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  1. #1
    Senior Member Country: United States TimR's Avatar
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    I had not seen Alistair Sim in many serious roles before this; I expected this to be a well-made mystery, but did not expect more than that. It has an expertly constructed plot and a twist at the end that may have been done before, but still works very well.

  2. #2
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    i haven't seen the film (now that i really have to do something about) but i did see stephen daldry's stage production of the play when it came to australia a couple of years ago or so.



    this may sound heretical but i think that this is one of the few classic films that might benefit from being remade. not, i hasten to add, because i think that there are any deficencies in the original or that it is not a good film, but rather when the original film was made, the class system that priestley was attacking was still alive and well and the more controversial parts of the play had to be removed or at least played down. if the film were to be remade today, there would be few if any problems encountered if it stuck more closely to the spirit of the play.



    when priestley wrote an inspector calls in 1945 he couldn�t find a theatre in london to stage it. it opened in moscow of all places! later, when it was put on in london by the basil dean, it was staged in a more conventional way. none of the stage directions that are in the printed text today were written by priestley, but are notations of how dean had staged it. the play itself is pretty radical and priestley was trying to create a new britain. the play was a piece of theatre with a purpose - urging us not to slip back into edwardian sensibility.

  3. #3
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    A superb little film and the Inspector gives the impression that he knows the solution early on. Columbo used this technique also many years later.

  4. #4
    Senior Member Country: UK Windthrop's Avatar
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    I think it works best as a film if you haven't seen the play. The lengthy flashback structure to the film lessens the impact for me. The performance are fine - always like Sim and nice to see him in something other than a comedy in the '50s.

  5. #5
    Super Moderator Country: UK batman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by stevie boy
    A superb little film and the Inspector gives the impression that he knows the solution early on.
    Which, of course, he possibly does. Fantastic play, great film. I agree with Windy that it's probably best to see the film first, 'cos the play has so much more going on that when you see the film you'll probably wonder where it all is.



    Bats.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by helen m
    i haven't seen the film (now that i really have to do something about)....
    looks like it may not be available in australia, so i might have to source it from overseas. i can think of one shop that might have it, but i can't remember its name so i can't just ring them up and ask them. it's within walking distance from work (just) so i'll check it out tomorrow at lunchtime.

  7. #7
    Senior Member Country: UK Windthrop's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by helen m
    looks like it may not be available in australia, so i might have to source it from overseas. i can think of one shop that might have it, but i can't remember its name so i can't just ring them up and ask them. it's within walking distance from work (just) so i'll check it out tomorrow at lunchtime.
    There is also a TV version that was made inthe 1980's for Schools which was shown on primetime as well - had a rather good cast -



    Bernard Hepton

    Nigel Davenport

    Simon Ward

  8. #8
    Senior Member Country: United States TimR's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by helen m
    i haven't seen the film (now that i really have to do something about) but i did see stephen daldry's stage production of the play when it came to australia a couple of years ago or so.



    this may sound heretical but i think that this is one of the few classic films that might benefit from being remade. not, i hasten to add, because i think that there are any deficencies in the original or that it is not a good film, but rather when the original film was made, the class system that priestley was attacking was still alive and well and the more controversial parts of the play had to be removed or at least played down. if the film were to be remade today, there would be few if any problems encountered if it stuck more closely to the spirit of the play.



    when priestley wrote an inspector calls in 1945 he couldn’t find a theatre in london to stage it. it opened in moscow of all places! later, when it was put on in london by the basil dean, it was staged in a more conventional way. none of the stage directions that are in the printed text today were written by priestley, but are notations of how dean had staged it. the play itself is pretty radical and priestley was trying to create a new britain. the play was a piece of theatre with a purpose - urging us not to slip back into edwardian sensibility.
    Interesting and intriguing comments: I have not seen the play, but I have family members who saw a production in London in 1993 or 1994, and said it was superior to the film.



    I did not know there were plot details that were left out. The screenplay is so cleverly constructed. The only solution is for me to read the play!



    I would certainly be interested in seeing a remake of the film. I would miss the incomparable Alistair Sim, but it is so well-written that I would see it for the plot and character development. It is interesting to think of who might take the lead role. Albert Finney? Edward Woodward?

  9. #9
    Super Moderator Country: UK batman's Avatar
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    I thought Stephen Fry would be good .... but his disappointing performance in Gosford Park made me change my mind.



    Bats.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by batman
    I thought Stephen Fry would be good .... but his disappointing performance in Gosford Park made me change my mind.



    Bats.
    I agree, Bats - I find that Stephen Fry's either very good or really bad; there doesn't seem to be a 'medium'!

    I thought he was very good in V For Vendetta though.



    However, you cannot improve on perfection - and Alistair Sim was perfect in the part for me.



    YDSL x.

  11. #11
    Super Moderator Country: UK batman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Starry-Eyed
    .



    However, you cannot improve on perfection - and Alistair Sim was perfect in the part for me.



    YDSL x.
    Absolutely!



    Bats.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by stevie boy
    A superb little film and the Inspector gives the impression that he knows the solution early on. Columbo used this technique also many years later.
    Columbo used the technique of investigating crimes which only had one possible solution & brilliantly taking an hour or more to arrive at it. It was entertaining for about one episode.



    I am inclined to count most Alastair Sim vehicles among top Brit movies, but An Inspector Calls is one of several in which his performance carries a movie which is otherwise no better than solid. Ironically, I have to admit that A Christmas Carol is still among my favourites of his in spite of the fact that it is another one of these.



    His performance is true to the original and yet in the most sentimental of stories he manages to convey sentiment without sentimentality. The 'humbug' aspect is never overplayed, he is not a Gradgrind but a good man gone wrong and good men are always the source of optimism for a better world in Dickens. And there is an ineffable innocence in his joyous rebirth at the end as he regresses to the man he was before he became 'Scrooge'. For Sim, who almost specialised in the slyly knowing, this is an indication of his range as an actor.

  13. #13
    Senior Member Country: UK Windthrop's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by batman
    I thought Stephen Fry would be good .... but his disappointing performance in Gosford Park made me change my mind.



    Bats.
    I have assumed, and I may well be wrong, that his performance in GP was an intentional 'gag' or joke performance in parody on old fashion country house murder mystery.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by TimR
    Interesting and intriguing comments: I have not seen the play, but I have family members who saw a production in London in 1993 or 1994, and said it was superior to the film.



    I did not know there were plot details that were left out. The screenplay is so cleverly constructed. The only solution is for me to read the play!



    I would certainly be interested in seeing a remake of the film. I would miss the incomparable Alistair Sim, but it is so well-written that I would see it for the plot and character development. It is interesting to think of who might take the lead role. Albert Finney? Edward Woodward?
    I saw Kenneth Cranham play the Inspector in Daldry's London production at the Aldwych in 1993. It's probably the same production that your family saw. Julian Glover and Judy Parfitt were the parents. I thought Cranham was very earthy, whereas Sim seemed supernatural. Both great interpretations.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by rskershaw
    I saw Kenneth Cranham play the Inspector in Daldry's London production at the Aldwych in 1993. It's probably the same production that your family saw. Julian Glover and Judy Parfitt were the parents. I thought Cranham was very earthy, whereas Sim seemed supernatural. Both great interpretations.
    Keneth Cranham is a very good actor.

  16. #16
    Super Moderator Country: UK batman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Windthrop
    I have assumed, and I may well be wrong, that his performance in GP was an intentional 'gag' or joke performance in parody on old fashion country house murder mystery.
    You may well be right Windy, but for me the performance was totally out of place and the 'joke' didn't work. It was IMHO as irritating as his old mate Tony Slattery's in Peter's Friends.



    Bats.

  17. #17
    Senior Member Country: UK Windthrop's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by batman
    You may well be right Windy, but for me the performance was totally out of place and the 'joke' didn't work. It was IMHO as irritating as his old mate Tony Slattery's in Peter's Friends.



    Bats.
    No argument about TS in PF though I thought KB photofinished him with his drunk scene

  18. #18
    Senior Member Country: UK Windthrop's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rskershaw
    I saw Kenneth Cranham play the Inspector in Daldry's London production at the Aldwych in 1993. It's probably the same production that your family saw. Julian Glover and Judy Parfitt were the parents. I thought Cranham was very earthy, whereas Sim seemed supernatural. Both great interpretations.
    I caught that production but with Richard Pasco and Barbara Leigh-Hunt as the Birlings. I thought Cranham's 'earthy' performance was necessary given the highly stylised nature of the production and the Daliesque set.



    As for casting a film version now



    Finney or Woodward for Birling (or even Gambon)



    Patrick Stewart could do the Inspector justice I think

  19. #19
    Super Moderator Country: UK batman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Windthrop

    Patrick Stewart could do the Inspector justice I think
    I'd go along with that .... also, Robert Powell always struck me as being a good candidate for the role.



    Bats.

  20. #20
    Senior Member Country: United States TimR's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by VladTheImpala
    ....His performance is true to the original and yet in the most sentimental of stories he manages to convey sentiment without sentimentality. The 'humbug' aspect is never overplayed, he is not a Gradgrind but a good man gone wrong and good men are always the source of optimism for a better world in Dickens. And there is an ineffable innocence in his joyous rebirth at the end as he regresses to the man he was before he became 'Scrooge'. For Sim, who almost specialised in the slyly knowing, this is an indication of his range as an actor.
    Very well said. He does indeed cut through the syrup and bring the power of the story to life.



    I have seen some fine portrayals of Scrooge, but Sim transcends them all. I think you make an excellent point about the connection between the reborn Scrooge and the younger man. He manages to portray a man of genuinely good character on the screen without excessive emotion. I think that is one of the most difficult accomplishments. I think Peter O'Toole did the same thing in the musical version of Goodbye, Mr. Chips - a rather poor film worth watching for an outstanding performance.

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