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.

Monday, 21 September 2015

A new go-between

THE GO-BETWEEN, 2015: Yes, it begins with that famous first line: "The past is a foreign country, they do things differently there" .... as the older Leo Colston (Jack Broadbent) returns to Norfolk 50 years after that fateful summer he spent there in 1900 as guest of the wealthy Maudsley family as 12-year old Leo is a school friend of their son. This of course is the famous L.P.Hartley novel originally filmed by Joseph Losey in 1971 - it was an award winner at Cannes, with a razor-sharp script by Harold Pinter and a score by Michel Legrand, as Losey and Pinter dissect once again the British class system. 
It is also a ravishing period piece, with Julie Christie as Marian, the wilful daughter of the family having a clandestine relationship with tenant farmer Ted Burgess (Alan Bates). Margaret Leighton is marvellous as her mother who is determined her daughter shall marry Lord Trimingham - Edward Fox. Young Leo, too infatuated with Marian to realise how shallow and manipulative she is,  soon gets caught up in their deceit as he becomes their go-between, carrying message back and forth .... It all comes to grief before too long, it seems everyone knows what is going on but it cannot be mentioned until the cold mother has had enough.  Left: Dominic Guard as Leo and Julie Christie as Marian in 1971.
This new BBC version looks great capturing that lazy hazy summer at the end of the Victorian era with croquet on the lawn, tea parties, the toffs playing cricket on the village green against the locals, and the suspicious mother keeping an eye on her daughter .... The new version (directed by Pete Travis and scripted by Adrian Hodges) plays like a retread of the Losey film but with subtle differences - the wealthy family are now portrayed in a more human light.  Young Leo is delightfully played by Jack Hollington, and Ben Batt (more naked swimming) is not quite the equal of Bates, while  Joanna Vanderham is a younger Marian. Above: Margaret Leighton and Lesley Manville as Mrs Maudsley.
Lesley Manville (so good in Mike Leigh's ANOTHER YEAR) is absolutely marvellous as the mother, certainly the equal of Margaret Leighton, and a shrewd piece of casting has Vanessa Redgrave as the older Marian confronting Broadbent - as her father Michael Redgrave played the older Leo in the Losey film, which brings it to a nice conclusion. That final sequence worked better though in the Losey film. In all much better than the BBC's by all accounts tepid and dismal retelling of LADY CHATTERLEY'S LOVER which I did not bother with, all part of their current new versions of classic British literature, and now for the final series of DOWNTON ABBEY. Right: Vanessa Redgrave and Jim Broadbent.


  1. I hope to watch it tonight or tomorrow. Did you see last week's AN INSPECTOR CALLS? I think it was the best single drama of the year so far.

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