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.

Sunday, 23 December 2012

A very 1968 christmas - its only 44 years ago

My last year's Christmas post was about that new version of Dickens' GREAT EXPECTATIONS, there has since been a newer version, but we always return to Lean's classic .....
Back in 1968 when I was 22 [it was my hippie summer of love, left - in my hipster jeans and bell and beads, taking acid with my hippie friends at 2001 A SPACE ODYSSEY, seeing The Doors and Jefferson Airplane at The Roundhouse, along with The Who, Traffic, Aretha Franklin etc], Carol Reed's film of Lionel Bart's musical OLIVER seemed a curiously old fashioned film then in the year of 2001 and those hip movies of the time, but it has grown in stature over the years and is a genuine Christmas classic too now. There is so much to like in it, it looks terrific of course, marvellous cast, those well-drilled dancing kids and again some terrific musical sequences. Oliver Reed too is a very fearsome Bill Sykes, as directed by his uncle Carol Reed.
THE LION IN WINTER, also 1968, was a marvellous treat then, it cemented Katharine Hepburn's return to movies, great period detail with all those dark ages castles. Its a witty script of course from the play, and very well directed by Anthony Harvey. I liked the faux medieval score too by John Barry. O'Toole is in his element and the young cast excel: Jane Merrow whom I liked and had met, Timothy Dalton (I had seen him up close in a stage play at London's Royal Court, where he was one of the most magnetic actors I had seen, plus Hopkins and John Castle.  It was magical seeing it on the big screen at the Odeon Haymarket, particularly when Kate's boat sails down the river and her later in-fighting with husband O'Toole and those unruly sons. If Eleanor of Aquitaine was not really like this then she should have been.
Kate of course is in her element - Pauline Kael though did not like her at all here, as per her caustic review in "Going Steady", where she said Hepburn had become "sweet and lovable ... like Helen Hayes". It remains a great Christmas movie though. 

After Christmas: films of the year, headed by AMOUR. Maggie Smith back in cinemas in QUARTET and on television in the latest DOWNTON ABBEY Christmas Special, but I have 2 other Maggies to review: her other QUARTET for James Ivory in 1981 with Alan Bates and Isabelle Adjani; and a BBC production of MEMENTO MORI directed by Jack Clayton in 1992, which like MISS BRODIE, is from a tale by Muriel Spark. Happy Holidays! 

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