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, 22 February 2015

Say Hello To Yesterday, 1970

Say hello also to tedium and annoyance as this twee 1970 'romance' unfolds ..... I intially thought I would not mention it, but I have covered some other 1970 Trash Classics here, like GOODBYE GEMINI and DORIAN GRAY (see 1970 label), and its a fitting companion piece in that cinematic junkyard - its a fascinating era really as the British Cinema deteriorated into tat after those great decades of the 1940s and 1960s, and the 1950s were not too bad either!

Lets look at the blurb for this effort:
One of the most under-rated British films that was produced between the end of the swinging sixties and the beginning of the hippie seventies. Leonard Whiting plays a young dreamer who is trapped in a working class existance: living in a council house with a father who has no  horizon higher than working in the local factory. Jean Simmons is the mature woman living in a leafy Surrey house with her stockbroker husband and two children, but is desperately unhappy with her life.
When the two unlikely lovers meet on a train to London, Whiting begins his charm offensive of the older woman across London's 1970s landscape. this is one of the most insightful films to deal with the thrill and inevitable puncturing of the balloon that signifies the love affair between these two unikely protatonists. Directed and co-written by Alvin Rakoff, music by Riz Ortolani. 

It is always nice to see Jean Simmons and she tries her best here in this underwritten role. Whiting is beyond annoying as his "charm offensive" in 1970 looks like sexual harrassment and he would be arrested these days as he keeps bothering her on the train full of stuffy commuters. And the horror - his family live in a council house! where his salt-of-the-earth dear old Mum (Constance Chapman) slips him a fiver as he heads off to Cobham station where Jean is boarding the first class compartment.  Our leads have no names here, they are listed as just Woman and Boy. He finally wears her down and yes they end up in bed but not for long. She flees back to her Surrey estate and he is left with those balloons which can signify whatever one wants .... Evelyn Laye appears as her wise mother. If Jean is the older woman here, then her mother must be ancient! 
There was a vogue for older woman/younger man romances, like the play and film of FORTY CARATS which was rather amusing, as per my review (Liv Ullmann label), but that was a well-written Broadway play. This suffers by comparison. Whiting may have been right for Zeffirelli's ROMEO & JULIET, but seems quite ordinary, if annoying, here. He wears a nice velvet suit of the period, not the same one he wore when I saw him at the BFI later that year. The dvd has a useful interview with Simmons, from sometime in the 80s. 
Thanks to Colin for this Twitter photo of Leonard in San Francisco recently for a showing and Q&A on ROMEO & JULIET in January. 

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