Saturday, February 18, 2006

Spirit of '73

Not content with gorging myself on the final two episodes of the fantabulously excellent Life on Mars* (thanks to sneaky preview DVD bestowed upon me by very kind benefactor), this weekend I’ve also been getting into 1973 in a big way by purchasing DVDs of The Wicker Man and Don’t Look Now, neither of which I’d seen before.

Tabby Rabbit came round to Quinquireme Towers to partake in the resulting impromptu Seventies British Horror Afternoon, which turned out not to be nearly as horrifying as the amount of tea and cake (especially cake) we consumed while viewing.

Live commentary on Don’t Look Now went something like:

- I was always falling in ponds when I was little.

- Oh look, it’s turned into a dodgy seventies porn film.

- Well, he’s got the moustache for it.

- How tall do you think she is?

- Yes, but she can get away with wearing a black polo-neck, because she hasn’t got any tits.

- How did her hair get so straight on the plane?

- Oh, I like her boots.

- Oo, it’s just like that time we went fossil-hunting in Dorset.

- I don’t think I like her boots after all.

- Oh, I can’t look!

- Wow, look at the fake blood.

- Hmm, that wasn’t very scary.

- Well, he should have seen it coming, shouldn’t he?

The Wicker Man, on the other hand, was total quality from start to finish. I’ve been led to believe by almost every bloke I’ve ever met that it is in fact the greatest film of all time. I see now that this curiously unanimous judgment may not be based on detached critical appreciation so much as on the lengthy footage of Britt Ekland cavorting naked in front of some (surprisingly tasteful) curtains.

I personally enjoyed the amusing transformation in Chris Lee’s hairstyle as his “pagan nutcase” persona emerged, and the aerial shots of the Quiraing at the beginning. And Scotland *is* lovely in May, human sacrifice or no human sacrifice, so they definitely got that right.

All in all, The Wicker Man is a bit like Eyes Wide Shut with drystone walls and moss, but only half as long and minus Tom Cruise, which makes it a winner all round.

In other news, it's my Dad's birthday today. Happy birthday Dad.

UPDATE: In accordance with the general spirit of 1973 hovering over Quinquireme Towers, there's a fantastic black Ford Capri parked across the street from me, which I am coveting. I keep expecting John Simm and Philip Glenister to tumble out of it shouting "We're Life on Mars, son, and we haven't had any dinner!"

* Which has had a second series commissioned, hurrah!


Betty said...

Happy birthday to your dad.

Britt Ekland complained about the fact that a body double had been used in those scenes who had "an enormous ass" or something along those lines. Anyway, The Wicker Man is defintely one of the funniest films of all time, and the soundtrack frightens me.

Dave again said...

My first ever car was a silver Capri, with a black vinyl roof. It was dead cool (as we didn't say in those days, which may or may not have been the 70's, I couldn't possibly say).

My girlfriend (shortly to become my wife; as of yesterday my ex) made me sell it, as it made her travel sick. Love, eh?

Dave F said...

The Wicker Man is the greatest anti-film ever made. The horrible ending lifted it to the hall of fame ... or flame. I am very interested to see how the American version will transmogrify its Hammer House of Horror kitsch genius. I know they've set it on an island off the US coast. My guess would be somewhere like Roanoke. You can bet whoever plays the Edward Woodward part won't get toasted though.

nibus said...

Ahh The Wicker Man - I've stood on his legs, you know. And I know the bloke that found that frog etc etc.

patroclus said...

I was going to mention that, as well.

phwvwnkrc - the sound of Sam Tyler and Gene Hunt's Cortina screeching to a halt in an early 70s Manchester back street.

I'm not obsessed with Life on Mars at all, oh no.

Tabby Rabbit said...

It was indeed a top afternoon. I think I was *quite* restained in my cake consumption, relatively speaking...

A body double? How did that work - tricky logistics surely? - there was a lot of spinning around and cavorting in between the wall- and arse- slapping.

Nibus - cool claim to fame.

Tabby Rabbit said...

PS Am I being thick? (don't answer that) - what is the exact current status of Dave's relationship with the Capri-hater?

>>shortly to become my wife; as of yesterday my ex>>

patroclus said...

I believe that the period of Capri ownership came before Dave married his wife, from whom he is now divorced.

I think we should get a Capri as a company pool car. A nice sky-blue one with red leather seats. I think it would send the right message to clients and prospects.

That message being: "We're technology marketers, son, and we haven't had any dinner."

LC said...

When I was eight there was a bloke who lived at the end of my road and had a black Capri with a big eagle painted across the bonnet and a Knight-Rider style LED thingy mounted over the radiator. I thought it was the coolest thing in the world ever, but I was only eight - he was in his mid-twenties and had no excuse.

Dave again said...

Patroclus is correct in her interpretation of my relationship. Sorry for the clumsy wording.

GreatSheElephant said...

when I had a proper job, one of my assistants had a Capri. She was also a witch and used to cruise around in it hurling curses out of the window

patroclus said...

Oo, I'm so envious of that. In my younger days I used to fancy that I would get some piercings, become a programmer and drive around rural Berkshire in a sky-blue Capri with leopard-print seats.

I got the piercings (well, one), but I never managed to learn Java or buy a Capri. Shattered dreams.

Now I'm thinking I could have updated the whole witch thing for the digital era by writing spells in Javascript, and shouting lines of malevolent code out of the window of the Capri of Doom.

I think I've missed my calling.

entropy said...

I think you should seriously consider the digi witch thing. (Wasn't the computer teacher in series 1/2 of Buffy a "techno-pagan"? I like your version better)

You could hang vaguely occult symbols and USB dongles off the rear view mirror of the Capri of Doom. That'll put the fear of Java into them.

patroclus said...

Hahahaa - the fear of Java!

I'm too nice (I think) to be a witch, and also I don't have enough flowing hippy skirts - in fact I don't have any. But I do like the idea of the mind as computer (Neal Stephenson enthusiasts: emit collective groan now).

And I've been looking for something to do with my USB keys. Must. Get. Capri. It all makes some hideous kind of sense.

Stef the engineer said...

HOW? How can they have a second series of the fabulous "Life on Mars"? How? Why? I guess I'll have to wait, as no-one saw fit to give me a preview disk. I don't mix in the right circles, I guess.
As for the Buffy Technopagan reference, I will run off to look it up in my copy of "The Quotable Slayer." A gift, I hasten to add. (Maybe I do mix in the right circles after all.)

patroclus said...

Have no fear - it's still a cracking last episode to Life on Mars, Stef. Though for some reason my favourite ep is still the hostage one - i.e. the one everyone else seemed to like least.