Blade on the Feather

A nice little Mafia hit to silence a squealer, with the special twist of the knife so very characteristic, he thinks it’s vengeance for past crimes (“the final sting in the tale is perhaps a bit unconvincing,” says the BFI).

The Moscow gang pull this off, this is the Cambridge prof who recruited Burgess, Philby and MacLean for “heaven on earth” and came to believe that “man is the devil”, he’s been writing his memoirs, a solid old-guard Tory to the world, now retired.

“Mr. Potter has a reputation for being brilliantly unorthodox and provocative,” said the New York Times television critic, John J. O’Connor. “‘Blade on the Feather’ neatly illustrates why.”

The Eton boating song as sung by Donald Pleasence and Denholm Elliott re-creates a scene in Medak’s The Ruling Class, the BFI has pointed out several Potter themes brought into play.


Brimstone & Treacle

Dennis Potter’s eloquent suburban satire, authoritatively given as a screenplay, so that the fellow gets on and a different key is provided for the girl’s accident, the religious theme is significantly advanced, Dad writes doggerel for the Evangelical Press in his unbelief and so on.

It seems highly unlikely that anyone saw the point, Halliwell’s Film Guide did not, Time Out Film Guide saw a rehash of Teorema, but in Potter’s estimation you’re not losing a daughter at all, as the saying goes.


Richard III

A correct analysis of Olivier’s film, made by simply updating it (“Come Be My Love” is a great swing tune) and gradually establishing by prodigious means the advent of Hitler.

Well-received by critics.


The Gathering Storm

Finney as Churchill, KBO, taking a piss or two, exiled to Commons and Chartwell.

Redgrave restless, off to Komodo for specimens with a rich, “dashing” bachelor.

Secret papers from the Foreign Office detail Hitler’s advancement. The PM wants it hush-hush, Baldwin for trade.

Churchill speechifies, broke but buggering on, and potters like Russell’s Elgar. The issue is joined, he’s bloody well back.

(In the digital sequel, Brendan Gleeson carries on through the war, profil perdu at sea to begin with in a startling evocation, but voted out looking like Gorbachev.)

The howling fuckall score is a part of the synthetic TV style and naught to do with the drama.

A quasi-Chisum view of Blenheim for openers, a dream of the Duke.


My House in Umbria

The appalling digital catastrophe wipes out the railway carriage and decapitates a poppy.

Mrs. Delahunty’s sepia or reduced-color rememberings and imaginings describe the action and winnow out the cause.

A reflection of the Second World War.

Lovely Italian vistas in Marco Pontecorvo’s cinematography, between episodes.