After 10 or 11 weeks in the hospital, Marlow has a session with a psychiatrist, Dr. Gibbon, that does not go well. Gibbon believes that the root of Marlow's skin disorder is psychological and that he...
Writer Philip Marlow is in hospital being treated for a severe skin affliction, something he has suffered from for 25 years but is now worse than it has ever been. He finds himself in a general ward ...
Arthur, a sheet music salesman, has an ear for the hit tunes, but nobody will trust it. And his imagination often bursts into full song, building musical numbers around the greatest ... See full summary »
The mysterious murder of an environmental activist leads her straight-laced father, an Inspector of the local police force, through a haunting revelation of the murkiness of the British ... See full summary »
An English girl marries a German lawyer in the 1930s and they try to live as normal a life as they can in Hitler's Germany. When Allied bombs start falling on German cities, Christabel ... See full summary »
Nigel Le Vaillant
Past and present intertwine: An elderly couple returns to the hotel where they became close when they were young and flashbacks to the earlier visit reveal the origins of both their ... See full summary »
The Italian adventurer and libertine Giovanni Jacopo Casanova lived from 1725 to 1798, but in this six-part series Dennis Potter attempted to find a contemporary relevance through his ... See full summary »
During the Suez Crisis of 1956, two young clerks at the stuffy Foreign Office in Whitehall display little interest in the decline of the British Empire. To their eyes, it can hardly compete... See full summary »
Dr. Emma Porlock and her colleagues, attempting to unlock the secrets of human memory for the Masdon drug empire, get a cryogenically stored 400-year-old human head to project its memories ... See full summary »
Frances de la Tour
Daniel Feeld is a screenwriter with pains in his gut and a new screenplay called "Karaoke", about a girl named Sandra who works in a seedy Karaoke bar and is murdered by a lowlife named ... See full summary »
Blackeyes is an attempt to explore "what does go on between men and women in their heads, to show the possibilities of the ways that they see each other." Complex and multi-layered, the ... See full summary »
Reworking material from his first novel, "Hide and Seek" (1973), and folding this into a prismatic blend of autobiographical details, popular music and 1940s film noir, Dennis Potter delivered a drama now regarded as a 20th-century masterwork. Detective novelist Philip Marlow (Michael Gambon) suffers from the crippling disease of psoriatic arthritis. Confined to a hospital bed, Marlow mentally rewrites his early Chandleresque thriller, "The Singing Detective," with himself in the title role, drifting into a surreal 1945 fantasy of spies and criminals, along with vivid memories of a childhood in the Forest of Dean. As past events and 1940s songs surface in his subconscious, Marlow's voyage of self-discovery provides a key to conquering his illness, while his noir-styled hallucinations evoke the Philip Marlowe of Chandler's "Murder, My Sweet" (1944), starring Dick Powell, who later became a "singing detective" on radio's "Richard Diamond, Private Detective" (1949), crooning to ... Written by
Bhob Stewart <email@example.com>
Charlie Simon played the old man in the bed next to Marlow who we see singing to him in close-up, thereby revealing his uneven teeth, Shortly after filming this, Simon had his teeth removed and replaced with perfect false ones. See more »
So, psychiatry's not nasty enough for you? You still want to get into literary criticism?
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There's no question that the greatest films of the past 25 years have been TV miniseries, from "I Claudius" to "The Decalogue" to "Nicholas Nickleby" to "The Singing Detective." The ability to stretch out over 6 to 10 hours is certainly a key to doing justice to a theme or great work of literature.
"The Singing Detective" is a bold, multileveled BBC series that is made all the more powerful considering that it is based on the author Dennis Potter's losing battle with a skin disease combined with his incredibly rich fantasies, painful memories, and writer's imagination, all rolled into one complex narrative. Over the 6-hour span, his life and personality, as portrayed by the brilliant Michael Gambon as the writer/novel protagonist Philip Marlow (without the "e"), is revealed inventively and poignantly. We sympathize with his wasting disease, admire his clever mind, and see all his hang-ups and "sins" gradually bared to his audience. It is an amazing swan song for a brutally self-honest writer.
Jon Amiel's direction is impeccable, and the whole production is uncompromising regarding sex, nudity, language and emotional pain. The famous musical numbers featuring not only Philip and his father in the past, but projected onto the patients and staff of the hospital ward where the "real" present action takes place, are so integral to the story that they are a perfect reflection of Philip's tenuous grip on reality.
The forthcoming Keith Gordon feature film, no matter how inventive and bizarre it is, must fail artistically and be suspected of dishonoring the essence of the story, Dennis Potter's autobiography. It will probably succeed financially with the casting of Downey and Gibson, but please find the BBC series at your local library and enjoy this masterpiece.
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