Archive for Dandelion Dead

I Like Mike

Posted in FILM, literature, Television with tags , , on October 26, 2017 by dcairns

I don’t usually run lists on Shadowplay, but here are a few —

Mike Hodges Films I Love


I think these are all stone-cold masterpieces, worthy not only of enthusiastic perusal but STUDY. I’ve just been frame-grabbing GET CARTER, and it’s almost impossible to find an image in that one that isn’t bold and striking.

Mike Hodges Films I Admire


All really good stuff, and to another viewer they might belong on the first list.

Mike Hodges Films I’m Afraid to Watch


Maybe I’m afraid I’ll like them, or that I won’t like them. Anyroad, I’ve been putting them off a long time, which must mean something.

Oh, and of the TV work, “Dandelion Dead” is a stunner.

Another thing I don’t do much is commercials, though WordPress sticks some ads in. get an adblocker, is my advice to you. Your lives will become more restful and you’ll have the satisfaction of knowing you’re sabotaging the economy.

But this is an ad — you can buy Mike Hodges’ novellas here. So you should do so. During the years when the film industry has been disgracefully Hodges-free, he has not been idle. You CAN hear that voice again.

The Primrose Pathologist

Posted in FILM, literature with tags , , , , , , , on August 27, 2010 by dcairns

Peter Vaughan (left) with Nicholas Selby.

For 20p I managed to pick up a disintegrating old green Penguin paperback of Bernard Spilsbury, his life and cases, by Douglas G Browne and E V Tullett, which, seeing as how I’m addicted to biographies of forensic pathologists (Mostly Murder is tops in this field) and true crime, especially long-ago true crime, was what I’d call a bargain.

This one has regular occurrences of phrases like “the grisly luggage” and “pieces of boiled flesh.” Chapter 8 is entitled Unpleasant things on the Crumbles. If Edward Gorey had a copy of this, I bet the pages are stuck together.

There’s movie relevance, fear not: Spilsbury worked on the Crippen case, referenced on this blog, and ~

In Chapter 7, The Armstrong Case, deals with the poisoning lawyer whose story was adapted for television by writer Michael Chaplin and director Mike Hodges as Dandelion Dead. I emailed Mike the following sentence ~

“Armstrong shared with many small men, and others of various sizes, a characteristic attributed to all murderers.” (Egotism, since you’re wondering.) Mike is compactly built and I thought he’d be amused.

He informed me that Spilsbury, (“possibly the ideal name for a pathologist?”) suavely played in Dandelion Dead by Nicholas Selby, was nearly portrayed by John Osborne, who had already appeared for Hodges in GET CARTER and, if you can believe it, FLASH GORDON. But alas, he got sick and died not long after.

Michael Kitchen is taken from this place to another place.

I recommend DD to you all, since it’s exquisitely written, unfolding with a slow, dreadful creep, crisply directed by Mr. Hodges in a classical style that eschews ornament and perfectly compliments the subtlety of the writing, and stars Michael Kitchen, one of the greatest British actors alive and one of the least appreciated, outside of his homeland anyway. Sarah Miles and David Thewlis are quite brilliant in support, making nominally unsympathetic figures terribly unsympathetic. The DVD unaccountably preserves big gaps where the commercial breaks once lived, but is otherwise exemplary.

It can be purchased here ~

Dandelion Dead [DVD]