The Sunday Subtitle: A Little Theatre

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Funny how many late films are Christmas films. THE DEAD is the king of them, probably, but there’s also LES PETROLEUSES (late Bardot, final Christian-Jacque, Christmas on the prairie with a decorated cactus), REINDEER GAMES (last cinematic outing of Frankenheimer, Santas slaughtered like sheep) and Michael Curtiz was lucky to survive the one-two punch of WHITE CHRISTMAS and WE’RE NO ANGELS but he only lasted another five years. Still counts.

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I plonked a digital copy of a VHS of THE LITTLE THEATRE OF JEAN RENOIR in the Maidstone Blu-ray player and was immediately delighted by the Christmas connection, which I hadn’t known about. Also, the conscious choice to end his career (eight years since his last job: he must have known) with a Hans Christian Andersen adaptation, harking way way back to his 1928 version of THE LITTLE MATCH GIRL (a thing of beauty).

This is a TV movie (television, both cradle and graveyard of careers) and frankly looks it, but it’s strange how the vivacious spirit of a filmmaker like Renoir asserts itself through imagery that might seem cheap, flat or ordinary. Frame grabs are never going to do it justice because there’s something ineffable BETWEEN the frames.

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One Response to “The Sunday Subtitle: A Little Theatre”

  1. […] Even Jean Renoir’s brilliant career had to end. […]

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