As Renoir in Le Carrosse d’or understands Vivaldi uniquely, Morahan and Simon Gray understand Schubert.
Undoubtedly the scenic model is Chabrol’s L’Œil du Malin, a scarcely-understood film.
There is much secondary material of primary importance, quite variegated. Some of it comes at a long reach from Hawks’ or Winner’s The Big Sleep, a suggestive bit from Welles’ The Stranger, a rag from Ashby’s Shampoo, a main gag from Hitchcock’s Dial M for Murder (this is the Gray of Stage Struck, “sorry, wrong number” says the classics don), and perhaps above all Losey’s Accident, or even Polanski’s Repulsion.
A great masterpiece of the British cinema, a BBC TV production.
Amplesides Old Boys (each with the name of a prominent critic) are disappearing to jail “in double bloody alarming time” (John Osborne, The Right Prospectus), there are a couple of Jews on the list and a barrister always taken by everyone as “Church of English”, so Gray builds up with threatening telephone calls and anonymous communications a frightening picture of Germany in the Thirties, a fact not noted in the typically observant but not too deep Times review, signed by Sheridan Morley, who further pointed out that his name was left out for good or ill.
The tunes are Mozart’s, this time.
A certain relationship to Pinter’s Old Times might be noticed, and the twins at the end are from Bergman’s Fanny and Alexander.
A remarkably beautiful analysis of the little magazine, literary don’t you know, if you like that sort of thing, and if you don’t that doesn’t matter, nobody does, “unreadable and so unread...”
Post-mortem, naturally, with ghastly lights on all the literary world known in London down from Cambridge, other things as well, Cats for instance, Reg Nuttall’s firm, too.
Gray requites Pinter for Betrayal on Butley, a very English politesse, Hitchcock is faultlessly cordial in just the same way.