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, 26 May 2013

Bel Ami ? no thanks ....

The Projector has viewed and commented on some of the current leading men over the last few years: Michael Fassbender and SHAME, Ryan Gosling with DRIVE and CRAZY STUPID LOVE, Channing Tatum's THE EAGLE and MAGIC MIKE, plus Colin Firth, McConaughey, the romcom guys and others, all at 2000s label. Now for some of the newer crop .... let's start with Robert Pattinson as BEL AMI, from last year.
Now we like a good costume drama and that era - the Belle Epoque, the Fin de Siecle in 19th century Paris, fascinates - from Oscar Wilde out of jail to Toulouse Lautrec painting at the Moulin Rouge. Oscar's DORIAN GRAY was updated to the trashy '70s in the Helmut Berger version and there was that recent Ben Barnes version in 2009 - both at Trash label - with Dorian re-imagined for the newer TWILIGHT generation .... so it seemed logical that R-Patz should turn up in a new BEL AMI, the 'hero' of Guy De Maupassant's classic novel, first filmed in 1947 with George Sanders (ideal I am sure) and Angela Lansbury for Albert Lewin, director of the 1945 DORIAN GRAY, which gainfully employed Sanders as the perfect Lord Henry Wotton.

Here 23 year old Pattinson is Georges Duroy the penniless ex-soldier loose in Paris, who gets taken up by a now wealthy ex-comrade and finds himself on the ladder to wealth and power, as it is not the men who wield power in high society but their wives, as Paris is awash with money.  He soon learns which knife to use at those grand dinners and also of the corrupt relationships between politicians and journalists which is is able to use to his advantage. Three marvellous actresses play the main women: Uma Thurman, (great to see her again after PULP FICTION and KILL BILL), Christina Ricci (as delightful as she as in the ADDAMS FAMILY films and PAN AM), and Kristin Scott Thomas terrific as ever, who played respectively the intelligent Madeleine, the frivolous Clotilde and the married woman Virginie Rousset, who has to see her daughter marry our cad hero at the climax, where the over-lit Pattinson is photographed as if he is ascending into Heaven. His Duroy seems to be like another vampire on the make as he uses these women, plus that prostitute, to get ahead. It all looks very nice, but Volker Schlondorff did it better in his SWANN IN LOVE in '84 (another must re-see), or Huston with MOULIN ROUGE in '53 or Minnelli with GIGI. Our directors here are the respected theatre directors Declan Donellan and Nick Ormerod. (I wonder how 2 directors operate: do they take turns directing scenes?). who are interviewed along with the ladies on the dvd extras. Not being a TWILIGHT devotee Pattinson is new to me here, he has contined in films but hardly seems the most charistmatic player. 
Soon: Taylor Lautner in ABDUCTION, Tom Hardy in THE DESERTER, Channing Tatum in STEP UP. Then the big guys: Lee Marvin's HELL IN THE PACIFIC and PRIME CUT / Anthony Quinn's LOST COMMAND (re-uniting Alain and Claudia, with Ronet and Segal - as an Algerian!)) and SECRET OF SANTA VITTORIO with Magnani plus THE GREEK TYCOON !

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