lost_spook: (Dracula)
Now I've finally finished my Thriller (Part 1) review/picspam post, I am behind again. Let me talk about what I have been watching over the last couple of months (or more), other than the first 5 discs of Thriler.

1. I finished Secret Army. I did mostly enjoy it, although I got impatient with it again at the end. Terence Hardiman as Reinhardt (who doesn't give a damn about anything since they've lost the war and most of his friends have just been executed in the wake of the assassination attempt on Hitler) did liven things up, though. He was great, and not even actually evil, either. (Particularly his exit when Spoiler ) Kessler is rightly both awful and complex, of course, and Clifford Rose was very good in the role.) Bernard Hepton spent most of the last series in prison, on film, but he did eventually escape and return to the studio, and I gave it a lot of plus points for what eventually happened with Monique, too. Anyway, I watched it! I now know where 'Allo 'Allo is coming from.


2. I skipped ahead briefly to watch Suzanne Neve's second Thriller, and while I'll cover it in its turn, I can report that she is better at terrorising innocent Americans than James Maxwell: she sticks them in her underground pottery kiln and bakes them, no angsting required. 1970s Suzanne Neve is so far a lot more evil than 1960s Suzanne Neve. (I would side-eye the ending of the 1968 Dracula here, but personally, I blame Ed Bishop for throwing her down the stairs in UFO.)


3. I finally got to the E-Space trilogy (DW), watching Full Circle and State of Decay (before an appropriate break for the BBC 1977 Dracula). Full Circle has a good SF idea at the heart, but nothing else much with which to pad it out. Except Adric, but, er, well...

I enjoyed State of Decay a lot, though, especially in comparison to Full Circle (it's good to see that future spaceships will go on with BBC Acorn computers on board!). Plus, the whole Time Lords and Vampires mythology backstory is potentially fun to play with and Romana gets two great costumes, while Adric spends at least an episode unconscious, and it has a great look, particularly for that era, especially the location scenes. What more could I ask for? (I'm sorry: Adric wasn't bad in this one! I'm mean, I know.)


4. And so, then, what more appropriate than that I pause to watch the TV show that caused State of Decay to be postponed for 3 years and gave us Horror of Fang Rock instead? (Accidentally; my viewing is not really that well planed!)

I'm not really sure why the BBC were so nervy about this version of Dracula that they thought DW doing vampires at the same time might make them look silly, but apparently they were. They had no need: this is lovely. It's unlike most of the old TV I've been watching - it was 1977 doing glossy event TV with a 2 1/2 hr feature-length version of the novel that's probably the most faithful adaptation still. (Although there are some changes, of course.) It was very good! I recommend it even if you're not usually into old TV, but are into Dracula. (I believe it is up on YouTube, and I got the DVD pretty cheap anyway.)

Cut for further Dracula rambling )


6. I then decided that I should stop being wimpish and watch the rest of Mystery and Imagination. I'd already seen "Dracula", the Ian Holm "Frankenstein" and "The Suicide Club" (the one with David Collings and the cream tarts and the invisible hyenas and Major Geraldyne, because obv. that is the one that David Collings would be in). The Freddie Jones "Sweeney Todd" was out because I Do Not Do Sweeney Todd, which left me with "Uncle Silas" and "The Curse of the Mummy" out of the Thames adaptations, so I watched "The Curse of the Mummy." More about 1960s TV Victorian horror ) After that, I thought I'd had more than enough horror for a bit and left "Uncle Silas "unwatched and returned to Doctor Who and E-Space.


7. Warrior's Gate was very weird and also had Clifford Rose being excellent again. It was definitely the good weird, though, in that way only Classic Who is every once in a while. I mean, it looks like the stranger kind of 80s pop video (one that would definitely get nominated for Yuletide), so it wouldn't be for everyone, but still: the good weird/meta, I think, with bonus believably mundane, petty villains and random lion people. (It must be Doctor Who. <3)


8. I recorded Mrs Miniver off the telly, and the main thing I have taken from this is that Julian Fellowes stole the flower show plot for Downton Abbey. And given that I already know that he stole two plotlines/backstories and a minor incident from Duchess of Duke Street (as well as acting in it), I am now wondering with some interest and amusement, where exactly he swiped everything else from. (Anything from Upstairs Downstairs, maybe?) It's kind of engagingly blatant swiping, though. And gives us May Whitty vs Maggie Smith! Oh my. (I did like it, but it was made mid-WWII and so is very patriotic etc. But well done! There were some really good scenes, and Dame May Whitty as well as Greer Garson, and it was very watchable still.)


9. I also recorded the next old series Drama was offering as well, which is When the Boat Comes In. It stars Jack and Esther from New Tricks (James Bolam and Susan Jameson, who are married in rl, and going out in this). It is early 20th C Tyneside and the first episode was grim about shellshocked returning soldiers, the second had a poor orphan shipped off to Australia alone, and then the continuity announcer went, "And next, things get even harder..." It is, as they say, grim oop north. It seems good so far, though. And maybe one day the boat will come in; there are at least 40 eps on my DVR already and they may not all be equally depressing...


* I don't know if this is really a downside, though. It is very funny.
lost_spook: (margaret lockwood)
I find this post has been lurking in draft since the end of June, so I think it's about time I posted it, really. I've watched a fair bit in summer and posted less than usual. Anyway, this is a post of various Old Films.

I got another Ealing Rarities collection (Vol 2) for my birthday, and this one was a bit of a disappointment compared to the previous installments. It contained Midshipman Easy (1935), Brief Ecstasy (1937), The Big Blockade (1942), and The Four Just Men (1939), and this post has been lurking mainly because I couldn't think what to say about Midshipman Easy, but I shall solve that by not bothering. The rest of this post I wrote two and half months ago, as is:

Brief Ecstasy was... well. Couple meet for one evening, the guy is a pilot and v stalkery (because he only has one evening), then he flies off somewhere round the world and sends a telegram asking her to marry him (it was a really great evening, okay), which she doesn't get. So, she gets a science degree, but then marries her science professor, who persuades her to go stay at home, because men are basically rubbish, possibly, I'm not sure what else it was trying to say. More under here )

Disc 2 contained a WWII propaganda film (Big Blockade), which I didn't feel like watching, so I moved onto The Four Just Men, which was really enjoyable until the last twenty minutes when suddenly it broke into an unexpected burst of rabid patriotism. I can't blame them too much, because 1939, obviously, but it does feel so off in tone from the rest of it that I can't help wondering if war was declared when they were halfway through making it and they felt obliged to suddenly alter the ending to be properly supporting the war effort. It's all: la la la shenanigans shenanigans WAIT NO I LOVE THE LITTLE COUNTRY LANES GOD SAVE THE KING AND THE BRITISH EMPIRE THE END and Anna's Lee's reporter character fades away in the blast of it. (The first 2/3s are fun, though.)

However, I was particularly amused when one of the four just men (who was an actor) decided to impersonate the evil MP and give a speech in Parliament. It was all v well done, but the MP in question was played by Alan Napier, who was nearly twice the height of everyone else in the 1930s. (IMBD says he was 6"6 and I see no reason to doubt it in this case). It wasn't quite as excellent as that time Patrick McGoohan decided that of all the random impoverished artists in 60s London he was going to impersonate, he should pick David Collings, but it was pretty close.

(Nobody noticed in either case. You have to worry about TV/film people sometimes.)


I also finally got The Stars Look Down (1940) film starring Michael Redgrave and Margaret Lockwood and directed by Carol Reed, set in a small mining community in the north east. What could possibly go wrong? More under here )

Happily, in between all this, I recorded Pride & Prejudice (1940) off the telly, and this was pretty much an unmitigated delight, although I was rather taken aback by the ending where it suddenly veers sharply away from the book into blink-inducing crack. My least favourite part of this being that Lizzy neither has a letter from Mr Darcy, nor visits Pemberley and thus changes her mind after... er... well, Mr Darcy does get to say some of the letter's content in their argument? Plus, she fancies him. (Fair enough, I suppose.) AND THEN LADY CATHERINE WAS IN CAHOOTS WITH MR DARCY AND EVERYONE GOT MARRIED AT ONCE. EVERYONE. Well, not Lady Catherine but if they'd had one more minute, probably.

However, it truly was a delightful thing and now it's joined the ranks of films that I recorded off the TV to save buying but now clearly need my own copy of anyway. Also I said nobody would ever displace Benjamin Whitrow's Mr Bennet in my heart (the true reason P&P 1995 is forever my favourite) but this one had a very good go at dislodging him by casting Edmund Gwenn (frequently one of the best things about any given 30s film he's in, as far as I'm concerned).
lost_spook: (Northanger reading)
(I'm still not doing anything for [community profile] fandom_stocking. Luckily it should open soon and then I can relax and do something else! I forget, of course, that 'better' when you've been bad is a relative term.

Also I seem to have given the impression to everyone that Manhunt is rubbish and it really isn't; it was just a bit up and down and sexist to begin with & I get very little out of protracted 'action' sequences. It's now reached an impressively consistent high standard. Vincent, Nina, and Jimmy, though, remain the most rubbish. Strangely, everyone was a lot more interested in watching it despite this, much more so than anybody is when I tell them old TV is good. Reverse psychology??)

Anyway, look at me, this makes it twice in a year (not calendar year) at least this time. I probably won't read enough to make it every Wednesday, but hopefully more often. I am optimistic!

What I've Just Finished Reading

And So To Murder by Carter Dickson, which I finished up quite quickly after I posted the other day. It was good fun and I enjoyed it. I still don't know whether to praise the BBC for giving me lovely mental casting (the three characters who were the most fun were played by Suzanne Neve, William Russell, and Stephanie Bidmead) or curse them for burninating it, but it did add to the book, so I suppose I'd better at least be a tiny bit grateful.

As I said, Monica Stanton (aka Suzanne Neve) is a vicar's daughter who writes a steamy Romance novel in 1939; her aunt, distressed, wonders why she couldn't write a nice detective novel, like those by Bill Cartwright (Wm Russell):

Now Monica Stanton, to begin with, had no real grievance against that inoffensive form of entertainment known as the detective-story. She neither liked nor disliked it. She had read a few, which struck her as being rather far-fetched and slightly silly, although doubtless tolerable enough if you liked that sort of thing. But, by the time her aunt had finished, Monica was in such a state that she had come to curse the day Sir Arthur Conan Doyle was born. It was a wordless, mindless passion of hatred. As for Mr William Cartwright... Monica felt that she would like to poison Mr Cartwright with curare, and dance on his grave.

Read more... )

Before Christmas, I can now say that I was for obvious reasons, re-reading a lot of Miss Marple as well as reading Dracula for the first time (my reactions are in my Yuletide reveals post).

I also finished Venetia by Georgette Heyer, a re-read, although it was one of the books I rashly gave away a while ago, so it had been a long time. Very enjoyable, of course, and I am very happy to have a copy again. It is very sad that after a year of reading Regency Romances, I still haven't found anyone even a tiny bit like Georgette Heyer. I wish there would be, somewhere, in some period or other.


What I'm Reading Now

I'm a bit between things, but I continue with the very excellent The Victorian City by Judith Flanders in NF. (I am even taking notes for family history, which is a very exciting development as of the last few weeks and months. It's taken a bit of patient building up, but I'm able to do it a little again.)


What I'm Reading Next

That is the question. I was looking at my TBR (when spoons) pile and seeing whether any of them clicked easily, but I haven't decided which one to try next or whether just to re-read something to build up a little more stress-free stamina first before I risk reading a new-to-me book that might get killed by CFS. (I'd rather wait and be fair in my first reading). We shall see!
lost_spook: (Default)
Deciding on what to icon next takes far longer than making icon sets... Anyway, I remembered that I wanted to cap and icon some of the Margaret Lockwood films and as this set was clearly meant for The Wicked Lady (1945), that's what I did. (Featuring Margaret Lockwood, Patricia Roc, James Mason, Griffith Jones & Michael Rennie.)

Teaser:

 photo caroline1_zpscpzef4l7.png  photo kiss1_zpsuraweuks.png  photo ac3_zpsk8v8yh9i.png

Why did you shoot that horse? I'd rather kill a man any day! )

Credits: Screencaps my own. Textures by tiger_tyger. The usual rules apply: want, take, have, credit. Comments = ♥ and hotlinkers will be shot down like a dog on the highway.

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