Euphoria #30: I trust the sight of the young people refreshes you

ringstone round 

On Saturday night Fiona and I went to see SWEENEY TODD THE DEMON BARBER OF FLEET STREET with our friends Ali and David, and naturally I pumped them for suggestions for the blog here. This is Ali’s excellent proposal for a moment of cinema that warms the cockles and releases endorphins (which are stored in your cockles and released by heat).

THE WICKER MAN is still one of the few Scottish films that Scottish people like. Because it’s actually unusual, intelligent and entertaining, I suppose (there’s no accounting for taste). Those in charge of promoting Scottish cinema have, in their wisdom, chosen to concentrate on making dull, depressing and anti-cinematic films, so it’s no wonder that Robin Hardy, director of this little classic, has struggled to find funding for a WICKER MAN follow-up.

Of course, THE WICKER MAN is an English production set and filmed here, rather than an indigenous film. As such, it’s part of a small group of foreign portrayals of Scotland that Scots actually like. WHISKY GALORE and LOCAL HERO have Scottish or part-Scottish directors. The success of BRAVEHEART here testifies to our healthy population of patriotic idiots.

A lot of people have been inspired by this film over the years. Jonathan Ross credits Britt Ekland’s performance for “helping me through those difficult teenage years.” Ewen McGregor can be seen watching it in SHALLOW GRAVE, and chortling, the way all Scots instinctively do when a policeman is immolated. For those of us in the film industry, it’s a monument to the principle that the words Scottish and Cinema CAN go together.

Ali is a brilliant costume designer:

send in the clowns

She’s dressed WICKER MAN star Christopher Lee in GREYFRIAR’S BOBBY, and was recently chatting to Robin Hardy about COWBOYS FOR CHRIST, his follow-up to TWM. She found him fun and extremely energetic — which he’ll need to be.

But her reason for picking this moment is the perfect encapsulation of the Cinema Euphoria Credo — it makes her happy.

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8 Responses to “Euphoria #30: I trust the sight of the young people refreshes you”

  1. Did you see the remake of The Wicker Man ? It was apparently awful and vanished from the scene in nothing flat.

  2. ahhh but what did you think of sweeney todd? Saw it with Stuart Brown on sat he complained about a lack of dance numbers to leaven it… I suppose the asylum inmates could have had a jig about

  3. Loved Sweeney Todd. It’s an essential part of the Gay Agenda. First you get them to sing Sindheim and VOILA! — their sons are yours!

    I saw the original and it didn’t have much ion the way of dance at all — just movement here and there.

    In order to be best appreciated Sweeney Todd must be studied alongside its inspiration: Hangover Square .

  4. I liked ST a lot, but partly agree with Stuart. I don’t need dance numbers as such, but a little something…I’ll be blogging about it shortly. But yes, it should play a useful role in the forthcoming Conquest. (Fiona had a good guffaw at the Gay Agenda idea)

    Hangover Square is a hoot, but part of me always regrets the film that could have been. The novel is entirely different — set in the build-up to WWII, with no murders until the end, and he’s not a promising pianist, just a lowly drunk…

    Have avoided the Wicker remake (one of those things where I just KNEW…) but will look at some point when it’s free. Never been keen on that LaBrute guy.

  5. I’ve not had the pleasure of THE WICKER MAN remake but if the IMDB reviews are anything to go by, (“The worst movie I’ve EVER seen”, “The Biggest waste of 2 hours” and “Time you will never get back”) it’s best avoided.

    Scottish cinema that is unusual, entertaining and NOT set in a Highland / Island setting would be great….. if someone would only fund it! It’s up to us I guess.

  6. Oh, I’ll settle for unusual and entertaining — even if we had ten new films set in the islands, as long as they WERE unusual and entertaining, that would put us ahead of where we’re at right now.

    I don’t necessarily trust IMDb reviewers but I trust my instincts: certain remakes are DOOMED: The Haunting, The Ladykillers, The Wicker Man, Planet of the Apes — you can tell by the merest outline and the talent involved whether it’s a good match.

    (Burton was ALWAYS going to balls up Planet of the Apes, just as he was always going to be pretty good casting for Sweeney Todd.)

  7. A teenage Sondheim was over the moon about Hangover Square — particularly for its Bernard Herrman score. He went to see it over and over agin for the brief shot of the score that pops up on screen — which he tried his best to copy down. It was tough in the pre-video era.

    In any event the underscoring of ST is pure Bernard Herrman.

  8. The score of Hangover Sq is fantastic, I wish I owned a recording. I’m planning on buying DVDs The Lodger and Hangover Sq soon.

    Laird Cregar is my MAIN MAN.

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