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.

Saturday, 28 March 2015

Not so amazing, Grace

The Projector is now screening a new clutch of Trash Classics, and we are starting with the recent GRACE OF MONACO, which sank without a trace here (but now Sky Movies are showing it a lot). Actually it is not even entertaining enough to be a Trash Classic, it is just tepid and bad and gets dull halfway through its 90 minutes so one wants to fast-forward some of it, but it looks plush, a lot of money must have gone into it, but could they not have got a better script or story? It is not a biopic of Grace Kelly at all, but purports to show some fictional events:
The story of former Hollywood star Grace Kelly's crisis of marriage and identity, during a political dispute between Monaco's Prince Rainier III and France's Charles De Gaulle, and a looming French invasion of Monaco in the early 1960s.

It starts promisingly with that road she used to drive with those hairpin bends, and then we see Alfred Hitchcock arriving with a new script for the princess - it is MARNIE of course. It is amusing to see another Hitch impersonation to go with those other recent ones, but the first big mistake is here. We see the date on the screen - December 1961, and Hitch tells Gracie her co-star will be this new Scottish chap who is sensational in a new Cubby Broccoli film, but DR NO did not open until late 1962 - Hitch would hardly have signed Connery in 1961 ... he had not made THE BIRDS by then.

This farrago was widely reviled by and laughed at by critics across the world, it finally limped into London late (Nicole wisely cancelled London publicity tv appearances due to illness). It actually opened the 2014 Cannes Film Festival, no doubt as Monaco was just down the road from them. It is all about as truthful as the 1964 trash masterpiece HARLOW - a movie we love to hate here (Trash label) but that at least was more fun..
Nicole Kidman initially suggests Grace until we see her up close, but playing Grace has not harmed her career, she just keeps on filming, and was fun in PADDINGTON. (we liked her in THE PAPERBOY too). Tim Roth is all wrong as the podgy Rainer, and suggests nothing more than a suburban bank manager, and isn't that Robert Lindsey as Onassis. (bringing to mind Somerset Maugham's comment that Monaco or Monte Carlo was "a sunny place for shady people"). Old reliables like Derek Jacobi turn up as an old queen (sorry, nobleman) to tutor Grace - an Oscar-winning actress - on how to behave like a princess. This is where all credibility goes out the window. Grace gets to make a big speech at the end and we leave her there ,,,,  it all seems to be a simplistic story for those who know nothing about the real Grace Kelly or her career or movies.
We know Grace's marriage was no real fairy tale, she and Rainier were practically leading separate lives and she had a bolthole in Paris she used to visit, before that fatal accident. What we see here is a soapy melodrama - odd that director Olivier Dahan also did LA VIE EN ROSE about Edith Piaf.
GRACE OF MONACO may be a terrific Trash double bill with DIANA (no, I never wanted to see that). The two princesses met several times and oddly both died in strange car accidents ....

Coming Up: Shirley McLaine's excruciating WHAT A WAY TO GO, Ava Gardner's dreadful TAM LIN, Brigitte Bardot's terrible last film IF DON JUAN WAS A WOMAN !
Then: some classy European fare, starting with Jeanne Moreau and Alida Valli as nuns in the 1960 THE CARMELITES, and one of Sophia Loren's last Italian films before Hollywood called, the 1955 THE SIGN OF VENUS.
Plus the recent INTO THE WOODS and FOXCATCHER. We are going to be busy !

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