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, 1 January 2017
Ethel & Ernest
A late year treat was the BBC's 90 minute animated feature ETHEL & ERNEST, a lovingly crafted portrayal of the marriage and life of Raymond Briggs' parents covering their meeting in 1928 and married life through wartime Britain (its very THIS HAPPY BREED) and their inevitable getting older and decline through the 60s and 70s, as their son, young Raymond, grows up, goes to college and gets married. One may need a tissue at the forlorn end.
milk-man Ernest Briggs courts and marries house-maid Ethel, their son Raymond
being born in 1934. When World War II breaks out Ethel tearfully allows him to
be evacuated to aunts in Dorset whilst Ernest joins the
fire service, shocked by the carnage he sees. As hostilities end they celebrate
Raymond's return and entry to grammar school and the birth of the welfare state
though Ethel is mistrustful of socialism and progress in general. Raymond
himself progresses from National Service to art college and a teaching post,
worrying his mother by marrying schizophrenic Jean. However father and son
console each other as Ethel slips away but before long Raymond is mourning his
father too though both Ethel and Ernest will forever be immortalized by Raymond's
touching account of their lives.
I have liked Briggs' style of drawing and those marvellous books, particularly FUNGUS THE BOGEYMAN and of course THE SNOWMAN, SANTA CLAUS, THE WAY THE WIND BLOWS etc. and this new one is equally inventive and touching. Ethel and Ernest are perfectly voiced by Brenda Blethyn and Jim Broadbent, and Luke Treadaway is young Raymond. Directed by Roger Mainwood. It is really the story of all our parents who grew up then, and endured World War II - my mother was in London during the Blitz and told us all those stories about the doodlebugs, rationing, bomb shelters etc. This film brings it all to life. I loved it. Ethel though seems a bit dim at times, but Ernest is a real salt of the earth chap.