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.

Tuesday, 6 August 2013

Summer fun: high camp

Is there anything camper than those lush Agatha Christie adaptations, starting with 1974's all-star MURDER ON THE ORIENT EXPRESS, as directed by Sidney Lumet. Its spot the stars here (Ingrid Bergman is particularly droll as the rather dim Swedish missionary, and Wendy Hiller a splendid Princess Dragomiroff) ... its a bit overlong and turgid though, as to a degree is DEATH ON THE NILE in '78 though the double act of Bette Davis and Maggie Smith keeps one amused, and Angela Lansbury chewing the scenery as novelist Salome Otterbourne! Mia Farrow is terrific here too, one of the few times I like her. 
The campest of all though has to be 1982's EVIL UNDER THE SUN with Dames Maggie Smith and Diana Rigg both at the top of their form. Its marvellous seeing Maggie in her prime here, and Diana's superbitch Arlena is a wow too, particularly when she wows us with Cole Porter's "You're the Top" as she vamps Nicholas Clay, 
who runs around a lot in those swim-trunks .... his mousey wife Jane Birkin makes a stunning transformation for the climax, while Roddy McDowell essays a vicious queen, and its nice to see old-timers James Mason and Sylvia Miles having a paid vacation in the sun. Marvellous Dennis Quilley is also to hand; its a terrific setting in the Med as well - what's not to love? Ustinov and Niven amuse too, though Albert Finney is just all wrong as the ORIENT EXPRESS Hercule.
THE MIRROR CRACKED in 1980 is the least of them, though generated a lot of publicity at the time, with the teaming of '50s legends Elizabeth Taylor and Kim Novak, both bitching marvellously together. Rock Hudson and Tony Curtis are sadly aged here, and Angela Lansbury is a rather odd Miss Marple ... the English village is nicely depicted, and splendid Margaret Courtenay is ideal as Dolly Bantry, while Elizabeth seems to be chanelling The Queen Mother. These Christies are ideal summer re-views, and are always on show at Christmas and the like. A box of chocolates to hand is also essential for viewing these delirious concoctions. 

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