Saturday, January 30, 2010

They Made Me Do It!

There’s a meme going round – e.g. Scarlet, Kevin – which asks one "to share three classic movie moments that have, in some shape or form, made me buy things/do things/think things that perhaps I shouldn't have." This is going to sound horribly pretentious, but my parents didn’t like ITV, so I think I never caught the buying-things-I’ve-seen-on-the-screen bug – we had Scrabble instead of KerPlunk.... I know, deprived – so I’ve chosen scenes that influenced or encouraged my thinking, whether for good or for bad I shall not judge.

Here’s the final scene from The Third Man, a film I’ve gone on about before. I think it was the last moments of this, the love-fascination, the fatalism - the monotony, even – the music of course, and Mittel Europa shot in black-and-white that started a particular romantic journey for me. And it may have started me smoking Balkan Sobranie (I’ve stopped now).



Here’s Karl Marx and Irene Handl (might communism have been an altogether more personable experience if only they’d stayed together??), and Morgan demonstrating that being a nutter and beating one’s chest like a gorilla are perfectly acceptible actions in the face of a complicated world. It was all the justification I needed at the time.



I did end up complicating my life a little, but I’ve tried to keep a sense of humour. Here’s Heaven from Powell and Pressburger’s 1946 film A Matter Of Life and Death. Amusingly, it’s black-and-white - compared to Earth which is full, garish Technicolor - and the set design apparantly is based on a Midlands bus station, but it’s a human, egalitarian, all-inclusive, Clement Atlee-ish sort of heaven, and, though I know we’re not supposed to take it seriously, I rather like it.

20 comments:

Camilla Jessop said...

There was a lot of disgusting symbolism in The Third Man - eg, that pussy rubbing on Harry Lime's leg was suggestive of an unpleasant male seduction technique. But Anton Karas's beautiful zither playing opened the way for the the delightful Shirley Abicair. Now there was a girl who was wholesome and succeeded with her charm - instead of constantly displaying her top bottom like so many girls seem to do these days.

Madame DeFarge said...

Agree completely with the Third Man and AMoLaD - two of my all time favourites. Did you ever read Irene Handl's book The Sioux? Fabulous stuff. Most unlike what you expect from her.

Gorilla Bananas said...

What a calumny! Gorillas have never been interested in Marxism - I was put on the CPGB's enemies' list for insulting one of their cadres. Do you only like black-and-white movies?

Lulu LaBonne said...

Do you talk in a clipped Bee Bee Cee accent Gadj? - I do hope so

Must say that I'm quite keen to see that Pressburger film now

Kevin Musgrove said...

"The Third Man" and "A Matter Of Life And Death" - I salute you, sir!

Didn't Irene Handl throw Karl Marx over for Metal Mickey?

Gadjo Dilo said...

Camilla, there is an awful lot of front-bottom displaying these days, you're quite right, I was telling Mrs Dilo only the other day. Shirley Abicair is a new name on me, but haven't yet found a recording of her with her zither.

Madame, I'd love to read that! Irene Handl was a treasure, and I fear we didn't quite treasure her enough when she was still with us.

Bananas, I also like russet, I feel there are not enough russet movies made these days.

Lulu, no I don't, I really don't, though one rather wishes one did when watching the likes of Trevor Howard.

Kevin, I had a feeling you'd be with me on this one :-) She did, yes, and never regretted it for a moment (that beard was frightfully itchy).

Alice Scradcza said...

Roger Livesey was in 'A matter of Life and Death'. He worked in an aircraft factory in the war - I think he was a welder.

Gadjo Dilo said...

Alice, Roger Livesey did indeed work in an aircraft factory during the war and therefore may have been a welder - though not, obviously, if he was building the de Havilland Mosquito.

Gaw said...

Great to see a bit of the Third Man. Imagine what that cigarette tasted like right at the close! Funny how Trevor Howard, the representative English man in the film, was Hungarian.

Great to see a bit of David Warner, too. Since seeing him play Wallander's Dad, I'd like to see more of. Don't know this film. I suppose I should watch it?

Gadjo Dilo said...

Gaw, I knew that Leslie Howard was Hungarian, but Trevor Howard? That could explain why he was such an appallingly bad drunk! I'm not the best person to ask about which films you should watch, but that one's quite interesting - may look dated now though, of course.

Gaw said...

Got a bit confused there. One of them was a terrible alky too. Or were they both? I shan't hazard a guess as it would be likely to be wrong.

Nikos said...

"Roger Livesey was in 'A matter of Life and Death'. He worked in an aircraft factory in the war - I think he was a welder."

More like a rivetter! Had he worked at a shipyard he might have been a welder. It's possible that he he could have worked at a flying boat factory?

Nikos said...

"There was a lot of disgusting symbolism in The Third Man - eg, that pussy rubbing on Harry Lime's leg was suggestive of an unpleasant male seduction technique...."

Apparently they had to use two different pussies during the filming as one of them got run down by a tram! My old Dad told me never to work with animals...

Scarlet Blue said...

And do you still like to give ladies of a certain age piggy back rides?
Sx

Gadjo Dilo said...

Gaw, Trev was a terrible alky and Les was an appalling womaniser (at least, Wikipedia sez he woz).

Nikos, old chap, lovely to make your acquaintance! It is quite possible, else that or at the RAF's secret Underwater Aircraft Maunfacturing Facility in Bovingdon.

Has Mrs Pounc... I mean Jessop put you up to this?? I'd heard they used three: one was secreted under Orson Welles' hat for the entire duration of the filming as the dreadful old thesp said it's purring was the only thing left that made him sexually excited and therefore able to function as an actor.

Gadjo Dilo said...

Scarley, I didn't know I ever did, but I'll take your word for it! (Have you got film of this, or something?)

Affer said...

"Alice, Roger Livesey.....may have been a welder - though not, obviously, if he was building the de Havilland Mosquito."

Why not? A swift visit to the DH Museum in North London will demonstrate that there was a lot of metal in 'The Wooden Wonder'!!

Gadjo Dilo said...

Affer, welcome to this blog. There was metal in The Wooden Wonder?? I'm disapointed, I thought it held together with dove-tail jointing and Copydex! I'm sure you're right though.

Pat said...

Thanks for the memory of cuckoo clocks, Balkan Sobranie and the zither.
Madame D I was going to mention Irene's smashing book but couldn't remember the title.
I remember Shirley Abicair - have a feeling she came from down under and I saw David Warner's Hamlet - very fast - plenty of time for the last train.

Gadjo Dilo said...

Hi Pat! A fast Hamlet would be a good idea, stop him indulging in all that morbid introspection. I'm now very intrigued as to what is in Ms. Handl's book - it must be good.