Archive for The Sorcerers

The Sunday “That’s not an intertitle.”

Posted in FILM with tags , , , , , on October 6, 2019 by dcairns

We watched BEDAZZLED again last night because our dinner guest, Marvelous Mary, had never seen it. Filling in gaps in our friends’ cinematic experience is all part of the service.

Anyhow, the leaping nuns (you probably have to see it yourself) are sworn to a vow of silence which is a hurdle for screenwriter Peter Cook, who is all about the words. He solves this with tape recorded messages, internal monologues/telepathy (internal dialogue?) and signposts, a bit like those produced as required from behind the backs of Looney Tunes characters.

BEDAZZLED was the late Stanley Donen’s favourite directing experience. He doesn’t get in the way of the comedy, he just records it in a succession of gorgeous shots. His experience with dance may be of help here.

It strikes me that Cook’s only weakness as scenarist, apart from his verbal emphasis, which is more of an inclination than a true weakness, is that he tries too hard to pack everything with wit, jokes, epigrams and paradoxes. Whereas film comedy maybe works better if you just play a funny situation, investing in its warped reality. But actually, he does this for long stretches with Dud’s scenes. It’s only with his own stuff as Arthur Spigott, the devil incarnate, that he has to make himself a fount of bon mots. And do a funny voice. And look impossibly cool.

Behind Cook’s obvious genius and all-too-obvious, supreme self-confidence, as Barry Humphries analyses in a compelling DVD extra, is a strange LACK of self-confidence.

Make a Faustian pact Wimpy Bar double feature of this with Michael Reeves THE SORCERERS for Halloween?

Positively the same plastic tomato.

Pardon the Intrusion

Posted in FILM, literature with tags , , , , , , , , on April 2, 2008 by dcairns

WORLD EXCLUSIVE from Shadowplay. This is INTRUSION, the first film by ’60s UK horror-film enfant terrible Michael Reeves.

Unfortunately, in the years since its production, the soundtrack has gone astray. Also unfortunately, since Reeves made the mistake of making his film exactly 34 seconds too long for YouTube, I’ve had to omit the opening title that reads, “This film is dedicated to Jean-Luc Godard.” It’s a dedication that makes me smile. Godard dedicated A BOUT DE SOUFFLE to Monogram Films, makers of low-grade quickies. Reeves dedicates his low grade quickie to Godard, without a trace of detectable irony.

dedicated to the one I love

The film isn’t exactly good or anything, but it’s historically very important and it’s been unavailable for years because the people who have their hands on the only print charge a fortune for video copies. Even Reeves’ biographer, Benjamin Halligan, got stung.

So now here it is for free, so you can all enjoy the first film performance of future Reeves star Ian Ogilvy as the Obsequious Butler (?) the fact that the bad guy wears Jean-Luc Godard shades, the novelty of a would-be hard-edged thriller being performed by public schoolboys in the leafy English countryside, and the complete lack of irony or plot twists.

Neon Ogilvy

It’s an early work, owing more to Reeves’ hero and mentor Don Siegel than to Godard, and probably of interest only to Reeves completists. We get the sex (sort of) and violence (sort of) and the rural and distinctly English setting, which connects it to other Reeves movies, even if it is basically a home movie by precocious teenagers. We’re certainly not talking TWO MEN AND A WARDROBE here. The rest of you should check out psychedelic psycho-thriller THE SORCERERS and vicious allegory WITCHFINDER GENERAL to see Reeves at his height, and mourn the loss to British cinema — Reeves died of an accidental overdose at age 25.

(I love the fact that for some reason INTRUSION is “A Leith Production,” since that’s where I live in Edinburgh. The name has fulfilled itself.)