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philipdavies

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2 out of 5 people found the following review useful:
Ghost-machinery, 11 April 2003

Here Truffaut portrays himself, untypically, as the purveyor of the old-style film, for which the obsolescent Victorine Studios (in Nice) was once famous. A helpful comment from France, on this site, makes us aware of the now-obscure original of this outmoded director and his style of film-making [q.v.]. Coming from the erstwhile enfant terrible of Cahiers du Cinema, who was the veritable asassin of the old guard of French cinema, this bespeaks the humility of a man who loved cinema more than he loved himself. Thus his hommage to film escapes the trap of preening self-regard, into which it could so easily have fallen. Clearly, Truffaut considered that the Nouvelle Vague was already speaking quite well for itself!

What Truffaut wishes to convey is the sheer joy that the process of film-making ultimately gives, through all its travails, to all its practitioners, whether the film be great or mediocre. It is not a film for point-scoring, in the manner of Godard's splendidly satirical 'Le Mepris,' but a film of celebration. Indeed, there is a palpable sense of a familial closeness about the people who temporarily occupy this set. It is no accident, in truth, that the pregnant Stacy and the death of Alexandre seem to frame all the love and life and suffering that tumbles out of this vibrant, if occasional, social unit.

It is indeed striking how dependent these film folk are on each other; however badly they behave, there remains the 'family' solidarity. They stick together through thick and thin.

And it is this family of shadows that the stick-wielding child-impresario of the director's dream repeatedly gathers from the remembered foyer of the cinema where 'Citizen Kane' was playing: 'La nuit Americaine' has taken these images from the director's twilight world of memory and projected them into a false daylight, like the imaginary friends of the lonely upbringing of a person bereft of his real family.

As a consequence of this confession by the director, in near-persona-propria, Leaud's 'Doinel'-ish figure looks empty and therefore false: He is the most ghostly of them all, indeed, because we have been taken behind the scenes and shown the dream-machinery that produced him. There is at once great rejoicing and great regret in this movie. The director in his lonely bed is haunted by the anxieties inherent in his tenuous and possibly illegitimate grasp of life's business through it's simulacrum: The movie business.

At the same time, he is vindicated by our complicity as viewers, seduced as we are by the charm of his characters and his film. Unlike the terrifying Madame la Tricateuse character, with her puritanical rage to guillotine such an immoral world of irresponsibles. Is this a terrible mother-figure?

The Hours (2002)
Merchant and Ivory meet Bergman in Hollywood?, 10 April 2003

Virginia Woolf's "Mrs. Dalloway" becomes a kind of testament for a certain kind of nervous modern woman. The authoress herself is seen as a kind of prophet. Her baptism as such is shown in her total, ultimately literal, immersion in her work. Through this author's total sacrifice, of her own life as well as in her work, two women of later ages learn how it is possible for them to live. The novel inoculates them (as it were) against despair. Because of Virginia Woolf and her alter ego, Mrs. Dalloway, the two modern women are strenghthened by the knowledge that they are not, as they had feared they were, alone. Moreover, they come to meet and understand each other, upon the death of the only man who has ever been important in both of their lives. For the one was mother, the other, wife. And, in many ways, that dying writer's work was the consummation of these roles, defining him as son and spouse ...

Descending through air and water - in flight and flow - the delicate spirit of woman is at once evanescent and eternal.

The picture is a triple portrait of female strength - that extends an invisible chain across the years. The lives of these women seem bound together by the pages of one book. They are, indeed, characters whom Virginia Woolf might have created.

There are intimations of another reality, whose imperatives demand a flight from the other, the male-defined, reality. Here are people who are plunged into the depths of the tragic mutual sexual incomprehension of male and female. There is no equal war of the sexes here; there is only either the escape or the capitulation of one or the other that is possible: In the past, this was the woman's fate, whilst now the male is likely to flee or be humbled before the new-found certainties of woman.

This is all interesting, if somewhat depressing, as an idea, and the screenplay by David Hare conveys it cleverly. The acting is excellent, particularly Nicole Kidman's superb transformation of herself into something at the diametrically opposite end of the acting spectrum to her more glamorous, Starry image.

The direction, while perfectly adequate in allowing the story to be told, fails to integrate the styles of the different periods into a satisfying whole. The temporal links between 'the hours' are too mechanical. One has a sense that the Virginia Woolf story should have existed more as an imaginative identification, a leitmotif, and less as a fully-dramatised Merchant-Ivory production that keeps intruding on a Bergmanesque chamber-drama.

But this is an honourable and not disastrous failure.

Far more serious is the vulgar intrusion of a score by Philip Glass which is no more than a repetitive splash of chords from Hollywood melodrama. In scene after scene this irritating rattle of inappropriate and superficially hyper-active gush drowns out all subtlety on screen. You just can't hear yourself think for such noise! It sounds like a bad improvisation, for a creaky silent weepy, perpetrated by a drunken amateur!!

[The Nose, by-the-bye, is rather noble. I wonder if La Kidman got to keep it, for impressing guests with at intellectual dinner-parties?]

The Hours (2002)
Merchant and Ivory meet Bergman in Hollywood? [REVISION - CANCEL PREVIOUS - NO MORE AFTER THIS!!], 10 April 2003

Virginia Woolf's "Mrs. Dalloway" becomes a kind of testament for a certain kind of nervous modern woman. The authoress herself is seen as a kind of prophet. Her baptism as such is shown in her total, ultimately literal, immersion in her work. Through this author's total sacrifice, of her own life as well as in her work, two women of later ages learn how it is possible for them to live. The novel inoculates them (as it were) against despair. Because of Virginia Woolf and her alter ego, Mrs. Dalloway, the two modern women are strengthened by the knowledge that they are not, as they had feared they were, alone. Moreover, they come to meet and understand each other, upon the death of the only man who has ever been important in both of their lives. For the one was mother, the other, wife. And, in many ways, that dying writer's work was the consummation of these roles, defining him as son and spouse ...

Descending through air and water - in flight and flow - the delicate spirit of woman is at once evanescent and eternal.

The picture is a triple portrait of female strength - that extends an invisible chain across the years. The lives of these women seem bound together by the pages of one book. They are, indeed, characters whom Virginia Woolf might have created.

There are intimations of another reality, whose imperatives demand a flight from the other, the male-defined, reality. Here are people who are plunged into the depths of the tragic mutual sexual incomprehension of male and female. There is no equal war of the sexes here; there is only either the escape or the capitulation of one or the other that is possible: In the past, this was the woman's fate, whilst now the male is likely to flee or be humbled before the new-found certainties of woman.

This is all interesting, if somewhat depressing, as an idea, and the screenplay by David Hare conveys it cleverly. The acting is excellent, particularly Nicole Kidman's superb transformation of herself into something at the diametrically opposite end of the acting spectrum to her more glamorous, Starry image.

The direction, while perfectly adequate in allowing the story to be told, fails to integrate the styles of the different periods into a satisfying whole. The temporal links between 'the hours' are too mechanical. One has a sense that the Virginia Woolf story should have existed more as an imaginative identification, a leitmotif, and less as a fully-dramatised Merchant-Ivory production that keeps intruding on a Bergmanesque chamber-drama. Also, the blatant special-effects inundation of the 1950's hotel was definitely a symbolic image too far: It was as if someone had spliced-in a scene from "Titanic". It was an excellent example of what is known in the trade as 'pretentious rubbish'.

But this is, on the whole, an honourable rather than a disastrous failure.

Far more serious, however, is the vulgar intrusion of a score by Philip Glass which is no more than a repetitive splash of chords from Hollywood melodrama. In scene after scene this irritating rattle of inappropriate and superficially hyper-active gush drowns out all subtlety on screen. You just can't hear yourself think for such noise! It sounds like a bad improvisation, for a creaky silent weepy, perpetrated by a drunken amateur!! This nearly scuppered the whole film, for me.

[The Nose, by-the-bye, is rather noble. I wonder if La Kidman got to keep it, for impressing guests with at intellectual dinner-parties?]

1 out of 16 people found the following review useful:
Downhill all the way., 20 January 2003

Why should an English person bother with this? What, come to that, does the film offer a Welsh person, such as myself? Or anyone?

Cosy charm, that's what. It has all the cosiness of Ealing - without the subversive backbone. And that ain't enough to be bothering with.

The ambiguous nature of a film that is balanced so carefully on the border between England and Wales that it can't possibly tilt too far either into or out of either camp leads nowhere that has any real backbone of history: The faux epic of a hill as a cultural virility symbol lacks any of the snarl and bite exhibited by the citizens of the Duchy of Burgundy (formerly Pimlico) against the edifice of what was the entire Establishment of the very post-War Britain whose much put-upon subjects were gleefully watching at the time. All we get in the later film is a prettyfied paean to the vapidly New Labour-ish waffle about 'community'. Oh, and a patronising nod in the direction of those funny little people running around Wales like harmless idiots.

The final sunsets - SO eye-catching! - are a real damp squib after the truly pathetic fallacy of the storm. The only successful symbolism of the entire film is also pure bathos: Balm to the shattered mind of the shellshocked character (actually called 'Shellshocked' by the unfeeling oafs whom he lives amongst!) who has an epiphany when surrounded by thunder and lightning, mud and rain. Was this what the film was building up to? Thank God the National Health Service wasn't around in those days to pick up the cost of such eccentric treatment. The entire epic exercise of building an extension to the hill is, indeed, clearly no more than a form of therapy - much like obsessive D.I.Y in suburbia, or indeed this entire bodged film. I hope the director gets out more, now.

The only presence that ever threatens to ignite the film is Kenneth Griffiths as the minister. Unfortunately, any flammable material is kept safely out of his way in this utterly bland rehearsal of film formulae and cultural stereotypes that one had hoped were buried this forty years and more.

This is a film that has no more imaginative pressure or intellectual integrity than Tara Fitzgerald's insultingly careless custody of a Welsh guise she visibly and audibly resents in every single scene in which she appears. Her accent is as great an insult to Wales as Hugh Grant's entire twittish persona is an insult to England. Mind you, I can't say I really blame the actress for so obviously regretting her involvement with such a crowd of mentally defective buffoons as are here on display: This class of broad mummery, allowed to cavort about as if it were a portrait of the National characteristics of an entire race, would be an immediate scandal in most other ethnic contexts!

The final insult is to have duped the contemporary locals, from the area in which the film is set, into lending their presence as a clincher of authenticity to this thoroughly bogus enterprise.

I can assure anyone who cares to consider the matter that modern Welsh people who understand what they are about had far rather be totally ignored by the English media, than made into the sort of ridiculous clowns who could only be patronized by persons of a colonialist temperament, whose brains are also evidently not often at home. The token English nutter represented by Hugh Grant in no way balances this racial slur, as he is so self-effacing as to be meaningless as a character. His far more interesting and rebarbative old colonial superior is rapidly put out of the plot's way by the expedient of copious supplies of alcohol. Furthermore, the final engagement of the leading couple is deliberately rendered sterile by an overdose of twee sentimentality precisely in order to avoid raising any real engagement on anyone's part with anything that might have to do with the real world.

One cannot forgive the Americans in 'How green is my valley' for portraying Wales as La-La Land, where impromptu male-voice choirs in black-face serenade the aerial pits that stand tip-toe upon the summits of the hills, whilst their women are forever mining butter for scones and scrubbing their menfolk in baths of tea in a lilting but sober corner of California which is forever a sort of Calvinist Ireland with chapel hellfire instead of IRA guns - and still less can one forgive our closest neighbours for creating the kind of sub-Hollywood Kansas dream-world which greets our incredulous gaze in 'Englishman ...'. Here is a theme-park, set aside for the escapist, immature amusement of an England which is incapable of realising Wales as an identifiable place. The plot is at once derivative of Ross and Somerville's 19th century Irish model of a ruling class harmlessly subverted by amusing native tricks, and yet it is obviously much less familiar with its own originals of the amusing types on display, than the earlier work, which does at least retain the imprint of some recognizable world of real experience.

But this film is total fantasy, unrelated to anything. Who in hell wants to see these grotesque caricatures attempting to ingratiate themselves with their feudal masters by childishly attempting to increase the status, in the eyes of English officialdom, of an insignificant local landmark? No real Welsh person would grovel to a mere Sais for leave to remain in occupation of their own cultural landscape! See Brian Friel's play 'Translations' for a really witty demolition of the historical impositions of English officialdom on the people of an occupied country.

Hugh Grant goes up this mountain of a mole-hill as a twit of an Englishman, and, when he is only half-way-up, it is quite clear that he will come down as exactly the same twit he was before. It is at this point in the clot - sorry, plot - that we lose all interest in the further accumulation of cloddishness, and all further desire to scale the heights of its pretensiousness. The signature-shot of this film is, indeed, a worm's-eye view of a mole-hill. It is a shot that injects a brief and unexpected note of subversive irony into an otherwise self-important folly. Is it an unguarded or a guilty confession by the director? Certainly, the whole project could easily have been buried under such a meadow-pimple - or under worse. Perhaps it should have been.

But my considered advice to all English rose-growers would be to avoid like the plague the flatulent produce of this pantomime cow of a film, which is definitely guaranteed not put your national flower into good odour.

Simply: The film stinks.

0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
Grand Guignol, 10 January 2003

A metaphysical fantasy about a ship with a crew of blind men. According to the translator of 'Le Navire aveugle':

"... apart from occasional verbal emendations, I have, as studiously as M. Barreyre himself, kept free from maritime technicalities. As to the author's conception of discipline in the British mercantile marine and the hysteria and lack of self-control which our seamen habitually display in moments of crisis, I have a suspicion that in an original and suppressed version the 'Sea-Shine' flew another flag than 'Iles-Britanniques.' and that her crew belonged to a more sensitive and sentimental race."

The following is the translation from which this excerpt of the Foreword is made:

Barreyre, Jean : The blind ship / translation and foreword by Beckles Wilson. - London : T. Fisher Unwin Ltd, [1926]

In lieu of a sight of the film itself - which must remain an unlikely prospect for any ordinary cineaste - the above volume is readily obtainable in major libraries and from second-hand booksellers, most of whom have Websites. There also exists a French film tie-in with 16 full page b&w plates from the film. See: BookFinder.com [French].

5 out of 10 people found the following review useful:
12 production stills and a novelisation., 7 November 2002

A film that once did its bit in cheering up a Britain at war, it is unlikely to have them rolling in the aisles at the multiplex. This is not to say that it couldn't still raise a few laughs, if it was ever shown again.

From what I have read of the contemporary novelisation, and seen of the 12 production stills included in that volume - which appears to be a very faithful adaptation - , it is a jolly effort all round, and might well appeal to anyone who enjoys 'Dad's Army'. Perhaps a television audience would appreciate its quaint charms.

Certainly, it is redolent of its era. Old Bill reminds one of an elderly if slightly dotty relative, whom we should be more sorry than we are to see shuffle off into oblivion. I would go so far as to say that we would be altogether nicer and more interesting people if we made the past generations more welcome at our flickering electronic hearth. But I suppose someone over fifty would be prone to such opinions. The under-forties probably find such ordinary old films too creepily remote from the common light of current fashion for comfortable viewing. There is, truly, nothing more disturbing than being forced to observe the precursors of your own flimsy wisps of existence in that dusty shaft of relentless ephemerality!

But for all those out there who habitually prowl the graveyards of long-forgotten tears and laughter, illuminated by the unnatural light of other days, you might try second-hand booksellers for the next-best thing to seeing the film itself:

Old Bill & son : the story of the film /by Bruce Bairnsfather and Ian Dalrymple. - London : Hutchinson & Co., [1941]

There's nothing like tragedy for sobering you up., 23 October 2002

The cruel machinery of Capital and Macarthyism savages Selma, handicapped single mother and refugee from Communist Czechoslovakia, until her naive American dream is cruelly and comprehensively destroyed. Yet, out of the total ruin of her impossibly romantic vision there arises - through the miracle of her (literally) blind faith in her dream - the hope of a new generation, when she succeeds in bequeathing to her son a Promised Land that must forever be hidden from her own darkening prospect.

[PARAGRAPH]The hyper-reality of the musical escapes, which Selma's mind is forced through the harshness and disappointment of her impoverished life in America to indulge, deploy an impressive range of cinematic tricks. Von Trier is thoughtfully demonstrating the unhealthy nature of the culture that Hollywood services. This is a machine-culture, just as the Soviet model which Selma sought to escape is a Robot culture, and her tragic fantasies of transforming such crude machinery into the stuff of dreams - a la the American musical - are no better than escapist delusion. There comes to mind the famous reflection of Marx, regretting another cultural 'opium', that was such a need of the People in a hostile capitalist culture.

[PARAGRAPH]Ultimately, the film deliberately follows Selma's saving intuition that fantasy-closure is a false closure: Both the character Selma and the director insist that the 'last' musical escape from unbearable reality is nothing of the kind. Just as, in childhood, Selma loved to leave the cinema before the last number, so as to allow the film to play on into her everyday experience, so von Trier refuses the musical's traditionally crafted formulae of neat closure. As in the theatre of Euripides, we are given only the appearance of intervention by some reliable mechanical agency external to the ineluctable logic of the action, and are left with a chilly realisation of the irrelevance of all human artifice and contrivance.

[PARAGRAPH]It is with this understanding that it is only the striving for absolute integrity that can hope to redeem humanity that von Trier vindicates his own oft-quoted Dogme manifesto with a moral dimension. In that much misunderstood document, a responsible film-maker just seeks to remind himself and anyone who cares to listen that creative falsity should be avoided: He declares himself to be an enemy of the facile and the formulaic, which are the stock-in-trade of the industrial manufacturers of mere entertainment.

[PARAGRAPH]Thus, the musical 'escapes' are the cruellest parts of the film, and the audience's manufactured pleasures are predicated on Selma's pain. It is deliberately contrived that the execution suite reminds us of the tiny amateur rehearsal stage for Selma's beloved 'Sound of Music': The ultimate escape, for us as for Selma, is from man's vicious contrivances. The spectacle of dancing in the dark finally seems like an access of shame and guiltiness on the director's part for his complicity in this relentless tragedy of a blameless, if perhaps mistaken, life: A complete aversion of the agent of sight, in a kind of upward-rolling cinematic faint, obliterates the uniquely visual nature of the medium. No shallow theme-park shudder can shake off this existential horror. And yet ... this juddering fearful monster is the breathing human heart: Terrible, but irreduceably it is Life, it is what makes us human.

[PARAGRAPH]It strikes one that there are themes here that could be pursued also, with some benefit, in a study of Kubrick's 'Clockwork Orange', recently re-released. From a Dogme point of view, it has recently struck me that Kubrick sees his own film as just another clockwork orange - just another disappointing toy, drained of all substance. Where Kubrick employed an increasingly abused Beethoven (and his misguided 'disciple' Alex) as an epic measure of modernity's meaninglessness, so von Trier gives us Bjork's child-like musical grace as a comparable measure of the terrible Fall of Man. It is neither the abominably misguided Alex, nor the naively confused Selma ('Silly Selma' as she calls herself) who are to blame for the state of this world. Of course, they are its necessary victims. They are both subject to cultural formulae of near-diabolical power, that influence them in ways they do not understand. The crude commercial materialism of Kubrick's Dystopia is as much the villain of his piece as is the 'happy-ever-after' Panglossianism that has so nearly seduced Selma, in von Trier's.

[PARAGRAPH]In both films, we are appalled by the reductive effect which modern culture, and even the very medium of communication, has upon the individual. This is the surest demonstration of the necessity of such unblinking creative honesty. Such individuals purify human experience, by their lonely willingness to confront the dark places of human experience. We are not far from the Aristotelian notion of 'catharsis', or purgation, in thinking so. Ours is a society sickened by a surfeit of addictive trash. Well, there's nothing like tragedy for sobering you up. It is a paradox often observed since the days of the earliest Greek dramas, that the spectacle of horror - conveyed not crudely, but with humane empathy, be it understood - is morally purifying. In this context, it is the censors who are the immoralists. Kubrick, of course, spared his film from the fate of being regarded as smut only fit for suppression, by withdrawing it himself. It had become a clockwork orange in the hands of the cultural arbiters. And its disappearance was another act in the tragedy of Alex - as the refusal by von Trier to conform to the commercial demands of the entertainment industry finds its dramatic counterpart in the musical delusions of Selma.

20 out of 25 people found the following review useful:
Fun! What's the problem?, 14 August 2002

Most comments on this confection of a film are so impatient and ill-tempered, I just had to write! This is light comedy for grown-ups and provides a perfectly delightful interlude. What's wrong with intelligent light entertainment? For goodness' sake, it's a bit of fun!

Perhaps the problem is that 'fun' today too often equates with the industrial pleasures of the theme-park. And the children, who like their fun noisy and physical, never can appreciate the pleasures of adults. Where there is civilized conversation, the kiddies only see a lot of boring grown-ups doing boring grown-up things.

This Peter Pan syndrome afflicts increasing numbers of the population. And it's not charming - it's downright worrying. One would almost think the influential arbiters of culture actually intended to arrest the development of the individual at this level of immaturity. But that, of course, would be a supposition beyond the scope of these Web pages to entertain.

My main purpose in writing was to encourage those with more developed tastes to see this picture. It is witty, attractive, amusing and utterly delightful - just like the two leads in their many and varied roles!

4 out of 35 people found the following review useful:
Lock it away - the Horror!, 6 August 2002

Granted, that only the grandest of silent films ever rises from the flailing ruins of those stuttering sentimental gestures, so mechanically struck by it's insubstantial shadow-marionnettes, faithful to the chattering death of the stilted society which rattled their bones like beads, only to shatter in the moonlight that drains any human warmth, just as night without a candle stiffly draws the blizzard of mothy ashes into the lime-light, light falling, frozen, dusty, over scenes that vision forgets - - - yet, at their best, these ghosts can demonstrate how to die with style.

Alas! not here the preposterous glories of a Phantom of the Opera.

Here, au contraire, a fitfully animated corpse rapidly freezes our living interest. The Man from Beyond, even as Houdini's alter ego, never succeeds in escaping his writer's block of ice. A notion not necessarily more preposterous than the gibbering of many a later entertainment, that has dabbled in the matter of Death, is quickly doomed by the unseeing eye of the director, and the shambling course of the plot.

The only escapade in which Houdini at last, though briefly, sloughs off his bonds of frozen celluloid is during the Niagra rescue sequence, when rapid cutting almost renders the drama fluid. But the trickle of inspiration issuing from the love-lorn block of ice, through the cold shower and restraint put on passion (in the cell where a heart was supposed to beat), gathering to an irresistible torrent of overwhelming passion above the Falls, just never gathers force. Perhaps Houdini's Freudian slipperiness was just too much for director Julian's imagination to hold on to?

Despite Julian's habitual Big White Hunter impersonation on set, with jackboots, johdpurs, and solar topee, this film is definitively the One That Got Away. Julian was himself the original and quintessential parody of the silent, Stroheim-fixated, movie director, and this film is the essential guide to everything we feared was true about Film before the sanity of sound came, and filled up the booming emptiness of those trackless wastes, where stranded, phosphorescent phantoms open and shut their useless mouths under the empty glare of the sand-filled lens of other days.

Let us restore these ashes to that Vault, from which no light escapes. This thing is a parody of light - a jerking, staggering, Dance of Death. Lock it away - the Horror!

19 out of 25 people found the following review useful:
Probably not intended to accompany a night of curry and lager withthe lads., 18 March 2002

Resnais' distinguished Nouvelle Vague career (e.g.: Hiroshima, mon amour - Stavisky - Life is a bed of roses) demands that we give this film our serious consideration. A faithful cinematic version, in French, of a play by the great contemporary English dramatist Alan Ayckbourn, the whole enterprise might appear to superficial critics as an impossibly eccentric undertaking: A quintessentially English comedy of manners turned into a film by an entirely French team! How can two such diverse national temperaments as the Gallic and the English possibly cohabit in any meaningful creative enterprise? Well, this is the challenge, of course, and there were once philistines who thought even Shakespeare could never be attempted en Francais. The interest of this film lies, indeed, very largely in the attempts of all concerned to acculturate themselves to an alien perspective; naturally, the results are mixed, and no-one fluent in English would want to deprive themselves of the version originale. However, a talented group of French actors succeed commendably, on the whole, in communicating the very particular English humour of the play. For this chance to increase their repertoire, the actors have to thank Resnais, whose choice of Ayckbourn was far from merely eccentric. He has obviously recognised in the Englishman a person who is as typically obsessed as himself with opening up narrative structure, and in finding more creative ways to tell a story. Though a very strange hybrid (especially for an Anglophone!) the enterprise is no monstrous abortion, but actually a very elegant and worthwhile tribute by our neighbours across La Manche. This is a most attractive film version of Ayckbourn's drama. It even succeeds in retaining a great deal of the downright hilarity of the original, which, in their plays, the fellow-countrymen of Shakespeare have learned early to intermix with the sadder side of life. In other words, we have here a suitably touching, hilarious and clever, and, moreover, a fascinatingly unexpected, version of a great original. Authentic Ayckbourn, comme Resnais authentique. Shame on us in Britain that it is not commercially available here!


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