Inadmissible Evidence

The peculiar nightmare advantage of the title is the sidelight thrown in the obscure nooks and corners of Kafka’s works, particularly The Trial, by dint as it were of his profession.

Wife, mistress, bint, a jealous succession, and that is the mastery of form for which Osborne is justly famous, so much so he adds a bonus round explicating A Patriot for Me or vice versa, queer street.

The dilemma not being shirked, the utterance is particularly difficult, to achieve it that much more necessary.

Fine score by Dudley Moore, canned numbers for Carnaby Street. The official position takes a turn and one is left standing at best with alternatives all closed off like an excommunicant in Coventry, and this is England.

The distorting mirror idea of this is particularly witty in its day-at-the-office “unities”, Butley (dir. Harold Pinter).

A.H. Weiler of the New York Times considered it “a carefully crafted work” that “only now and again elicits sympathy”, and that is all. That is what it means to be a critic.

“There is value and insight to the film,” said Variety, agreeing. “Yet much of it is opaque and confusing.”

Tom Milne (Time Out Film Guide) blames “the intrusive camera/editing style” for “such an unprepossessing, self-centred bore.”

Halliwell’s Film Guide concurs that the play is “anti-humanity” but finds Page’s film “surprisingly successful”, and in this mind Stanley Kauffman is adduced.


The Changeling

Middleton & Rowley treated as a film on videotape and thus with some license not all there, like the lover in Bedlam under false pretenses to meet the doctor’s wife, but no matter for that, her constrained pleasure is “a proper body... without brains to guide it,” and that is the theme of the play, of course.

Seventeenth-century paintings for the décor and costumes, Stanley Baker, Helen Mirren, a most excellent surreal dream, and the rest of the great cast, Cedric Messina, producer.


the missiles of october

Nikita Khrushchev’s thrilling riposte to the Bay of Pigs, John F. Kennedy’s next move.

An incalculable masterpiece that goes far beyond most understandings of the event in order to describe it in the most simply authoritative terms, so that there is no possibility of a misunderstanding.

All the force of circumstances, such as they are, leading to this impasse suddenly becomes articulate most completely, can’t be missed, and is encountered by the two as precisely as necessary, never losing sight of the mortal facts in the mere contingency of dramatic developments and so many million lives, that much is obvious.

The teleplay and direction adhere to the facts, move straightforwardly to the moment of truth on the blockade line (the bullfighting metaphor is from Lumet’s Fail-Safe and JFK himself, as given here) and the further reaches of national understanding that brought about an end to the confrontation.


Not I

The rapidity of utterance suggests James Cagney (as oppositely in Eh Joe and Footfalls Patrick Magee), “je est un autre”.



I Never Promised You a Rose Garden

Psychosis is understood as resembling a tribal or criminal enterprise, ancient gods, a conspiracy of silence, literally represented.

The patient is a classic case, inward knowledge of the etiology and outward perception of reality loosen the grip of the psychosis.

Fuller’s Shock Corridor (and Wiseman’s Titicut Follies) offer the regimen, with perhaps something of Miller’s Captain Newman, M.D. in the personal effort of a hospital psychiatrist.

The strange discourse of the mad as a response to circumstances and an expression of the dilemma is a great deal of the film.

Canby exhibited a good deal of receptivity in his New York Times review, with something of Crowther’s oversensitivity. Variety pooh-poohed it, “good intentions resolve into highminded tedium.” Ebert corrects Canby’s erroneous interpretation of Forman’s One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.



The graves in the wood are a very happy reminder of Orson Welles’ The Stranger, and with a political motif very kindred. After all, if a mad schoolboy is going to murder Commie layabouts and clinging cripples sub rosa, spared by the sacrament, what other conclusion can be drawn?

Shaffer digs deeper, he and Page find in the last scene a convenient image, the cripple’s leg-brace for a stiffening of pride that turns the whole thing another way.

“Poorly written, aimlessly directed, and badly photographed, Absolution is utterly depressing and pointless” (TV Guide).

For Richard Burton and Dominic Guard the roles of priest and student are thematic by way of Equus and Exorcist II: The Heretic and The Go-Between.


The Lady Vanishes

Page takes a somewhat different tack than Ralph Thomas and Don Sharp in The 39 Steps, though it’s quite evident that he too sees Hitchcock as no trick and can prove it. There is something quite specific in the MacGuffin, something new has been added in the conspiracy of silence and the mystification, he means to have it and does.

His leads are Americans, to the critics’ distaste, a madcap heiress with no brassiere and a LIFE photographer thrown out of Spain, the rest is much as Gilliat & Launder left it, Charters and Caldicott are not a variety turn but authentically observed, for example.

Miss Froy is an English nanny and not a spy, four years in Bavaria working for a general have sent her home with a trust, the family want her muffled lest the stain of an anti-Nazi reach their name.

That’s all, in widescreen and color, except that the heiress at the start is Wyler’s “Come to Germany” poster in Mrs. Miniver, the Venus de Milo with a small moustache.

“A midatlantic mish-mash”, Variety thought.

“Reflects nothing more than current market trends,” says Time Out Film Guide.

Halliwell’s Film Guide has it that “everything goes wrong.”


Pack of Lies

A very famous British spy case.

The friends and neighbors across the way work for the KGB and believe in it and will not forgive their dupes for letting the authorities round them up, one dupe dies of a broken heart, an English housewife in 1961.

Tom Shales of the Washington Post wondered if it wasn’t “all some horrible mistake.” Indeed, “one might prefer less fact and more drama when faced with a downer like the denouement at hand here.”


The Nightmare Years

A correspondent in the Reich.

His sources dry up, owing to official arrest.

His readers dry up, owing to neglect.

He takes to radio, a long way about.

The eyewitness he gives destroys Operation Sea Lion (a ploy).

A six-hour film in four parts on the experiences of William L. Shirer in Berlin, New York, Vienna, London, Geneva and Calais.

Archie Mayo’s Confirm or Deny is an account of the view from London in Page’s Part 4.


The Final Warning

Against the idea of nuclear weapons offering any possibility of “meaningful medical treatment” in the event of use.

The notable script practically begins with Frost,

Why hurry to tell Belshazzar

What soon enough he would know?

Firefighters (one a soccer player) rush to the scene and are shortly incapacitated. An American physician flies to Moscow, a specialist.

Dr. Armand Hammer and the physician meet Gorbachev over a conference table.

A firefighter’s wife is pressured to terminate her pregnancy.

These are the remarkable images set up by the physician’s own account in Kinoy’s teleplay.

John J. O’Connor, the New York Times television critic, assessed it as “a terribly ordinary and inadequate movie.”


Absolute Hell
A Rose-Coloured Spectacle

Odds and sods at La Vie en Rose at the end of the war.

Labour celebrates its victory, the place closes down, having witnessed the death of a literary critic.

The difficulty of representing a drama of tyros is faced by Clouzot in La Vérité, here in the background is The Iceman Cometh, the essential boredom is not missed.

Binkie Beaumont is said to have called it “a libel on the British people”.


My Zinc Bed

One may well imagine or indeed divine an analysis based on the integers of a British Communist turned software entrepreneur, the European or Scandinavian recovering “coked-up” alcoholic he has married (she runs his charity foundation), and the recovering alcoholic English poet he hires to write web copy (“because you remind him of me,” she says).

London is still surprising in Page’s businesslike views, it looks like Los Angeles or Boston with a few relics left abiding in the Postmodern era, a little like Resnais’ Muriel in another sense.