Archive for The Trouble with Angels


Posted in FILM, Mythology with tags , , , , , , , , on July 23, 2008 by dcairns

I got this email…

I work at Edinburgh College of Art, teaching in the film department (what FUN we have!). The department pays host to the Scottish Documentary Institute, the body for the promotion of documentary-making in Scotland. And, I guess they know I run a blog, although hearing it described as a “newsletter”, below, seems pleasantly quaint. Anyhow, I NEVER say no to a request to stick something on this blog, so I’m passing it on. Aspirant documentary producers could find this a great opportunity.


Interdoc, the training lab on international finance which helped Geoffrey Smith fund The English Surgeon (winner at Hotdocs and Silverdocs), is now taking applications for the 2008 edition.

Interdoc helps 12 ambitious producers with a feature doc in development strategise their finance plans, increasing their chances of successfully funding their documentaries.

The programme takes place over 8 days (2 x 4 days) in Edinburgh in September and October 2008 and is run by Initialize Films and Scottish Documentary Institute.

This is a very exciting opportunity for all Documentary makers based in the UK and we were hoping that you would be able to include some promotional material for this in your next newsletter.

The deadline for applications is the 1st of August so it would be fantastic if anything could go out in the next few days.

Many thanks for your help, its greatly appreciated.



Scottish Documentary Institute

ECA, 74 Lauriston Place



Tel: 01312216116

Couldn’t think how to illustrate this, so above is a still from Ida Lupino’s THE TROUBLE WITH ANGELS. Scary, isn’t it? The Japanese say that if you see a ghost like that, partially occluded, it means the person concerned still has unfinished business on earth.

Whereas if you see a live person like that in a Hayley Mills movie, it just means I’ve pressed PAUSE as they’re coming through a door.

Coffin nails

Posted in FILM with tags , , , , on May 28, 2008 by dcairns

Hayley Mills smokes with considerable panache! Not surprising, as she has been TAUGHT BY A MASTER — the film, THE TROUBLE WITH ANGELS, is directed by Ida Lupino, one of those classic ’40s starlets who appear anatomically incomplete without a fag drooping from the corner of the mouth.

Lupino’s forehead bulges due to nicotine deprivation.

THE TROUBLE WITH ANGELS is a largely oestrogen-fuelled flick: Lupino directs, from a script by TV writer Blanche Hanalis, based on a novel by Jane Trahey, starring a bunch of schoolgirls and a bunch of nuns, driven by Rosalind Russell. Fiona found it “weird” — it’s not quite a regular kids’ film (that smoking!) and it doesn’t have a plot, it just follows some girls through three years of schooling.

Lupino directs smoothly, with some very nice match cuts and sound segues to take us across the temporal jumps of the story, and some nicely stylised colour — at the old folks home, ALL the old dears are in purple and lavender. For a long time, Lupino was the only female member of the Director’s Guild, after Dorothy Arzner quit the business to teach.

Ultimately, this movie’s a slightly sickening ad for the Catholic church, a sinister organisation, I feel. I was horrified at the idea of Hayley Mills marrying Christ at the end. Isn’t the difference in their ages a bit much?

But what got me thinking was the smoking. We look at old ads and see all this propaganda for smoking as a healthy past-time — “The smoke doctors recommend!” and all that. So it seems there was a time, not so long ago, when the truth about smoking’s deleterious effects was not universally accepted. A time when Fred Flintstone could shill for Winston Filter Cigarettes and nobody thought the worse of him for it. What the hell, he’s a caveman, cut him some slack.

But kids were never allowed to smoke. If it’s so damn healthy, why not? It’s obvious that adults always knew that the smokes were a harmful vice, deep down, like swearing and drinking and other things adults are basically allowed to do under controlled circumstances, but which are verboten for the kinder. One more little hypocrisy for the kids to take note of as they learn about the world…