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Stephen Fry: 50 Not Out (2007)

TV Movie  |  Documentary  |  17 August 2007 (UK)
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Title: Stephen Fry: 50 Not Out (TV Movie 2007)

Stephen Fry: 50 Not Out (TV Movie 2007) on IMDb 7.6/10

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Credited cast:
Clive Anderson ...
Jo Brand ...
Ben Elton ...
Himself (archive footage)
Phill Jupitus ...
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Michael Parkinson ...


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Kenneth Branagh: The first day of rehearsal of "Peter's Friends," he walked into the room where, uh, I was about to start directing him and the others, and, uh, I was about to say "good morning, Stephen," and he said "Beethoven was an extraordinary man!" "What?" "Beethoven was an extraordinary man! Mozart, even - even more so. To describe them as fit for purpose would be an understatement. They have a direct hotline to God. They - they - creatively, they're absolutely perfect and aesthete." "Stephen, what... ...
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Good choices of clips and contributors makes this an affectionate and enjoyable "clips and comments" film
10 September 2007 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

On the occasion of Stephen Fry's fiftieth birthday, his friends, colleagues, peers and fans discuss his career to date. Names such as Hugh Laurie, Emma Thompson, Kenneth Branagh, Ben Elton, Russell Brand, John Sessions, Prince Charles and others discuss Fry as comedian, actor, director, writer, game-show host, intellectual and all round good egg.

This film was shown as part of the BBC4 season to mark the birthday of Stephen Fry and it was one of the few films that he wasn't actually in other than clips. The film instead just lines up the people who know him and have worked with him over the last few decades of his career. I say "just" but really it is the contributions that make or break this type of film and, in this case, they mostly make it. The film is well structured to look at aspects of Fry's career, which also more or less moves forward chronologically as well. The clips are well chosen because they are rarely weak and almost all of them illustrate the point being made about Fry's abilities.

The contributions are built around these really well and are edited to be concise, meaningful and useful within the context of the film. It also helps that the vast majority are from those who are close to Fry – specifically people like Laurie, Branagh, Thompson and others. When they speak it is easier to listen because they aren't just saying what the man in the street would be able to say as a fan – they are speaking as colleagues and friends. There are still contributions from those who are speaking from much more of a distance but these are more limited and used as much. True one of them is Prince Charles so I'm not saying they are the usual "d-list" celebs used in clip shows like "50 greatest ways to fill 3 hours of TV scheduling" but then having Russell Brand show up with nothing of value to say flew in the face of this somewhat.

Although it is a clip and comments film, it is still quite interesting and enjoyable as it is warmly affectionate and built on solid and personal opinion from a mostly very good selection of contributors. Fans of Fry will enjoy it as it is just another chance to enjoy the charm, wit and intelligence that has made him a success.

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