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.

Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Fright night

English writer and comedian (he co-wrote the recent SHERLOCK series) Mark Gatiss did a splendid programme on European horror movies last night, just in time for Holloween (he also did one on American and British horror a few years ago, interviewing survivors from the '30s Horror films and the '50s Hammer movies...). He began last night by interviewing Belgian director Harry Kumel in the hotel in Ostend, where Kumel filmed DAUGHTERS OF DARKNESS in 1971, that very individual movie we liked so much then .... then on to Nosferatu's castle for a look at the silent classics like NOSFERATU and CABINET OF DR CALIGARI and German expressionism, it was on to Paris to meet Edith Scob from Franju's EYES WITHOUT A FACE (review at Horror label), and then to Italy to meet Dario Argento and the grand-son of Mario Bava, and a look at those Italian giallo films. In all fascinating stuff .... I am not a horror afficianado as such, but can appreciate a good horror film, I don't bother though with the slasher stuff or torture porn ....

Back though to DAUGHTERS OF DARKNESS, where Delphine Seyrig at her very slinkiest and channelling Dietrich is that vampire countess .... as Mark Gatiss says:  "It's a real work of art, I think. A strange, stylish cocktail of ingredients; 1970s chic rubs up against the silent classics. Delphine Seyrig as the mysterious lesbian countess is sensational."  Or as London listings magazine Time Out put it:  "Belgian filmmaker Kümel’s polymorphously perverse vampire movie may be a triumph of slinky, shimmering style over thematic substance, but what style. Amidst the out-of-season splendour of a 1930s seaside hotel, unhappily married newly-weds Stefan (Karlen) and Valerie (Ouimet) fall under the seductive spell of Countess Elisabeth Bathory (Seyrig) and her sullen, sultry companion Ilone (Rau). The Countess’s sequinned sartorial elegance recalls Marlene Dietrich, and the hotel concierge is convinced that she was a guest at the hotel forty years before. There are no fangs, garlic flowers or other vampire movie paraphernalia, only tales of sadistic cruelty and a highly eroticised thirst for blood. Deliciously, deliriously decadent." 

Loosely based on the real life exploits of the infamous Countess Bathory, DAUGHTERS OF DARKNESS is a stylish if strained attempt at an arty, classy horror film. The ingredients are in place for an exploitation romp, but director Harry Kümel is more concerned with maintaining a glossy sheen than he is in indulging in anything too distasteful. It's plain to see that Seyrig modeled her appearance and demeanor on Marlene Dietrich, but her vamping stops short of outright camp. 
It has some nice touches, like the old waiter who remembers the Countess from her visit 40 years previously, just as young and glamorous as she is now .... and then there is "mother" on the phone to our errant husband (a Jean Sorel clone) who has yet to be introduced to his bride ...  It all certainly bears looking at again. Seyrig is as delicious here as she is in Demy's PEAU D'ANE (French label) as the Lilac Fairy Grandmother .... we have several other Seyrig movies to see too before too long .... (Kumel's bizarre MALPERTUIS with Matthieu Carriere (below left) and Orson Welles (below right) and polyglot cast  in 1971 was a fascinating experience too then).  

Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Glamour with a capital G

I posted some pictures a while back (Showpeople label) showing Julie Christie, Catherine Deneuve and Ursula Andress at some mid 60s movie premiere all looking terribly glamorous as they compared notes on their outfits and long white gloves (right) ..... it turned out to be the Royal Command Film Performance in 1966, when they were presented to The Queen. (How did they get into and out of those gloves...?)

Here is another interesting shot from that evening's lineup: Leslie Caron and Warren Beatty were there as well - Julie is next to Leslie who is with her beau Warren, with Deneuve next to him, and then Christopher Lee and Ursula .... of course by 1970 it was Warren and Julie who were THE glam couple with McCABE & MRS MILLER .... (by 1966 here DARLING, DR ZHIVAGO and REPULSION had been released, Beatty must have been in seventh heaven with all these dishy dames/groovy birds around ....)

Monday, 29 October 2012

Shiny toys

Its just arrived - the Joni Mitchell boxset of her first 10 albums, covering 1968 to 1979. As I mentioned in my previous post on it, I already had these albums in both vinyl and cd, and have now bought them a third time (good marketing PR!) but they are ideal in these small CD size gatefolds with the original artwork, plus I have them all in one place and can now enjoy them all over again (the box will look nice displayed), and its a very good price. This should surely bring in some new Joni converts and remind others of how great she is. Some of these are over 40 years old and show how timeless Joni's words and music are, transcending pop trends, and they show her voyage from shrill folk to laid-back jazz ...

Can we now have another box of her following 10 from the 80s to the 2000s ? : WILD THINGS RUN FAST, DOG EAT DOG, CHALK MARKS IN A RAINSTORM, NIGHT RIDE HOME, TURBULENT INDIGO, TAMING THE TIGER, 2000's BOTH SIDES NOW and her last studio album SHINE from 2007, plus the two live ones: 1975's MILES OF AISLES and 1980's SHADOWS AND LIGHT.  There's also that TRAVELOGUE where she re-records some of her classics with a orchestra in 2002 ....
"Shiny Toys" is a song with very apt lyrics (just as we started buying CDs all the time) on Joni's 1985 DOG EAT DOG album. ("I'm reading people rags in the checkout lane, Look, here's a hunk here's a honey, Celebrated people and their claims to fame....")
Above: Joni and Neil Young at the Grammy awards in 2012 - great to see these Canadian legends together, I like so much of Neil's too, from HARVEST and AFTER THE GOLDRUSH on .... they have come a long way since playing those Toronto coffee houses in the mid and late '60s ...

Also out today, boy the postman was busy, is the 5 disk BBC set of the LONDON 2012 OLYMPIC GAMES - now we can relive those bonkers opening and closing ceremonies again and all those best bits ..... bring them on, 

while we wait for some new interesting movies to open, following the London Film Festival: I am particularly looking forward to Haneke's AMOUR with Trintignant and Riva, both in their 80s, and Marion Cotillard after those rave notices for RUST AND BONE ... and then of course there's SKYFALL

Sunday, 28 October 2012

'60s comedy: The Loved One / Lord Love A Duck

Finally, Tony Richardsons's THE LOVED ONE - MGM's 1965 comedy "with something to offend everyone" that I never caught until now and I saw it on a Spanish dvd with Spanish sub-titles I could not remove. Fascinating stuff though - it may have opened briefly here in London at the time (it was reviewed in "Films & Filming" magazine) and then shoved out on release for a week,. but I somehow never saw it and it has never surfaced since as it seems MGM either forgot about it or locked it away.

Newly arrived in Hollywood from England, Dennis Barlow finds he has to arrange his uncle's interment at the highly-organised and very profitable Whispering Glades funeral parlour. His fancy is caught by one of their cosmeticians, Aimee Thanatogenos. But he has three problems - the strict rules of owner Blessed Reverand Glenworthy, the rivalry of embalmer Mr Joyboy, and the shame of now working himself at The Happy Hunting Ground pets' memorial home.

Richardson after the "kitchen sink" dramatics of LOOK BACK IN ANGER, A TASTE OF HONEY, THE LONELINESS OF THE LONG DISTANCE RUNNER had that enormous success with TOM JONES in 1963 which (as per my previous post on him - that book on the Redgraves, Trash label, and the "Hollywood UK" tv series, TV label) gave him carte blanche for his next films. THE LOVED ONE has an impeccible pedigree: a Martin Ransohoff production, from Evelyn Waugh's novel satirising the American way of death, scripted by Terry Southern and Christopher Isherwood. Richardson, who despite being married to Vanessa Redgrave, was also gay or bi, juices it up with a great cast of cameos:
James Coburn, Roddy McDowell, Margaret Leighton, Dana Andrews, Tab Hunter as tour guide, Liberace as a casket salesman. We follow naive Englishman Robert Morse arriving in L A and staying with his actor uncle, John Gielgud (quietly hilarious), who is part of the English colony. We also get Robert Morley, Jonathan Winters in 2 roles and Rod Steiger does another outrageous turn as chief embalmer Mr Joyboy, looking after his grotesque elderly mother. Anjanette Comer is startlingly odd as the love intererst, the first lady embalmer with her unfinished home in 'the slide area'. If you are disturbed or offended by the funeral business, death in general, dead pets, or slightly veiled hints at necrophilia then you might want to give this one a miss. It is though a fascinating oddity now, and probably ahead of its time, as black comedy is much more acceptable now.

LORD LOVE A DUCK, 1966 - where writer George Axelrod treats one social sacred cow after another with amused disdain, skewering religion, motherhood, education, and matrimony, in gleaming monochrome images. Axelrod of course wrote plays like THE SEVEN YEAR ITCH and WILL SUCCESS SPOIL ROCK HUNTER, as well as scripting THE MANCHURIAN CANDIDATE and BREAKFAST AT TIFFANYS, HOW TO MURDER YOUR WIFE among others, LORD LOVE A DUCK is his first as  director. Another under-rated '60s comedy then, this 1966 production was treated as a second feature here in the UK and also vanished without trace. I remember "Sight & Sound" raving about it though, particularly that scene where Tuesday Weld gets her father to buy her all those cashmere sweaters, its dizzylingly funny as she recites the names of the colours: 'Peach Put-On', 'Periwinkle Pussycat' etc, its a scene most actresses of her era just could not carry off . The following commentators describe it much better than I can:

Andrew Sarris in "The Village Voice" said:
"Tuesday Weld is Nabokov’s grown-up nymphet come to life in a cavalcade of cashmere sweaters, and closer to Nabokov’s original conception that Sue Lyon could ever be".

John Landis
"George Axelrod’s unclassifiable satire is one of the oddest Hollywood movies, which over the years has engendered passionate support and derision. For some it’s an incisively bizarre portrait of sixties America, for others it’s a sloppily made, undisciplined mess (with more boom mikes visible in full frame than even Play It Again Sam). However, nothing can dim the luster of the incredibly perverse scene where Tuesday Weld’s horny dad (Max Showalter) practically ejaculates while watching his sexy daughter try on sweaters."

Geoff Andrew (London):
"Axelrod’s patchy but often brilliant first attempt at direction: a kooky fantasy, very funny in its satire of contemporary teen morals and mores. McDowall plays a high school student of enormous IQ and fabulous powers, which he exercises in order to grant a pretty co-ed (Weld) her every heart’s desire, starting with the thirteen cashmere sweaters she requires to join an exclusive sorority, and ending with a husband whom he obligingly murders to leave her free to realise her true dream of movie stardom. Whereupon, realising he did it all for love, he ends up in the booby-hatch, happily dictating his memoirs. Taking in some delicious side-swipes at the ‘Beach Blanket’ cycle, Axelrod reveals much the same penchant (and talent) for cartoon-style sight gags as Tashlin, and coaxes a marvellous trio of variations on the American female from Tuesday Weld, Lola Albright and Ruth Gordon. Daniel Fapp’s stunningly cool, clear monochrome camerawork is also a distinct plus."
and Pauline Kael:
"This satire on teenage culture, modern education, psychoanalysis, and what have you was the best American comedy of its year, and yet it’s mostly terrible. The picture is bright and inventive, but it’s also a hate letter to America that selects the easiest, most grotesque targets and keeps screaming at us to enjoy how funny-awful everything is. Finally we’re preached at for our tiny minds and our family spray deodorants. Tuesday Weld has a wonderful blank, childlike quality as a Los Angeles high-school student who lusts after cashmere sweaters and wants everybody to love her. The director, George Axelrod, drew upon the novel Candy, which he beat to the movie post, as well as WHAT’S NEW, PUSSYCAT? and the Richard Lester movies; there is eating à la TOM JONES and there are other tidbits from all over, even from NIGHTS OF CABIRIA. Roddy McDowall plays a genie; Lola Albright is spectacularly effective as Tuesday’s cocktail-waitress mother; and Ruth Gordon does her special brand of dementia."

Quite a zany mid-60s double feature then - Tuesday is delightful and Lola Albright and Ruth Gordon are indeed formidable - and Martin West (above) as Tuesday's husband Roddy keeps trying to bump off, is eye-catching too. 

Friday, 26 October 2012

'50s comedy: Artists and Models (1955)

I just missed Martin & Lewis when I was growing up, but dutifully saw some of the solo Jerry Lewis movies, which I have not seen since. I had been meaning to give ARTISTS AND MODELS a go - but here's the thing: I can't stand Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis together! - and I not a great fan of kooky McLaine either so I ended up watching most of this on fast-forward and even then it was a pain! So maybe I should not bother saying any more about it ....
Dean Martin plays an artist named Rick Todd and Jerry Lewis is his room-mate Eugene Fullstack. Eugene happens to be obsessed with comic books and has very bad dreams because of those. Rick gets an idea to make a comic book from Eugene's dreams. In the same building there lives Abigail Parker (Dorothy Malone), who's the author of Eugene's favorite comic book The Bat Lady and her room-mate model Bessie Sparrowbrush (Shirley MacLaine) who poses as The Bat Lady. Rick likes Abby and Bessie likes Eugene, so after some too-tiresome-to-go-into routines, both sets of room-mates get together and swop partners. Phew!
On the plus side, Anita Ekberg has a few moments and Dorothy Malone is as ever absolutely splendid. The boys though seem a bit old to be still room-mates sharing a bedroom - at least they do not share a bed like Laurel & Hardy!

The saving grace here though is that it is a Frank Tashlin picture, he co-wrote and directed it. Tashlin was a cartoonist with a great visual eye for a joke and there are several goodies here, like the amusing scene with the water cooler. Lewis though seems to be retarded throughout - which presumably was funny for '50s audiences, but for me as with Danny Kaye (and Roberto Begnini) you either love or hate him, and its the latter for me. The French adored Lewis and elevated him to genius level .... well, thats the French for you.
This one and presumably their last HOLLYWOOD OR BUST are the '50s in aspic, as is Tashlin's next one, THE GIRL CAN'T HELP IT (below) in '56 where he comes into his own. This one for me is a '50s masterpiece, not only for Jayne Mansfield, but all the gags about rock and roll and the great artists featured. That one I can watch any time, and Tashlin's next one also with Jayne: WILL SUCCESS SPOIL ROCK HUNTER? in 1957. He also did a good early 60s one I remember fondly: BACHELOR FLAT with Terry Thomas and the unique Tuesday Weld. But back to Martin & Lewis: they have several long scenes here which I simply find painfully unfunny even on fast-forward .... but thats comedy: we all have our own likes and dislikes .... after this though I have no more interest in Martin & Lewis.

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

'50s noirs: 5 Against The House / Underworld USA

Those American crime movies always conjures up images from those '40s classic noirs, but the '50s also saw a lot of snappy crime movies, often programmers or supporting features. Some studios like Columbia turned out some nifty ones like THE BROTHERS RICO, JOE MACBETH or THE BIG COMBO. I have now got a batch of Sam Fuller and Phil Karlson thrillers from the mid-50s, so let's dip a toe in some ...

5 AGAINST THE HOUSE is a neat 1955 meller, 84 minutes, with an interesting cast of 4 rather mature university students (they are Korean veterans going to college on the G.I. Bill, which explains their age), so we have the leader Guy Madison, the loopy one Brian Keith, excellent as usual as he goes quietly mad, the clever one Kerwin Mathews in one of his first roles, and the annoying one Alvy Moore and his constant wisecracks ... add in Kim Novak as 'the girl' - its one of Kim's first roles and she croons a few torch songs (presumably dubbed) and looks terrific as usual. 
Our gang are visiting Reno and the gambling casinos and after seeing a failed robbery and overhearing that the casino cannot be raided our clever one Kerwin comes up with an idea .... the others go along with it as a joke and plan to return the money, but Brian Keith is deadly serious .... the movie ambles along nicely and suddenly gets tense and exciting as the plan is put into action and casino guard William Conrad has to play along .... there is the usual tense showdown and it ends nicely as one would expect.
Karlson keeps it moving, Stirling Silliphant scripts but the good-looking cast is the thing here. Madison (1922-1996) had a good run in westerns (his 1954 THE COMMAND was one of the first I saw as a kid), he made a good one too with Jean Simmons HILDA CRANE (see Madison label); Kerwin was an easy on the eye looker who forged a good career in fantasy films: THE 7TH VOYAGE OF SINBAD, GULLIVER'S TRAVELS, PIRATES OF BLOOD RIVER etc, he also played French secret agent OSS 117 - when he died aged 81 in 2007 it turned out he had a male partner for over 40 years .... Brian Keith of course excelled in lots of films from westerns to Disney's original THE PARENT TRAP. Kim went on to her great era in the 50s - there was interesting magazine interview with her the other week, at 79 - a true Hollywood survivor.
Kerwin Mathews
Karlson (1908-1985) was one of those guys like Don Siegel, who came into the studio system just before television. Early live TV produced directors like John Frankenheimer and Arthur Penn but there were already the guys like Siegel and Karlson, who got the chance to direct because they could do it quick and cheap and keep it snappy, like those William Wellmann pre-code movies in the 1930s. Other Karlsons I have to view soon are THE PHENIX CITY STORY, TIGHT SPOT and 99 RIVER STREET, he also directed Elvis in KID GALAHAD, a good Jeffrey Hunter war drama HELL TO ETERNITY and a few of those Dean Martin Matt Helm '60s capers. 5 AGAINST THE HOUSE may well have inspired the original OCEANS 11 caper ...

UNDERWORLD USA, 1961 "written, produced and directed by Samuel Fuller" is as gripping a thriller as I remembered from seeing it at the time, when I was an early teen. It is a very vivid revenge tale, starting with 14 year old Tolly Devlin witnessing his father being killed and he swears revenge on the 4 hoods responsible. He grows up to be tearaway career criminal Cliff Robertson, a great early role for him, who cleverly gets his ambition but pays the ultimate price in a sizzling operatic climax which Fuller orchestrates perfectly as the hoods are now a mob syndicate which he infiltrates.
Fuller was one of those mavericks who created great genre movies like PICKUP ON SOUTH STREET, a real joy to discover last year, plus a Stanwyck western 40 GUNS, and classics like SHOCK CORRIDOR and THE NAKED KISS and his last success THE BIG RED ONE. Robertson, who died last year, is just right here, with Dolores Dorn as the moll who can spill the beans on the syndicate, and Beatrice Kay - a tougher Thelma Ritter - as the broad who looked after the young Tolly. Ideally she and Dorn are on the cover of that great 60s' 'Movie' paperback "Broads" (below) which covers a huge selection of shady ladies ... good to see this again, now for some more Fuller's: THE CRIMSON KIMONO, VERBOTEN... 
Rust and mobster

UNDERWORLD USA remains a tough, violent, amusing in parts noir as Robertson delights in torturing his victims and then there is Richard Rust, one of cinema's great killers who puts on his sunglasses before carrying out his assignments, even cold-heartedly dispatching a victim's young daughter ... he is similarly icy in 1962's great trash classic WALK ON THE WILD SIDE ....

Monday, 22 October 2012

Nothing but the best in 1964

"Let's face it. It's a rotten, stinking world. But there are some smashing things in it - and I want them!" so says our anti-hero we end up rooting for in NOTHING BUT THE BEST, a splendid satirical comedy that is seldom seen now, from 1964 just as London started to Swing. This is a delicious black comedy that is a treat to see again now, as directed by Clive Donner, photographed by Nicolas Roeg and scripted by Frederic Raphael - he went on to script DARLING and TWO FOR THE ROAD next. This is another key British '60s movie then, and should be as well known as ALFIE. Our amoral hero here is Jimmy Brewster who is another Joe Lampton from ROOM AT THE TOP.

Instead of North of England black and white angst, here we are among the movers and shakers in London as humble clerk Jimmy (Alan Bates in as key role for him as his lead in A KIND OF LOVING) works at the offices of property tycoon Harry Andrews, whose high class daughter Millicent Martin (then the star of the weekly satire show THAT WAS THE WEEK THAT WAS) visits regularly. Millie and Alan appraise each other .... Jimmy though soon meets down and out toff Charles Pierce (Denholm Elliot in the role that re-established him) and soon realises how (in return for room and board) he can use Pierce to teach him how to improve his social standing: how to dress, talk and act like a proper upper-class chap able to socialize with the ruling classes and thus climb the ladder of success to become one of them. Jimmy is a willing pupil as he covers up his working class tracks, ultimately sending his unsuspecting parents off on an assisted-passage trip to Australia, leaving him free to pursue the boss's daughter and improve his standing at the company, as he gets rival James Villiers out of the picture.
There is also that very obliging landlady (Pauline Delaney - that marvellous Irish actress who had a similar role in YOUNG CASSIDY) who also sees how she can improve her lot.  Denholm comes into money and begins to realise how Jimmy is using him, even wearing his good clothes and ties which he wants back. So we have a shocking sudden murder leaving Jimmy free to move ahead, the landlady too plays her part in disposing of the body, as long as she gets a regular visit from our rising young man about town. 
This is deliciously played out with many amusing scenes and the large cast including Andrews and Allison Legatt as Jimmy's deluded mother are all just right. Can Jimmy though get away with it? There is a nice twist and Jimmy realises his new wife is on to him but she does not mind, as she knows what a go-getter he is. Like Joe Lampton he too has arrived at the top of the heap but unlike Joe he is determined to enjoy it - and so will audencies for this nice slice of London as the '60s were taking off. 
Clive Donner, who died in 2010 aged 84, seems one of the under-rated '60s directors now, he went on to the success of WHATS NEW PUSSYCAT? next, a favourite that defines the '60s for me, as does his HERE WE GO ROUND THE MULBERRY BUSH, his hippie take on ALFRED THE GREAT is an interesting late '60s costumer with both David Hemmings and Michael York at their best.

A foggy day ...

in Greater London ... 
"Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness"? How quickly we have gone from that ideal late summer of Olympic success into autumn in what seems like a few weeks ... now its a foggy overcast day with all the trees around here changing colour and shedding their leaves - the clocks go back an hour too this coming weekend so it will be dark by 4pm ! Better start making Christmas plans then .... as another year whizzes by.

Friday, 19 October 2012


Glenn as Albert, Janet as Hubert / Dominic as Uday and his double ...

Albert Nobbs struggles to survive in late 19th century Ireland, where women aren't encouraged to be independent. Posing as a man, so she can work as a butler in Dublin's most posh hotel, Albert meets a handsome painter and looks to escape the lie she has been living. 

At first glance, ALBERT NOBBS could seem to be another dry and stuffy period piece (REMAINS OF THE DAY comes to mind), it ends up though being a surprisingly effective and strong character drama focused mainly on Albert, a woman masquerading as a man and actress Glenn Close delves into the role with such complete detail that she truly does disappear - she had already played the role on stage 30 years ago. Ireland in the 19th century is nicely depicted too, at Morrison's Hotel presided over by an almost unrecognisable Pauline Collins - who certainly gets her wish at the end to redecorate!

Albert lives a totally solitary life, keeping his secret to himself, it may seem odd at first seeing Glenn here as a man but we soon get used to her/him and the others treating him as a man (something Streisand did not quite achieve in YENTL). It may be the most powerful, emotional drama about longing for acceptance and love since BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN and I found it equally gripping and wanting Albert to achieve what he/she desires - his own tobacco shop and a wife to share it with, after he comes under the influence of the painter hired to paint a room at the hotel and who must share Albert's bed for the night. He, Hubert Page, turns out to be a woman too - and passes as a man quite successfully. Janet McTeer is absolutely mesmerising here. Women it seems had such a raw deal back then that it was preferable to spend one's life as a man rather than be a hotel maid or skivvy in the kitchen. Hubert though has a wife - and befriends the lonely Albert who becomes fascinated by them and dreams that he too could have such a happy domestic life ...
We worry for Albert as we fear he may lose his hoard of money hidden under the floor-boards as he falls prey to the schemes of new handyman Aaron Johnson who is encouraging the rather silly maid Mia Wasikowska to accept Albert's timid advances ... but the story does not pan out as one expects. There is a kind of grace for Albert at the end ..... after the typhoid outbreak and other dramatic turns.

Glenn and Janet
I like Glenn Close a lot and this is her best role since DANGEROUS LIAISONS, or her Patty Hewes on tv (DAMAGES). As it turned out her supposed rival Meryl got the Best Actress for her cartoon Mrs Thatcher - but Glenn is superlative here, as is McTeer and the splendid supporting cast including Pauline Collins and Brendan Gleeson as the kindly doctor, plus Jonathan Rhys Meyers and Maria Doyle Kennedy. This is the kind of movie that affects one for hours afterwards as the characters linger and its nice slow pacing slowly draws one in. It is masterly directed by Rodrigo Garcia, and among the script-writers are Glenn and Irish writer John Banville, from a story by Istvan Szabo. We get so used to Glenn and Janet as men that it is a shock to see them in that one scene dressed as women ..... I am glad I saved ALBERT NOBBS till now, and it is a film I shall return to ... watching it is like savouring a good book one does not want to finish.

Also underrated is THE DEVIL'S DOUBLE from 2011, Lee Tamahori's fascinating drama about that man who became the double of Uday Hussein in Iraq .... this also has a fantastic leading double performance by Dominic Cooper as both the insane brute Uday and Latif, the soldier compelled to be his body double.
Baghdad, the playground for the rich and infamous, where anything can be bought - but for a price. This is Uday Hussein's world and with his depraved lust for debauchery and immorality, he helps himself to whatever turns him on. When army lieutenant Latif Yahia is summoned to Saddam's palace, he is faced with an impossible request - to be Uday's double, or have his family condemned to death. In a world entrenched in betrayal and corruption, knowing who to trust becomes a matter of life or death for Latif, as he battles to escape from his forced existence.
The film depicts Iraq at the time of the Gulf War as a world filled with rape, torture, murder, drugs, sex and money as everyone is terrified of the Saddam family and their henchmen. 

Dominic Cooper from THE HISTORY BOYS and fluff like MAMMA MIA! comes into his own here - when he is on screen as both Uday and Latif it is like watching two different people. Latif has to suffer to ensure his impersonation is correct - his teeth and body have to be altered, luckily Uday was joking about altering his penis size! ... and he is soon horrified by the brutality and corruption around him, as Uday's pursuit of women extends to following schoolgirls or taking a newly-married wife at her wedding reception.
Uday though sees his body double as something he owns and wants to keep with him or take his place when he cannot be bothered to appear in public or may be in danger. The film is exciting and tense as Latif tries to escape and keep his family safe. It should have done a lot better, perhaps it was perceived as being downmarket or exploitative? Whatever - it is a gripping drama with a great central pair of performances from Cooper which should have been acknowledged more. With Ludivine Sagnier - it is an exciting intense drama which reflects a lot of the reality of the time and the place.