things that hadn't been seen here for years. The articles imply that it was only prostitutes and "wild girls" that went chasing GIs. I'm sure it wasn't. Just ask your Mum or Grandma.
    My late Dad was a GI in England during the war. He talked very, very often about Britain (some of my earliest memories) and also about the women there; they became his ideal, to my mother's occasional annoyance - he had an album with numerous photos of himself with various English women - and never remotely suggested that they were "sluts" or anything like that.



    Of course that very real antagonism towards the Americans was what led to A Matter of Life and Death.
    How do you mean?

  16. #96
    Senior Member Country: United States TimR's Avatar
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    ..........I suspect the casting of the American was a big problem for audiences. He's very appealing -- Sweet is the perfect name -- but he was a total unknown, and he doesn't do much in the way of classic leading man behavior. He also -- and I hate to say this -- comes across just a little as a cliche American. His dialogue is peppered with cartoon words and phrases. I mentally flinched every time he says "Darn it," "Pop," "check," "nuts," "you bet," "Gee," "Holy smoke," "Swell," "Holy cat," "you bet," "Say," etc. There's a lot of that stuff. Not Sweet's fault -- he's written that way -- and much credit to him for overcoming some of P&P's more simplistic instincts when it comes to portraying Americans.



    Amen to that.
    Ha! Yes, it is simplistic, but somehow it fits with the story and the film as a whole - which is really more of a legend than a realistic story.



    The portrayal of Americans in the film is intriguing to me: it is affectionate and sincere, and at the same time slightly off in small ways that perhaps only another American would note. Probably the British think the same way when they see themselves discussed or referred to in American films!



    It is interesting, though, that this does not detract at all from the film - at least for me. It is evident that Powell and Pressburger are trying to convey a historical reality - the American GIs in Britain - and there is a combination of affection, slightly thin-skinned alienation and fascination that seem to be very real. (And I think is still true - cousins who are very close - but at times quite ambivalent - and related whether we like it or not. )



    Sweet is a highly appealing actor, but slightly awkward, and even that fits with the story.



    All of the terms that you mention - "Darn it," "Pop," "check," "nuts," "you bet," "Gee," "Holy smoke," "Swell," "Holy cat," "Say" - were used all the time during the 1940s. Young men called old men "pop" until the 50s. "Darn it" is still used (at least by me). "Holy cat" has disappeared. "Say" is, I think, regional - in small towns and especially in the midwest.



    I will add that Bob's flat, sharp drawl sounds thoroughly Midwestern to me. In fact, Bob is supposed to hail from Oregon - but he doesn't sound like any Pacific northwesterner I have ever met. He sounds midwest born-and-bred, but I may well be wrong on that. Times have changed. Maybe Oregonians sounded like midwesterners in the 40s!





    The part that sometimes doesn't work is the use of these slang words in phrasing. Nobody would say all of them in rapid succession, as Bob often does, and it would be rare to say them with such extreme emphasis, separate from the rest of the sentence.



    In fact, terms like "say" and "nuts" and "darn it" were used as throw-away lines, partly humorous terms that were part of American dry humor. The nuance is lost, because, I think, the Brits assume we are not subtle!



    There is one moment that works beautifully in that regard - Bob's lines on the train about killing the fly on the baby's head with a 2X4 - the timing, the use of the story, the flat tone in contrast with the story and the bluntly ironic humor are all appropriate. The shrewd self-assurance and impatience with convoluted reasoning that Bob displays are exactly right for an American: especially for a young American man.





    I think of the brilliant screwball comedies of the 30s and 40s - "Bringing Up Baby", "Easy Living", "Midnight", "The Palm Beach Story", "My Man Godfrey", "Nothing Sacred", "The Awful Truth". THAT is where terms like that are used appropriately. In "A Canterbury Tale", they are used by Bob with a seriousness, an emphasis and an intensity, that make them seem absurd at times to Americans.



    At times also, the usage isn't quite right. For example, Bob is so polite and respectful that he calls Alison "m'am" - certainly accurate. But a man who is that respectful would not flippantly call an older man "pop" several times. "Pop" was a term used with family and friends or as a slightly sarcastic term of condescension. It woudl have been very mild, but I dooubt that a well-mannered, observant man like Bob would use it several times to the train conductor. It doesn't quite work.



    But I think P&P were trying to capture American speech with our stronger emphasis: far more declarative in general than the Brits. What they failed to capture was our timing and our humor - especially the wonderful dry, sharp, self-deprecating humor of the 30s and 40s.



    Having said all of that - it doesn't matter! P&P and the film's cast were trying to capture the impact of a real historical event with a generosity of spirit that is extremely unusual in films - and they succeed.

  17. #97
    Administrator Country: Wales Steve Crook's Avatar
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    Of course that very real antagonism towards the Americans was what led to [I]A Matter of Life and Death[/I'].
    How do you mean?
    There was some very real antagonism to the Americans. Mainly, to use the phrase common at the time, that they were "overpaid, oversexed and over here".



    They seemed to have a lot more money and possessions than most British people did after 4-5 years of war and strict rationing. They had things like chocolates and nylons that hadn't been seen in the UK for years.



    They had the glamour of being someone different from another part of the world. In a time before regular jet flights around the world this automatically made them more interesting.



    They knew some different types of music, like jazz, and they had some different dances like the jitterbug. And British girls liked dancing.



    And so they were able to take out all the young girls - when their own boyfriends and brothers were fighting, or were prisoners, in North Africa or in the far east (Burma etc.) or were away at sea.



    In reality I doubt they were any more oversexed than any young men but to many British eyes they had joined the war late (again, but not as late as they joined the first one) and they were seen to be all over the place as part of the build up to D-Day. Of course the general public wasn't allowed to know exactly why they were here or exactly what they were doing here, or how many were killed in training accidents.



    Some of this is alluded to in A Canterbury Tale, but various government officials were so concerned about it that they asked Powell & Pressburger to come up with a film that addressed the issue. So they wrote A Matter of Life and Death. In that usual P&P way they approached the problem from an unusual angle but all that stuff in the court is pointing out that there are many differences between the two countries but that we have more in common than most of us realise. And in AMOLAD the English boy gets the American girl



    But they couldn't make the film when they wanted to. They needed Technicolor cameras and they were all in use making training films for the US Army. So P&P went away and made I Know Where I'm Going! while they waited.



    As soon as they could get the Technicolor cameras, they gathered the old gang together. Brought in Jack Cardiff as DoP. Micky had noticed him doing second unit work on Blimp, he filmed all those animal heads on the wall. And they started making AMOLAD.



    As a message to the people and a piece of propaganda it was probably too late. By the time it was finished the war was over and most of the antagonism had long gone. But that doesn't stop it from being a most amazing film.



    Steve

  18. #98
    Senior Member Country: United States TimR's Avatar
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    There was some very real antagonism to the Americans. Mainly, to use the phrase common at the time, that they were "overpaid, oversexed and over here".



    They seemed to have a lot more money and possessions than most British people did after 4-5 years of war and strict rationing. They had things like chocolates and nylons that hadn't been seen in the UK for years.



    They had the glamour of being someone different from another part of the world. In a time before regular jet flights around the world this automatically made them more interesting.



    They knew some different types of music, like jazz, and they had some different dances like the jitterbug. And British girls liked dancing.



    And so they were able to take out all the young girls - when their own boyfriends and brothers were fighting, or were prisoners, in North Africa or in the far east (Burma etc.) or were away at sea.



    In reality I doubt they were any more oversexed than any young men but to many British eyes they had joined the war late (again, but not as late as they joined the first one) and they were seen to be all over the place as part of the build up to D-Day. Of course the general public wasn't allowed to know exactly why they were here or exactly what they were doing here, or how many were killed in training accidents.





    Steve
    Or how many died in Normandy? Or were also fighting and dying in Asia? Why did they think they were there? We joined late, yes, but it seems that before we joined the British wanted us there. Then they complain when we get there. There's just no pleasing some folks.



    I knew there was antagonism - but I didn't know it was that bad.

  19. #99
    Administrator Country: Wales Steve Crook's Avatar
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    Ha! Yes, it is simplistic, but somehow it fits with the story and the film as a whole - which is really more of a legend than a realistic story.



    The portrayal of Americans in the film is intriguing to me: it is affectionate and sincere, and at the same time slightly off in small ways that perhaps only another American would note. Probably the British think the same way when they see themselves discussed or referred to in American films!



    ...
    Very nice Tim, thanks for that, most interesting.



    There are a few things odd about their use of accents and idiom, and not just by Bob. When Bob is talking about wood to Jim Horton (Edward Rigby) and Bob says how they lay out two planks at a time, Jim replies "Well so do us". But that's more like Yorkshire dialect (or somewhere oop North). It certainly isn't Kent dialect, I checked with a few Kent locals. Edward Rigby was born in Kent so it's not his own local accent either.



    Burgess Meredith and Tyrone Power were both originally considered for the part of Bob Johnson. But they weren't allowed to be released to work on the film. John was on Eisenhower's staff and had done some amateur acting in Red Cross productions to entertain the troops. It was in one of these where Powell saw him. Micky was always doing that sort of thing. He tried to see every stage performance in the country, amateur and professional, and he remembered just about every actor and what their performance was like. He certainly didn't need a casting director.



    John Sweet was born in Minnesota and had already travelled around and lived in almost every state in the union. That was (and still is) his natural accent. He wasn't putting it on for the film, or not much. But I think that any American "Henry Higgins" would find it hard to place exactly where John does come from by his accent.



    They probably did overdo the idioms slightly. He was meant to be a country boy from Seven Sisters, Oregon but was really meant to be representative of the ordinary American soldier. Not a world weary city type, but someone still slightly in awe of having travelled half way around the world and yet still able to connect with the country people around Canterbury



    Steve

  20. #100
    Administrator Country: Wales Steve Crook's Avatar
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    Or how many died in Normandy? Or were also fighting and dying in Asia? Why did they think they were there? We joined late, yes, but it seems that before we joined the British wanted us there. Then they complain when we get there. There's just no pleasing some folks.



    I knew there was antagonism - but I didn't know it was that bad.
    The dying in Normandy and most of the dying in Asia came later. This was in 1943/44. The British (& the Australians, and the Indians and others) had already been fighting the Japanese, or taken prisoner by them, for many years.



    Many of the public had no idea why the Americans were in Britain. They couldn't be told that it was to prepare for the invasion of Europe - although it probably wasn't difficult to guess.



    And the British didn't see any of the training or other preparations. They only saw the Americans when they were on leave (furlough) and wandering around the British towns and villages, expecting to be able to buy things that had been on ration, or hadn't been available at all for the last 4 or 5 years.



    Remember that these people had been through the blitz when all the major cities had been heavily bombed for weeks or months at a time. They had been through a very real threat of invasion, knowing that they probably couldn't stop it. Most of them had family members that were already serving overseas and many had already had the telegrams telling them that their son or husband wasn't coming home.



    They were a quiet people living on a crowded island and the only way to do that without too many arguments is to respect each other's privacy. Into this mix you throw some loud, brash Americans ...



    Steve

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