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Charming and quiet
A charming, quiet, unusual little story included in the "All for love" compendium on Masterpiece Theatre. A middle-aged woman (played beautifully by Richie) has taken care of her overbearing, opinionated mother (Laye, in real life a dance hall performer in the early 1900s) for years. Now the mother has died and left her daughter a tidy sum. She takes in a boarder, an eccentric older man (Whitrow), and is torn between her desire for freedom and her mother's 'voice' fueling her fears and suspicions about the man. The climax of the story is wonderfully odd and funny. It's a quiet thoughtful story, way better than most TV stories. Well worth the viewing if you can find it, which I haven't after losing my old video of it taped off-air years ago.
Outstanding Bible FIlm
One of the finest Bible story adaptations ever made, this little- remembered movie tells the story of the last half of Genesis (it could almost be a companion piece to Huston's "The Bible") in two parts: Part One depicts the rivalry of Esau and Jacob--how Jacob cheated his brother Esau, fled to Haran and was himself cheated into marrying a woman he didn't love. Eventually Jacob has twelve sons by four women. In Part Two the sons have grown up. Ten of them are jealous of Joseph (whose "technicolor dream coat" here is rather ordinary) and sell him into slavery. In Egypt Joseph rises out of slavery by his wit and divine interpretation of dreams. During a famine he brings about reconciliation with his brothers.
"Jacob and Joseph" is top-notch. The acting is much better than the typical Bible film. The characters speak and act like real people, not cardboard cutouts. The writing tells the stories faithfully, without unnecessary additions, yet in a refreshing way that even after over three decades is enjoyable to watch. A must-see and must-keep.
Heavens Above! (1963)
Gospel According to Sellers
"Heaven's Above!" is a wonderful, well-crafted satire that mocks not Christianity but hypocritical and cold "religious" people. It is a British version of "In His Steps" turned on its head and inside-out: what if a sincere believer (Sellers) attempts to live out the gospel in the middle of a spiritually dead English parish? Unchristian attitudes range from the Bishop who complains that Rev. Smallwood (Sellers) "keeps bringing God into everything," to two women arguing over free food they have just (undeservedly) received as handouts telling a black man (Brock Peters) "You don't belong here" under a banner that reads "Love one another."
The script is rife with topical political and social comments but the real focus is timeless: do people really believe what they say they believe? Is there a place for Christianity in a secular, materialistic society? The ending, which baffles some, gives the answer to this. All serious questions aside, "Heaven's above!" is a satirical, incisive look at human nature.