Archive for Britt Ekland

The Tragically Hip

Posted in Fashion, FILM, Politics with tags , , , , , , , , on March 20, 2018 by dcairns

I only quasi-remembered I LOVE YOU, ALICE B. TOKLAS — which was to have been Paul Mazursky’s first film as director until Peter Sellers became paranoid-jealous about Mazursky and his wife Britt Ekland. This makes for a funny and eye-popping chapter in the Mazursky memoirs. Mazursky never makes the obvious point that in no universe known to man would a humble screenwriter who looked like Paul Mazursky have much of a chance with Britt Ekland. Maybe that never occurred to him as a defence. But he’s eloquent on the weird guilt feelings that accompany honest denials of something one genuinely didn’t do. Funny running gag of all his associates asking him, perfectly seriously, “WHY DID YOU DO IT, PAUL?”

Sellers’ demented antipathy dimmed enough for PM to be allowed on set and so he was able to contribute his thoughts and help Hy Averback, a TV director acting as traffic cop on this. Mazursky and Averback only got their shots after Sellers’ first choices, Federico Fellini and Ingmar Bergman, turned it down.

The movie depicts Harold Fine, a Jewish lawyer due to marry a rather annoying woman he doesn’t love out of sheer inertia, who is seduced into the counterculture by hippy chick Leigh Taylor-Young (Mazursky for some strange reason displaces her hyphen to between Leigh and Taylor, but apparently that’s not where she likes it). Fiona expressed revulsion at this doe-eyed moron character, and started to feel sorry for the shrewish fiancée, played by Joyce Van Patten with a lot of grating verve. Surprisingly, the film is shrewd enough to anticipate this so that when Sellers ditches her at the altar, he says that although this is unforgivable, going through with it and ruining her life would be far worse. “Okay, that’s fair enough,” said Fiona.

As in WHAT’S NEW PUSSYCAT, Sellers’ hippy wig seems to be making minimal effort to convince.

Then we get the film’s funniest business — Sellers attempts to drop out be a successful hippy., opening his apartment to anyone who wants a place to crash. Mazursky had to step in and advise the star that he was playing it too sweetly — influenced by the huge crush he’d developed on “Leigh-Taylor.” Sellers blew up and banished Mazursky from the set, but he DID adjust his performance and it’s very amusing indeed to see him lose his cool and become unhip again. The oppressive nightmare of the house full of hippies, like Groucho’s stateroom only with a palpable reek of patchouli and weed, is really funny-but-horrible, and does indeed turn out to be a nightmare —

Sellers awakens back at the altar — it’s all been THE LAST TEMPTATION OF HAROLD. But he runs out again, searching for the elusive Third Way between middle-class self-abnegation and irresponsible self-indulgence.

It’s ALMOST a satisfying ending, and surprisingly the harsh view of hippiedom is kind of refreshing now, but since the film never looks at issues like Vietnam, its swipes at straight society are pretty toothless and the choice between sides comes down to castrating Jewish mother & wife, consumer goods, and booze on the one side, and flakey dimwit girlfriend, poverty and hash on the other. The wit of much of the writing and acting stops this from ringing hollow until the end, at which point there’s suddenly a delayed crashing chime that drowns out Elmer Bernstein’s infuriating earworm of a theme tune.

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Touch the Rebels’ Bodies. Go on, I dare you.

Posted in FILM with tags , , , , , , on January 17, 2013 by dcairns

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Britt Ekland + Pierre Clementi in Liliana Cavani’s I CANNIBALI over at The Daily Notebook today, via this week’s edition of The Forgotten.

It also features Delia Boccardo, which makes for practically a pulchritude overload. Brace yourselves.

The Wicker Roundabout

Posted in FILM with tags , , , , on June 8, 2011 by dcairns

Ali Catterall made this.

Awesome, no? Of course, it helps if you already know both THE WICKER MAN and The Magic Roundabout. While giving all due credit to the guy who first spliced audio from APOCALYPSE NOW and BLUE VELVET onto video from children’s shows, I think this one is neater and more startlingly apt. And Florence’s rendition of Willow’s Song is nearly as erotic as Britt Ekland’s.

The Magic Roundabout was a Belgian children’s show imported to the UK. Eric Thompson (father of Emma) was put in charge of dubbing it into English, and rather than work from a translation of the script, he just projected prints of the episodes onto his kitchen door and made up whatever he felt the characters ought to be saying. So there is a proud history of revoicing this show…

The clips Ali has used come from the feature-length version, DOUGAL AND THE BLUE CAT, also dubbed by Thompson for British screening (although the vagaries of ’70s distribution meant that I was unable to see it as a kid). There was also a 2005 feature, THE MAGIC ROUNDABOUT, a CGI dayglo atrocity with voice artistry from Robbie Williams and Kylie Minogue. How can such a civilisation survive? It won’t be long now, comrades.

Thanks to Steven McNicoll and Ali Catterall.