Film

Mental Movie Moments 2: Tutti-Frutti!

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Used as a weapon to draw South American support for the war in Europe, Carmen Miranda had an odd career which saw being forced to her play on her image of a sexualised, then de-sexualised ‘easy’ Latin girl. When photographs surfaced of her infamous wardrobe malfunction (which theoretically should have further played into her sexy […]

How To Make Things Frightening

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Although I’ve written fewer of them in the last few years, I’ve always enjoyed a good supernatural story or film. In the last few years, the genre has become lost, without much of a way forward. Once it reflected simple fears of darkness and unknown lonely places, but subtlety is required to build the right […]

The Most English Films Ever Made

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The rubbish line-up of the Oscars this year set me thinking, not that I set any store by these awards; any supposed system of excellence that could ignore ‘The Wizard of Oz’, ‘Singing In The Rain’ and ‘Vertigo’ isn’t worth bothering with – If you were to look down the list of most popular British […]

Mental Movie Moments 1: Snake Shake

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I thought that from time to time we’d have a peculiar bit of celluloid here, preferably something not too well-known or recently seen. To start the ball rolling I stumbled across Debra Paget seducing a very realistic cobra with her, um, charms in this extraordinary clip from Fritz Lang’s ‘The Indian Tomb’.  

Mixing Art And Pleasure

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The Fun Part ‘In every job that must be done there is an element of fun…’ Thus spake Mary Poppins, and it can apply even in the most serious and thought-provoking stories. By ‘fun’, I mean that the reader/viewer/listener must be rewarded a little for the effort of paying attention. Every work of art is […]

Mine’s A Double: Films About Doppelgangers

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I’ve always written characters in pairs – it’s an unintentional recurring theme throughout my books. My mother was a twin whose brother died at 4 years of age from diphtheria (a now virtually forgotten illness), I have a brother to whom I’m very close, and I tend to form strong attachments with opposites for very […]

Another Childhood Hero Leaves

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When I was a kid I wanted to be Rod Taylor. He had a square jaw, a chin-dimple, twinkling eyes, wide shoulders, an Australian accent and a sense of fun about him, and he was therefore far more interesting than Hollywood heroes, most of whom I had no way of relating to. I score a […]

Re:View – ‘Kajaki’

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There’s a famous Edwardian quote about Afghanistan, that the more you leave the country alone the better things are for everyone. This has been borne out by a number of war films in the last three or four years, and while many were good (I couldn’t say ‘enjoyable’) they still teetered on the gung-ho militaristic […]

Best & Worst Films Of The Year

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It’s a safe bet that no-one will look back on 2014 and regard it as a classic year for Hollywood, which, as always, went where the money was – this time looking to the East, as films inserted locations and stars from China, Japan and India in an effort to increase revenue in those growing […]

The Rich Are Another Country

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There are times when not being American helps you take an outsider’s viewpoint on a true story; I came to ‘Foxcatcher’ knowing nothing about the peculiar life of John ‘Golden Eagle’ du Pont (played here by an unrecognisable Steve Carrell), from one of the richest families in the US, but I imagine a lot of […]