30 is a dangerous age, Cynthia
Jock’s Box is the London boîte where a jazz pianist goes to seed. He must act. The Golden Legend of Erin he writes, a musical. And marries the girl next door. Wedding and opening night are on the critical birthday.
His American chum turns the play into poncey arseaching rubbish, it’s a smash hit. The wife finds out she’s a meridian, but doesn’t mind.
In a perfectly sophomoric review, Renata Adler of the New York Times called it “sophomoric”.
The Goon Show
A Nazi plot to bomb every bum in England caps this radio performance in a television studio, whereof the added expenditure is conveyed by a belle on a divan reading the Financial Times peradventure.
The Bliss of Mrs. Blossom
It passes the stages of Renoir’s Boudu sauvé des Eaux to see the blighter running the business (after saving it from one-size-fits-all globalization).
A Cox and Box in all but name, which gives you Pinter’s Night School at a pinch. The illustrative cinematic inserts are from De Sica’s contribution to Le streghe, to be sure. The composition as a whole suggests Lumet’s Lovin’ Molly as a political analysis from Truffaut’s Jules et Jim, he brings it round to McGrath in Deux Anglaises et le continent.
Screenplay Alec Coppel (and Denis Norden) from a veteran producer of The Untouchables, décor Assheton Gorton, cinematography Geoffrey Unsworth, score Riz Ortolani.
Monthly Film Bulletin, “only Freddie Jones as an outrageously effeminate detective induces anything like amusement.” Pauline Kael (The New Yorker), “stagebound whimsy... frivolous... uncertain... wayward and kinky... when the kinkiness doesn't work the picture is just harmlessly stupid.” Howard Thompson of the New York Times dismissed Mario Bava’s Danger: Diabolik as “infantile junk” but on the same double bill saw McGrath, “only the British... serenely amoral... brisk writing... extremely nimble direction... lovely color, roguish, restrained and absurdly likable.” Variety, “idea is fleshed out most satisfactorily so as to take undue attention away from the premise.” Andrew Sarris (Village Voice), Top Ten of the Year with Buñuel, Bellochio, Godard, Chabrol, Truffaut, Siegel, Finney, Cassavetes and Forman. Richard Corliss (National Review), Top Ten of the Year with Schlesinger, Rohmer, Welles, Pollack, Hitchcock, De Broca, Peckinpah, Hunt and Frost. Tom Milne (Time Out), “any sparks in the script or direction are ruthlessly extinguished by atrocious direction.” TV Guide, “fun.” Catholic News Service Media Review Office, “falls flat because of an over-inflated script.” Halliwell’s Film Guide, “silly.”
Money will buy the very best people. An artificial environment can be created the only existence of which is fiduciary. People will do anything for money.
A comfortable or provocative theory at the time, and now plain fact.
The Great McGonagall
That he was a poet is plain, because he suffered. That he was execrable is even plainer, for he died first.
“Parts of it are lovely and hilarious,” said Richard Eder, New York Times film critic and decorator of curate’s eggs. “Revue-type sketches”, coldly observes Time Out Film Guide.
I’m Not Feeling Myself Tonight
The sweeper-upper at the Hildebrand Institute of Sexual Stimulation and Research, a ringer for Mary Poppins’ Bert, always a looker-on (“let’s face it, Jon, you’re just a born wanker”).
His research tool made of odds and ends, named Agnes (the coffee cup that attunes her is by way of Ralph Nelson’s Fate Is the Hunter, let us say). His love for an office staffer pursued by a bigwig. Cf. Bernard C. Schoenfeld’s “From Agnes—With Love”, dir. Richard Donner for The Twilight Zone.
A colleague and “trendy dresser” has a question for Mum, “would you say I was bent, a raving poofter?”
“Certainly, dear,” she replies, “you’re bent and a raving poofter.” A joke and James Booth from The Bliss of Mrs. Blossom, “there we are, Bri’ish technical knowhow, yer just can’t beat it.”
“Yeaeaeah, look out, Europe!” Case of the love potion or love ray (cf. Robert Presnell, Jr.’s “The Chaser” from John Collier, dir. Douglas Heyes for The Twilight Zone). The sneezing wardrobe of Laurel and Hardy (The Flying Deuces, dir. Edward Sutherland). Cagney and the grapefruit (The Public Enemy, dir. William A. Wellman). “I’ve discovered a new, improved Agnes. Double the range, double the power.” The climax at the International Sex Research Congress recalls Casino Royale (dirs. McGrath et al.) and Wild Gals of the Naked West (dir. Russ Meyer), among other things that certainly include The Andromeda Strain (dir. Robert Wise).
Clyde Jeavons (Monthly Film Bulletin), “the usual compendium of Anglo-Saxon hang-ups played for laughs—and losing.”
The Strange Case of the End of Civilization as We Know It
As any fool can see, it’s Moriarty’s descendant versus Holmes’, but the execution has a mainspring. The U.S. Secretary of State, Dr. Henry Gropinger (Ron Moody), loses his diary to a thief aboard his government jet, he doesn’t know when he lands at “T.E. Lawrence (of Arabia) Airport” that he isn’t in Israel, army guards shoot him dead after he greets them with a “Shalom!”
The President (Joss Ackland) is a solemnly stupid horse’s ass, “the police of five continents” are stumped, A. Sherlock-Holmes (John Cleese), “A Private Investigator”, is specially called in by Stratford Johns, who is and was the Commissioner of Police. With Arthur Lowe as blitheringly idiotic Dr. W. Watson, M.D., and Connie Booth as Mrs. Hudson, among others.
The classic comedy of blinkers and blinders, the dreariest pub in Christendom and the rottenest flats, the African prince and the art student, the randy spinster and the girl who won’t, her father and the RAF ace, all a cod and a load of bollocks.
The pussy-hating landlord sees through it all at last and, illuminated, reconciled to his pet, the moggy trips him up headlong down the stairs.
Barclays Bank adverts
The long road to ruin three times over, with Monty Casino (Peter Sellers). He’ll make a sort of New Age busker of a symphony bassist, a ringmaster of a squandering squire, a camper of a careless Cambridge man.
Night Train to Murder
“Mr. President, where’s Wayne Morris?” Kind Hearts and Coronets (dir. Robert Hamer) refracted by The Cat and the Canary (dir. Elliott Nugent or Radley Metzger) and The List of Adrian Messenger (dir. John Huston), with a Phantom of the Music Hall (Her Majesty’s Theatre, Carlisle) and a case of railway homicide, cf. Carol Reed’s Night Train to Munich. The bill in Carlisle is a masterpiece, Fools Rush In the revue is called.
Britmovie (Drewe Shimon), “whilst not that good, isn’t that bad either: there are a lot worse things you could watch”.