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, 24 June 2017

A treat: Lee and Dirk in The Vision, 1987

A thousand thanks to Colin for finding this - one of my Holy Grails - a 1987 BBC film with two of my top favourites, which was only ever shown once by the BBC and since unavailable. It is now on dvd, so thanks again Colin - just what I needed after a few days in hospital. 
Dirk Bogarde and Lee Remick head an outstanding cast (including Eileen Atkins and Helena Bonham Carter) in this powerful drama from the creative team behind SHADOWLANDS. Originally screened (in January 1988) as part of BBC2’s acclaimed Screen Two strand, THE VISION is a disturbing reflection on an era of televangelists, burgeoning satellite channels and ruthless media manipulation – quite timely then for 30 years ago.
Bogarde plays James Marriner, a faded, unhappily married for TV presenter, reduced to margarine commercials and opening supermarkets, who is persuaded to front The People Channel – a right-wing, evangelical satellite network poised to launch in Europe. Determined to recruit “Gentle Jim” as a reassuringly familiar anchorman, the network’s steely, seductive boss Grace Gardner (Remick) proves hard to refuse.
As the network’s first live transmission looms, Marriner – whose personal life is now under surveillance – has become deeply uneasy about its aims. Garner, however, makes it clear than any attempt to alert viewers to her organisation’s true agenda, will bring about a devastating retribution. 
Written by William Nicholson and directed by Norman Stone. 
Eileen Atkins (in another of her then Mrs Glum roles) is Bogarde's unhappy wife, and Bonham Carter their daughter, Dirk and Lee play perfectly together, at this late stage in their careers - almost their final work. I met them both (separately) at the BFI in 1970 (I was 24) and got to talk to them both, as per other posts on them (see labels). Its a great role for Remick, which she plays with relish and looks great here in her early fifties, a few years before her death in 1991. (We also saw Atkins on stage then as Elizabeth I in Bolt's VIVAT REGINA with Sarah Miles as Mary Queen of Scots).
I suppose it now too much to expect to get Lee's other BBC productions, SUMMER AND SMOKE in 1972 and Henry James' THE AMBASSADORS, with Paul Scofield, in 1977, finally on dvd too? - in the meantime, great to see THE VISION again, and it is so timely, even if the 80s technology looks so dated now.  Then there are Bogarde's other TV productions, like THE PATRICIA NEAL STORY with Glenda Jackson ...

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