Sunday, 21 January 2018

The Sunday Funnies are back!

Apparently, the person in question admitted headbutting a barman. I only include this one as an excuse to show once again one of my favourite film clips:

Having watched Cathy Newman's Jordan Peterson interview again, I have to say she put in a monumentally lousy performance

Yes, I know I'm late to this game, and that commenter David Moss has already provided a link to a Spectator article about the Channel 4 interview - but it's just been one of those weeks. I've now watched it again, and, while Little Miss Prim's failure to land a single punch while leaping into every logical elephant trap as it appears in front of her (each with its own large sign reading "Whatever You Do, Avoid This Trap Or You'll Look Very Very Silly Indeed")...

A feast of vintage British films: King Solomon's Mines, Tawny Pipit, The Rocking Horse Winner and Mine Own Executioner

I recorded King Solomon's Mines recently when I realised it was the 1937 version, rather than the 1950 adaptation starring Stewart Grainger (of whom, I've always found, a little goes a long way). This old black and white classic is ridiculously enjoyable - classic Hollywood hokum. At least, that's what I'd assumed until that splendid English actor Roland Young, when he and his companions are faced with an angry African tribe, uttered the immortal line,"Would it do any good if I whipped my trousers off, d'you think?" hard on the heels of "So unlike the home life of our dear queen", “Seem to be a lot of people about, for an uninhabited country”, “No reason for being insanitary, even in Africa”,  “I suppose we’re going to have melons today. Don’t the birds in this country ever lay eggs?”, and, in reference to a repulsive 100-year old witch doctor,  “Reminds me of my poor old Aunt Hannah… she came to no good.” Despite the lavishness of the production, and Paul Robeson blasting out a series of utterly inappropriate songs, it just didn't feel American...

Saturday, 20 January 2018

Definitive proof that the NHS can help you lose weight!

The good news is that I've lost 11lb. in just a few days! The bad news is I've done so by adopting the tried and tested "puke your guts up" crash diet. On Wednesday, I had a hospital appointment with a physiotherapist, as part of my CFS clinic programme. It went well - he was kind enough to say that, given my existing daily routine of walks and stretching exercises, I was already half-way there. He made a number of suggestions, showed me some new exercises, and another appointment was arranged for next month. My wife had been kind enough to drive me to the hospital and wait to take me home again (there is literally no way of reaching Hillingdon Hospital by public transport, and finding a parking space in any of its four car parks is virtually impossible). I got into the car feeling quite pleased with myself...but then complained of a sensation of "tightness" in my stomach...

Tuesday, 16 January 2018

I doubt if I'll read a more enjoyable book this year than Christopher Fowler's "The Book of Forgotten Authors"

I downloaded this 2017 compendium after clicking the "Look inside" button on Amazon and reading the list of authors covered. My wife had been talking about E.M. Delafield, whose Diary of a Provincial Lady she was reading for a book group.  Vaguely recognising the name, I did some googling and discovered that E.M. Delafield (born Edmée Elizabeth Monica de la Pasture) was a prolific English writer, who produced 40 novels, plays and short story collections before her death in 1943, aged 53. A few days later, I happened upon Christopher Fowler's 2017 book on Amazon, found E.M. Delafield's name in the contents section (in among some rather surprising choices), and downloaded it. Glad I did.

Saturday, 13 January 2018

I've just seen my grandmother for the first time in 50 years - in a film!

Janet Mulholland in her first - and only - film role, as a Shetlander bringing a British naval officer something nice to eat (a realistic touch, as she was one hell of a cook). The film's Norwegian title was...

Wednesday, 10 January 2018

Classical figures - modern settings (hat-tip: SVWG)

One more...

From "Vertigo" to "Jaws" to "Kong: Skull Island" - the history of the perspective-distorting "dolly zoom"

We were watching Kong: Skull Island the other night when my son pointed out "one of those shots" where the people/objects in the foreground stay the same size (or get slightly bigger) while something weird happens to the background - it gets...wider? Or closer? Further away? Anyway...something disconcerting happens up there on the screen to ratchet up the tension by suggesting the world has somehow shifted on its axis. I knew the technique had been used in Jaws. I was convinced Spielberg had deployed it during the scene where Roy Scheider is spooning fish guts into the water from the stern of Quint's boat - but my memory was at fault, as I discovered while watching a brilliant new documentary about Stephen Spielberg on Sky Atlantic earlier today. The famous "dolly zoom" appears at 2'01" in this scene: