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, 26 August 2014

End of summer repeats: Millie, Pulp Fiction, Aviator ...

"In the Ritz elevator you just go up and down"
It seems like the end of summer here in the UK, as we face our second day of incessant rain, washing out a bank holiday yesterday, and much cooler weather - we were moaning about the heatwave the other week, but the nice thing about UK weather is that it changes all the time .... it may be a warm September and late autumn ... meanwhile, those tv repeats keep coming. It was bliss to chillax once again yesterday, with THOROUGHLY MODERN MILLIE
a favourite musical ever since my best friend Stanley and I saw it during its first run, at the old (then new) Odeon in St Martins Lane, London, in 1967 - as per my other reports on it here .... its certainly my favourite Julie Andrews film, I love the look of it, the great pastiche of the 1920s, Julie, Mary Tyler Moore, Bea Lillie as Mrs Meers with all those great lines we loved and repeated all the time ("Just a restless girl", "sad to be all along in the world", "please go, enjoy yourself", "I bet its juicy" etc). and then there is Carol Channing as jazz-baby Muzzy etc. The guys are fun too - John Gavin as Trevor Graydon guying himself and cute young James Fox's Jimmy (now a senior actor here, good to see him last year at the 50th anniversary screening of THE SERVANT - as per my posts on that - Fox label) as he launches the friendship dance into doing "The Tapioca" or in drag to trap white slaver Mrs Meers who thinks he will be alright for "a dark corner of the late shift" ..... George Roy Hill directs it all with a sure touch, its produced by Ross Hunter, and lensed by the great Russell Metty (THE MISFITS etc) and then theres Elmer Bernstein and Andre Previn sorting out the score and the songs ... whats not to love?
All I need to say about PULP FICTION is: was it really 20 years ago it blew us away - still does now, as does INGLORIOUS BASTERDS and KILL BILL .... they repay frequent (or at least annual) re-visits. 
THE AVIATOR, 2004. I liked Scorsese’s Howard Hughes film a lot more now than I did back in 2004. One is bowled over by so many things, not least Cate Blanchett’s vivid cartoon portrayal of Katharine Hepburn – its audacious, but it works (Kate Beckinsale as Ava Gardner certainly doesn’t). Add in Jude Law for a minute or two as Errol Flynn and the film soars, just like Hughes does in his plane as takes Hepburn airborne in his plane and lets her fly it. Scorsese only shows us Hughes from the 1920s to the 1940s, with all that HELLS ANGELS movie-making, with Jean Harlow (Gwen Stefani). Leonardo Di Caprio captures the spendthrift madness of Hughes in his early prime, as he spends, spends and spends more to get his vision on screen. 
Nobody it seems can say no to him, as we watch his staff and companions like Noah Dietrich (John C. Reilly), and later his deadly foes like Alec Baldwin as Juan Trippe, CEO of Pan-American Airways, and Alan Alda as that very devious, corrupt politician. 
The basic facts about Hughes are present and correct, his unstoppable will and inner demons, including that Spruce Goose saga, and having starlets squirreled away all over town, as we see his growing obsession and OCD about health and germs and how he cannot open that washroom door … It is all vivid film-making, as the running time flies by, with Scorsese in his element, and all those fantastic planes and amazing set-pieces, and it has set me up to finally put on THE WOLF OF WALL STREET. It makes one wonder what Scorsese’s proposed Sinatra biopic would be like. 

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