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, 21 June 2015


Some of our favourite fathers, seeing as its Father's Day ....   (for Dad) 

TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD, 1962 - Has there been a more fundamentally decent father than Atticus Finch?, the widower and small-town lawyer expertly played by Gregory Peck, in Robert Mulligan's classic from the perennially loved book by Harper Lee. I loved the book, and then I loved the film ... as we spend time with Scout and Jem and Boo Radley, while Atticus has his day in court, in this Deep South Gothic drama with the spellbinding images. It all works perfectly, particularly that ending as Atticus watches over the children ....

BICYCLE THIEVES, 1948 - In broken post-war Rome, a father struggles to provide for his family. He gets a job sticking posters on walls but his bicycle gets stolen. Father and son scour the city looking for it, and then the unthinkable happens - the father is reduced to stealing a bicycle and gets caught and we see it all through his son's eyes ..... Since its release in 1948 Vittorio Se Sica's masterpiece has come to define the Italian New-Realistic movement, but it is a timeless classic, acted by non-professionals and De Sica finds the humanity in all of them, as we share the father's desperation to provide for the family when the world is conspiring against him. There is that stunning moment when the family sheets are pawned, and the pawnbroker places them on top of a pile of other families' sheets, all waiting to be reclaimed .... (see De Sica label for review).
FINDING NEMO, 2003 - One of Pixar's most enduringly popular animated features which one can enjoy time and time again, as we follow Nemo's worried father (a clown fish voiced by Albert Brooks) who seems to go half way round the planet to find his lost son, the only survivor when his family are destroyed .... Andrew Stanton's film captures the father's helplessness as he wants the best for his offspring and then allowing him to discover whats best for himself, as I suppose all our fathers had to ....

MEET ME IN ST. LOUIS, 1944 - Before the 1904 World Fair in St Louis, the Smith family learn lessons about life and love as they prepare for a reluctant move to New York, as the paterfamilias Mr Smith (Leon Ames) think it is best for them. He had not reckoned though on Tootie and her snowmen, the boy next door, and daughters Esther (Judy Garland) and Rose (Lucille Bremer) and their romantic complications. Add in Marjorie Main's cook and Henry Davenport's grandpa, as well as Mary Astor's perfect mother who will stand by her husband, no matter what, and poor Mr Smith (who vetoes having dinner an hour early so Rose can get her call from her beau in New York without all the family listening) does not stand a chance of moving ..... A Golden Age (and Minnelli) Classic and the ultimate dream factory movie made at that crucial point in the Second World War, when dreadful things were happening in Europe ....

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