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Triquet the French tutor
I don't give a damn - he's STILL my favourite!!!!!!
Onegin is far over-rated, so at least the queue is shorter......
Any fans of 'Battleship Potemkin' should note that Simon McBurney has recently played Eisenstein in a film.
'Allo 'Allo! (1982)
Are there any French viewers of this programme out there?
If so, I'd be fascinated to know how French television dealt with the issue of the various accents and plays on words - particularly 'Good moaning'!
Would I be correct in assuming that French viewers would find Crabtree hilarious because he is a highly trained undercover SOE agent who cannot even speak French properly, and is therefore totally and utterly embarrassing to all the inhabitants of the town?
Father Ted (1995)
One of the things that particularly strikes me about this series is the intense fear the priests have of nuns.
This was especially apparent in the episode where Father Ted is convinced the attractive lady novelist is in love with him, then gets the hump in a big way after he discovers she is so fed up with her 'empty', 'meaningless' life that she has applied to enter a convent.
Judging from the way the nuns tend to be portrayed in this series, I can see he has a good point.
I appreciate that the characters and plotlines are all exaggerated to the point of surrealism for comic effect, but still gain the distinct impression that many real truths about life in Eire and general human nature lie underneath the lunacy.
So I'd be very interested to hear from Irish viewers of whatever religious persuasion how scary they find nuns, and what the reason is for the fear. Do you agree that this series turns the fear into classic comedy?
Robespierre is in serious need of some good PR after this film!
I have a number of complaints about this film, chief among them the interpretation of Robespierre by the scriptwriter.
Okay, so the bloke wore a wig, powdered his face and had a bit of a penchant for frilly shirts - but this was quite normal for European bourgeoise and aristocratic men of ALL sexual orientations at this period.
Also, it was quite common in late 18th century Europe for both genders to find it easier to establish strong emotional bonds with another person of the same sex. Men, particularly if they had received the sort of education that Robespierre and many of the other male revolutionaries had, frequently subscribed to the Ancient Roman/Athenian theory of male friendships being somehow 'nobler' and 'purer' than those between men and women, which would probably involve sex on some level.
Saint-Just did indeed write adoring letters to Robespierre but, as far as I am aware, these missives all seem to refer to his 'brilliance' as a politician, rather than his lovely green eyes etc. Don't forget, Saint-Just held plenty of radical socio-political views of his own, so he was delighted to find out that his great hero and mentor Robespierre agreed with him on so many points. Plus the so-called 'Angel of Death' was ambitious and idealistic in his own right, as his subsequent career showed.
For the record, many of today's queer historians do not think the evidence for the suggested Robespierre/St-Just 'affair' to be very strong, which means that this film may well be historically inaccurate in this key respect. However, this would not matter in the slightest, if only the script weren't so crudely and obviously homophobic and heterosexist.
You often get the impression that Robespierre's paranoia and cruelty are the direct result of his aberrant' sexuality. Saint-Just panders to him simply because he fancies him, not because he is ambitious or might actually believe the revolutionary ideology. And Desmoulins gets an appointment with the National Razor after refusing the Incorruptible's advances, rather than because he writes articles that would be considered dangerously subversive in the prevailing political climate.
I also completely fail to understand why Danton is supposed' to be such a great' statesman when his main hobbies are drinking and chasing women. When does he ever get the time to do some proper work? And how the hell is he able to view the terrible problems of the nation with anything even approaching equananimity? Perhaps this is WHY he drinks and shags so much?
Another thing that bugs me about this film is the prejudiced and historically inaccurate portrayal of many of the Jacobins and their sympathisers. It is implied that most of the members of the Committee of Public Safety are as spiritually and politically 'arid' and morally 'perverse' as Robespierre himself, Couthon and Verguid being two of the best examples here. Also, there are no historical records that I am aware of that show Eleanour Duplay beating her brother for any reason whatever.
Finally, I understand that Pszoniak's voice was dubbed in by another actor. This is a common practice in European films, but it still disturbed me in this particular instance, creating the slightly unnerving impression that even Robespierre's voice wasn't human, but belonged to a dybbuk.
Just for the record, my Polish friend tells me that she and all her classmates were taken to the cinema in Gdansk to see this film just after it had been released. She says that nothing whatsoever was said by their teachers about it being an allegory of Solidarity's fight against Jaruszelski, or Polish nationalism versus Stalinism. She can't remember very much about the film at all, apart from Danton drinking, Robespierre powdering his face and all the politicians talking as much fine-sounding rubbish as their counterparts do today.
Napoléon vu par Abel Gance (1927)
Please note, this film does NOT provide documentary footage of the French Revolution!
I've recently noted that the producers of historical documentaries broadcast in the UK are very keen on using footage from silent films such as 'Napoleon' to give the impression that the viewer is actually watching the real historical events in action.
Presumably they believe that shots of still pictures from the actual period in question are too 'static' and 'boring' for today's audiences.
Not seen Raquel Welch in her mammoth-fur bikini yet, but it can only be a matter of time.
I'd be very interested to hear what other people think about this trend.
The Scarlet Pimpernel (1999)
There IS something good about this programme
The Incorruptible is class in a glass.
Ronan Vibert's marvellous portrayal is the main reason I watched all this series.
Apart from Robespierre, I also liked Chauvelin and Monsieur Foumier.
I tend to agree that Margeurite was somewhat miscast, and that many of the female characters were often badly dressed, made up and coiffed.
Talking of which, Robespierre really DID own a cauliflower wig a la Salieri in Peter Shaffer's 'Amadeus'! AND a stripy jacket in that precise colourway.
The Barchester Chronicles (1982)
Alan Rickman is a great virtue - and a great problem
Alan Rickman was apparently the second choice for the part of Obadiah Slope. I have no idea who the original selection was - but I bet he's been kicking himself ever since!
In the book, Slope is portrayed as a somewhat uneasy cross between a buffoon and a disturbing snake in the grass. Every time he threatens to become too dangerous, Trollope proceeds to undermine him again.
I believe that the reason why Rickman was offered the part is because the director wanted an actor who could come across as amusing and sleazy, yet plausibly creepy - and sexy.
Slope HAS to possess a great deal of animal magnetism, as this is what explains the extremely strong reaction he produces in otherwise respectable ladies of whatever age.
Rickman certainly gets THAT across - in spades. He may not be conventionally good-looking - but he's totally incapable of playing an asexual character.
Problem is, he ends up completely overwhelming Mrs Bold's other two suitors. Any heterosexual female viewer with any sense will keep shouting at the screen: "You daft bat! Forget Arabin! It's Slope you want!!!!!"
I agree, Arabin is far better served by the book than this adaptation.