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  1. #1
    Senior Member Country: Wales
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    I love this film, Richard Burton's first I think. Sadly the subject matter was often all too accurate.

  2. #2
    Senior Member Country: UK DB7's Avatar
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    http://www.amazon.com/Last-Days-Dolwyn-Alan-Aynesworth/ is a charming little film in its own right, has the distinction of showing us a very young, very raw and very Welsh Richard Burton taking his first tentative steps onto the big screen.



    Written by Welshman Emlyn Williams (who also provided Burton with his first professional stage roles and early television and radio roles), the story follows the struggle of a small Welsh village destined to drown beneath the waters of a dam being constructed to provide a drinking water reservoir for a neighbouring English county. The villagers are torn between the lure of the money offered in exchange for their homes and the promise of nice new homes on a Liverpool estate, and their roots in Dolwyn, which most of them have never left.



    The story is a slight one, the ending somewhat improbable (though not altogether unsatisfactory) and the characters never really go beyond caricature, but the film's main claim to fame is that it marks the screen debut of legendary Welsh actor Richard Burton. He delivers a charming, if slightly erratic, performance as the young man Gareth, recently returned to his native village after a stay in Liverpool. He spends much of the film speaking his native Welsh, the only time he ever did so on screen, and his English is still heavily accented at this point. Emlyn Williams wrote the part of Gareth especially for him, and directed him in the role as well as starring opposite him as the villain of the piece. He treated Burton with great generosity, allowing him to stand out in this first role, and seems to have been one of the few directors who actually knew how to harness and guide Burton's talent.



    There is one moment in the film, when Andrea Lee, as Burton's love interest, looks up to see him looking at her, which reveals Burton's innate power and presence: he is absolutely riveting in a scene that requires him to do nothing but be absolutely still. This first performance displays all of the qualities that would make Burton such an interesting, compelling performer throughout his career: the ability to be totally still yet totally present on screen, the unexpected explosions of rage, the even more unexpected moments of tenderness, the great chemistry with his co-stars (Edith Evans in this case, who would reprise the role of his foster-mother in 'Look Back In Anger' ten years later, and Emlyn Williams, his friend and mentor), and even the occasional slips into theatricality bordering on hamminess.



    All in all, it is a film worth seeing for its own sake but especially because it marked the birth of one of the cinema's greatest and most enigmatic stars.

  3. #3
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    I'm in the US. I'm curious why you say the subject matter was often inaccurate.



    Cheers,



    Kat

  4. #4
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    Greetings from Lake Vyrnwy - the location for 'The Last Days of Dolwyn'.



    My wife is a member of the Llanwddyn (Lake Vyrnwy) Historical Society.



    For those who are interested, you can find out a little more about Lake Vyrnwy at my new web site at:



    Lake Vyrnwy and Llanwddyn Powys Wales History Newsletter Photographs



    Very many thanks,



    Pete Griffiths

  5. #5
    Senior Member Country: UK
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    I haven't seen this film for a number of years, used to crop up on C4 in the afternoons.



    I think in these days of valuable and cultural landscapes and buildings being destroyed by property developers the theme is pretty timeless. My home town of Belfast has seen some shocking acts of violence for a quick buck. What was once a beautiful city, seen to often great effect in Odd Man Out, has been reduced to an ugly grubby little town. But they'd tell you otherwise.

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