Dedications: My four late friends Rory, Stan, Bryan, Jeff - shine on you crazy diamonds, they would have blogged too. Then theres Garry from Brisbane, Franco in Milan, Mike now in S.F. / my '60s-'80s gang: Ned & Joseph in Ireland; in England: Frank, Des, Guy, Clive, Joe & Joe, Ian, Ivan, Nick, David, Les, Stewart, the 3 Michaels / Catriona, Sally, Monica, Jean, Ella, Anne, Candie / and now: Daryl in N.Y., Jerry, John, Colin, Martin and Donal.

Friday, 29 January 2010

Neglected British '60s movies

I saw this during its brief run in 1966 and then it was never seen again until I got a print (from Australian tv!) recently. Wonderful to see it again, its really a companion piece to 1964's THE GIRL WITH GREEN EYES, also by Edna O'Brien, and another of those little black and white films of the early and mid 60s. This was made in Ireland in 1965 at locations I know (Lahinch and Liscannor in Co Clare) and is a nostalgic look back at London and Ireland back then. Sarah Miles is excellent here in this, her other Irish romance, a world away from the overblown RYAN'S DAUGHTER.

Her Cass is unhappily married in London and goes back to her Irish village, presided over by Cyril Cusack and Marie Kean) with her uncomprehending husband Julian Glover in pursuit. Cass meets up with her old boyfriend fisherman Sean Caffrey and imagines all can be as it used to be, but of course it cannot. Its very lyrical and nostalgic for anyone with an Irish background and I absolutely love it. It captures also the feeling of the newcomer being stranded in the big impersonal city. I like how her London room overlooks the GPO Tower - that new symbol of the swinging 60s (as also seen in SMASHING TIME). Sarah went on to do BLOW-UP next and famously didn't get on with Antonioni which left her dissatisfied with movies and then of course back to Ireland for that long shoot for David Lean's epic.

The '60s English classics (A TASTE OF HONEY, A KIND OF LOVING, BILLY LIAR, DARLING, THE SERVANT, ACCIDENT, THE KNACK etc) are always on view but where are other forgotten long-unseen early 60s titles like WEST 11 (life in Notting Hill, the W11 postcode, with Alfred Lynch, Diana Dors, Freda Jackson, Kathleen Harrison, Finlay Currie etc, by Michael Winner), TWO LEFT FEET (an early Michael Crawford), A PLACE TO GO, (Mike Sarne!) or THE WORLD TEN TIMES OVER (Sylvia Syms and June Ritchie as working girls in Soho)? Michael Winner did some interesting films back then like THE SYSTEM, I'LL NEVER FORGET WHATSISNAME, his THE GAMES would be interesting to see now, with 2012 on the way, featuring Michael Crawford, Ryan O'Neal and Charles Aznavour as athletes! and Stanley Baker as a sadistic coach; and then of course Clive Donner with NOTHING BUT THE BEST, HERE WE GO ROUND THE MULBERRY BUSH, ALFRED THE GREAT as well as the hit WHATS NEW PUSSYCAT; and Desmond Davis with not only the two Edna O'Briens mentioned above, but THE UNCLE and the slapstick SMASHING TIME which is still enormous fun with Rita Tushingham and Lynn Redgrave perfect as Brenda and Yvonne down from the North to Swinging Camden. Groovy baby - especially Anna Quayle's 'Too Much' Boutique!

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