Sunday, June 13, 2004

the fallen madonna and darkly funny new england

Thanks to a friend and some technology, I got a chance to relive some memories of bellyaches of laughter -- the cause: the pilot for the outragous ribald 'Allo 'Allo. One thing that went by unnoticed the last time I caught the series (when Star Plus was not infested with soaps and dimwit detergent dunderfests from the K-fetishist and her satellites!): Michelle's fake French accent differs from Rene's. The creators Jeremy Lloyd and David Croft were also responsible for the other ribald (and admittedly more risqué) Are you being served?. Now if only I could get my hands on the whole series and the other ribald rocker The New Statesman.

Finally, finally, finally, I caught The Trouble With Harry (on a collector's edition DVD at that). Although significant as being the first film that Hitchcock collaborated with Bernard Herrmann, this black comedy set in New England (sourced from a novel set in England) has been a rare gem. Very few Hitchcock studies or retros give it as much attention as his other defining works, despite it being a composite of elements that came the closest to defining this enigmatic director with the manners of a gentleman, and a wit so dry and droll it perfectly matched his obsession with death and all things related. Herrmann even collected some of the motifs of the film and created a suite (A Portrait of Hitch). The dialogues and the gory goings-on both complement and contrast the mindblowing Vermont colours. Keep an eye out for Hitchcock's cameo and a sharp ear for the first exchange of words between Sam Marlowe and Jennifer Rogers, as well as the temporally mind-bending discussion that Sam has with Jennifer's son Arnie. At one point in the film, Edmund Gwenn's character Captain Wiles notes "Blessed are they who expect nothing, for they shall not be disappointed". In agreeing with him, I'd only be faithful to the tone of the film.

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