The Rolling Stones Rock and Roll Circus

“Oxford Circus... Piccadilly Circus...”

Amusements and “marvels” under a representation of the big top, attended by “earth feet, loam feet.”

Janet Maslin (New York Times), “uneven but ripely nostalgic”. Variety, “the King Tut’s tomb of rock movies.” TV Guide, “to declare the film itself as great is probably overstating the case.”


Let It Be

The Beatles rehearsing and cobbling up songs to a fine pitch on the Apple roof.

Variety thought it “a relatively innocuous, unimaginative piece of film,” adding, “but the musicians are the Beatles.”


Plaintiffs and Defendants

The actors trade roles in Two Sundays and have different professions more or less but the same names in the same constellation, which is identical to Jules Feiffer’s Carnal Knowledge (dir. Mike Nichols).

One is a bleeding barrister here, the other a sodding schoolmaster.


Two Sundays

The sporting and the ęsthetic type, a reflection of Plaintiffs and Defendants from a different vantage, that of publishing, and of course writing, broadcast one week after the preceding teleplay.


Nasty Habits

The nuns of the Abbey of Philadelphia enact the so-called Watergate scandal in the midst of electing a new abbess, the point at issue is a matter of style regarding the proper conduct of love affairs with Jesuits. Sister Alexandra is for ladylike amours, not “bourgeois”. Sister Felicity has her Thomas in the orchard. And thus it comes to pass that “orthodoxy is my doxy, heterodoxy is another man’s doxy.”

The order is considered rather old-fashioned, Rome prescribes adherence to Vatican II.

“Witty, intelligent”, said Variety, Time Out Film Guide pronounced it “lame”, Vincent Canby (New York Times) came up square in the middle with a curate’s egg, Halliwell’s Film Guide and the Monthly Film Bulletin likewise.


Professional Foul

The J.S. Mill Professor of Ethics at Cambridge University, in Prague for a colloquium, receives a thesis from a former student now an enemy of the Czech state.

The English football team are there as well, far in advance of the World Cup.

A “left-winger” colleague has a theory about football yobs, delivered drunkenly.

One is a guest of the Czech government, “an honoured guest” one might almost say when detained by the police.

The don’s ethical dilemma, resolved.

The thesis compares the Czech constitution favorably to the American constitution.

The theme is shortly taken up again by Stoppard in The Russia House (dir. Fred Schepisi).

Befuddling professors of philosophy and their befuddlement are a subject of amusement, also thin-skinned footballers.


Doctor Fischer of Geneva

He (James Mason) says Herr Krupp would eat no matter what at Hitler’s table, for a favor.

Visconti’s La Caduta degli dei, McGrath’s The Magic Christian, and Fellini-satyricon have similar scenes of degradation and decline.

Here, it is only a matter of proving that the rich are insatiable and will swallow anything for a “trinket” added to their luster, even if they are able to buy it themselves, death holds no fear for them in the pursuit of gratuitous wealth.

The remote reflection of this, like Scrooge’s lost love, is a small ęsthetic relationship Frau Fischer had with a Mozart-lover (Cyril Cusack), and which has fueled the doctor’s mad experiments since her death and the ęsthete’s disappearance.

The daughter (Greta Scacchi) marries an Englishman (Alan Bates) of modest means, a translator in a chocolate factory, who is invited to a party given by the doctor, and then another.

Lindsay-Hogg is a very good director, very proficient in the sleight-of-hand that turns a long shot into a descriptive metaphor.

Earl Hamner pictures the tyrant as a critic on The Twilight Zone (“A Piano in the House”).