6 items from 2012
(Val Guest, 1960, StudioCanal, PG)
The versatile British journeyman Val Guest (1911-2006) began his prolific movie career in the 1930s writing scripts for comedies starring Will Hay and the Crazy Gang and was still directing in the 1980s. But his memorable films are genre pictures made in the late 50s and early 60s such as this realistic police procedural thriller, an unusual departure for Hammer, shot in black and white on gritty, unfamiliar Manchester locations. The formidable star is the toughest British actor of the day, Stanley Baker, just then embarking on a four-movie partnership with Joseph Losey. He's a no-nonsense cop, anticipating TV's Z-Cars, which started the following year, and he's pursuing a vicious escaped convict. The violence is unusually convincing for a British movie and fresh observations include an illegal gambling school involved in pitch and toss on the edge of the city.
Guest's dialogue is abrasive and unsentimental, »
- Philip French
Actor best known as Corporal Jones in the classic BBC comedy series Dad's Army
Had it not been for his short stature and elf-like face, the actor Clive Dunn, who has died aged 92, would have liked to play juvenile lead parts. But his loss was the audience's – especially the television audience's – gain. Though he was master of all sorts of old-man parts, he will be remembered with most affection as Lance Corporal Jones in the BBC television send-up of life in the wartime Home Guard, Dad's Army (1968-77).
His dithery butcher, slipping a few favoured lady customers some choice cuts from under the counter and then, in his spare time, trying his ineffectual best to keep order for the officious Captain Mainwaring, became such a popular figure that his catchphrase, "Don't panic!", delivered in the agitated tones of a running chicken hanging on with difficulty to the last shreds of its dignity, »
- Dennis Barker
Clive Robert Benjamin Dunn was born in Covent Garden, London on January 9, 1920 from a family of theatrics - he was the cousin of Gretchen Franklin, Ethel Skinner in EastEnders. As a child, Dunn's life was almost cut short when he had a supernumerary nipple removed. After training at the Italia Conti School, he appeared alongside comedy legend Will Hay in Boys Will Be Boys and Good Morning, Boys during the 1930s. His career was temporarily interrupted by the outbreak of the Second World War, during the course of which he spent four years in Austria as a prisoner of war after being called up as a 20-year-old. Photo gallery - Clive Dunn's life and career:
- By Paul Millar
The novelist relishes Hitch's prewar comedy adapted by Gilliat and Launder because it both satirises and celebrates the English stiff upper lip
It might not be his best film, but Hitchcock never made anything warmer or more lovable than this. I must have seen it 20 or 30 times and can't imagine ever growing tired of it.
Kudos to his collaborators, first of all. Frank Launder and Sidney Gilliat's screenplay is sharper than anything written for Hitchcock's other British films (or his American films, come to that – except possibly for North by Northwest) and you could make a strong case for regarding it as a Launder and Gilliat film rather than a Hitchcock one, if authorship has to be decided. That sometimes endearing indifference to nuances of dialogue and characterisation that marks even some of Hitchcock's best films is nowhere to be found here: the edgy banter between Michael Redgrave and Margaret Lockwood really sparkles. »
Classic British comedy Go To Blazes is out on DVD on January 30th from Studio Canal. Featuring an all-star cast: Maggie Smith, Robert Morley, Dennis Price, Dave King, Derek Nimmo, Thora Hird and Will Hay, the DVD release marks the film’s 50th Anniversary, and for this occasion, it will also be screened at the British Film Institute in the London Comedy Film Festival on January 29th.
a) Songs of Praise
b) Points of View
Email your answer and address to email@example.com with Blazes in the subject line. An email entry counts as One entry into the competition. »
Most stars are just the front-of-house display for an industry that makes fortunes for many others
I asked my mum over the holidays where her big pile of sketches was, because I wanted my sons to see them. She said she'd thrown them away ages ago. I was stunned. I'd loved looking though them all when I was little. Portrait after portrait of actors, all beautifully copied from the movie magazines of the 1940s and 1950s, some of them oil paintings on greaseproof paper, a nimbus of ochre linseed around their edges, most of them pencil on sugar paper. There were a few of Deborah Kerr, whom my mother, as a young woman, had adored. She was my namesake.
My mother's classmate at school in Essex, Maureen Rippingale, had been particularly fascinated by my mother's ability to capture a likeness, even to ratchet up all that glamour and beauty just a tiny bit more. »
- Deborah Orr
6 items from 2012
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