In the latest installment of "What to Watch", IMDb's TV Editor Melanie McFarland chats with "Mad Men" stars Jon Hamm, January Jones, John Slattery, and series creator Matthew Weiner about the drama's extraordinary legacy, as AMC prepares to air its final seven episodes.
Now, this is a bit of an oddity. It was 15 years ago that I first saw it and despite the fact that I videotaped it - and now have what is probably the world's only copy of it - I've only watched it once, since then. So my memory is going to be a bit sketchy.
The Bogie Man started off life as a comic mini-series in which the protagonist - Francis Forbes Clunie - thinks he is Humphrey Bogart. In the comic, he also LOOKS like Bogart. So it just takes a couple of props before he really fits the part. The trademark clothing are first, and any random object he encounters that his troubled psyche can make use of just help. Then a frozen turkey becomes the Maltese Falcon - and a vanload of them become a potential treasure trove. It also helps that he escapes on New Year's Eve and his behaviour doesn't initially seem to be particularly odd in the midst of all the drunkenness and partying.
(Note to all non-Scots out there. I called that particular festival "New Year's Eve" simply so that you'd recognise it and know which one I was referring to. In fact, New Year's Eve is a pale, watered-down imitation of what we celebrate in this country - and we call it Hogmanay).
Of course, that was the comic. The BBC screenplay version of the story inevitably made some changes, though. Particularly to the plot... in that they added one. The comic was just a random series of encounters, with Clunie drawing everybody around him into his fantasies, which - truthfully - was all that was needed. All sorts of other elements were added to the TV version.
As with most TV and film adaptations, a viewer's opinion will usually be fairly dependant on how familiar with and fond of the original concept they are. Changes to stories tend not to go down all that well, even if they are improvements on the story. In this case, my own opinion is that the changes weren't really all that much of an improvement at all. Particularly the conclusion, which was just irritating.
The casting, on the whole, is variable. Robbie Coltrane doesn't look even remotely like Humphrey Bogart, but the physical similarity wasn't all that important in the context of the TV version. The sadly missed Jean Alexander was particularly welcome in her role of Clunie's temporary landlady. Also present were Craig Ferguson, Fiona Fullerton and - bizarrely - Midge Ure.
On the whole, it's worth watching. The gags were mostly hit and miss, and the dialectic ones may require at least a passing knowledge of Scottish colloquialisms. The best one involved Clunie asking for a gun
and it's fairly likely that the average Scot can anticipate how that
one goes. Definitely watch it if you ever get the chance. It has - to the best of my knowledge - been transmitted only once and never been released on either video or DVD. So your chances might sadly be slim.
Oh... one addition to the story that WAS welcome was a bit of dialogue.
"His father was a heather beater - unfortunately, Heather was his mother."
Tasteless, yeah... but funny as...
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