3 items from 2011
Xan Brooks continues our writers' favourite films series by confessing devotion to Michael Powell's A Canterbury Tale
• Tell us your version of A Canterbury Tale by posting your review, or join the throng of pilgrims in the comments
I first watched A Canterbury Tale with my father, nearly 20 years ago. He warned me that while he liked it, most people did not. It was too flawed, too rum, it didn't hang together. So we sat in the lounge and saw the hawk turn into the fighter plane and the trainload of pilgrims pull into Kent and the first, scurrying escape of the "glue-man", who pours adhesive into the hair of the girls who date the soldiers – and about half an hour in, my dad hit the pause button and asked if I maybe wanted to watch something else instead. "No, it's Ok, I like it," I muttered, because it's »
- Xan Brooks
From start to finish, Bryan Forbes' Deadfall (1968) glimmers with the gloss of a 1960’s classic heist thriller, very much in the vein of Ocean's Eleven (1960) or Topkapi (1964), and presents itself as a truly attractive film with its easy-on-the-eye cast, wonderful cinematography, and classical camera work.
During a stay at a sanatorium for recovering alcoholics, cat burglar and proffesional conman Henry Stuart Clarke (Michael Caine) is approached by a mysterious and beautiful woman, Fe (Giovanna Ralli), who has a business proposition for him; her husband Richard (Eric Portman), is planning the most ingenious of robberies, and with Clarke’s ability as a thief it seems they cannot fail. Inevitably a love triangle ensues, but not in the most traditional of senses; Fe doesn’t love Richard in the same way a married woman is “supposed” to love her husband, and as the love between Fe and Clarke begins to grow, »
Deadfall is one of Michael Caine’s more obscure films, and it’s not hard to understand why. The film can only be described as 145 minutes of misguided suspense combined with a thoroughly unconvincing love story which leaves so much unsaid that as the credits roll you sit there in frustration wondering ‘was that it?’.
It all starts so well: Caine plays Henry Clarke, a professional conman and cat-burglar who has consigned himself to rehab for alcohol addiction as part of an elaborate ruse to gain the trust of his next target, Salinas – a wealthy composer. One day, Clarke is visited by the mysterious and beautiful Fe (Giovanni Ralli) who is aware of his skills and wishes to entice him to work with her on a job.
Now, at this stage, I think that we are expected to see some magnetic sexual tension between the pair, which means that he »
3 items from 2011
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