Monday, March 3, 2008

James Mason as Captain Nemo

Here's a trailer for Walt Disney's 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea (1954)

Note, 20,000 leagues does not refer to the depth that the ship goes to - that's fathoms, but rather the distance around the world that they travel.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Science fiction in The Avengers

Another video article I put together for my webzine, The Thunder Child, unfortunately done once again when I had an imperfect grasp of the techniques of the softwarre.

It's a rapidfire look at a few Avengers episodes.

James Whitmore in Them

I'm not a particular fan of James Whitmore, although I really enjoyed his work in Them!

One of the things I found amusing was his penchant to steal scenes, so I put together a brief tribute in that regard in a video article for my webzine, The Thunder Child.

Peter Wyngarde

A few months ago, I started work with the Windows Movie Maker Software that I've had on this computer forever, but which I never bothered to work with. Oh do I regret that - as if I'd started with it five or six years ago, who knows what things I might not have accomplished...

Anyway, here is a video I put together of Peter Wyngarde, one of my favorite actors, having a fencing duel with Roger Moore in The Saint.

It's just a series of still photos set to the music of O Fortuna. I'm much more skilled now than I was then, unfortunately I didn't keep the files and so can't edit it .... ah, yet another regret.

Anyway, there are lots of nice stills of Peter - sans the "bouffantitude" that marred his otherwise excellent Jason King - and of course the music of O Fortuna is always worth listening to:

What a Behind the Scenes short should show

I watched The Young Visiters (2003) yesterday. Well, to be truthful I watched about 25 minutes of it before I got bored and started skippng through the scenes looking for Patrick Barlow's cameo.

Barlow wrote the screenplay for The Young Visitors - it is based on a book by the 9-year old Daisy Alford. I'm sure it's quite good in its genre - it got glowing reviews and the IMDB gives it 7 and a half stars (not that I give any credence at all to what the IMDB says - but I'm just sayin'....) but I just don't like love stories. [Well, there are a few exceptions, like Colin Firth's Pride and Prejudice or Alan Rickman's Truly Madly Deeply, but in general...]

Also, I was just annoyed with Bill Nighy, because Patrick Barlow could have and should have been playing that role [IMHO], but instead he gets a 20 second cameo as an archbishop at the end. And pure to the original or no, you know the slip of the tongue he puts in for himself to say is pure Barlow, not Alford!

Anyway, fortunately the movie had a "Behind the Scenes" featurette, in which Hugh Laurie, Jim Broadbent, and Lyndsey Marshal talk about their roles, and the producer, director and writer Patrick Barlow say a few words.

And I do mean a few. I clocked in Barlow's comments at running a total of two minutes in length.

The problem - for me - is that the featurette was very disjointed. You'd get 10 seconds of someone saying one thing, then someone saying another, than an illustrative clip, etc.

I would much rather have had 5 solid minutes of discussion with each individual. Then you can watch the bits you want - ie Patrick Barlow! - and turn off the rest.

But the nice thing was to see the "real" Patrick Barlow. I'm still not sure what his real accent is, but I think this is pretty close to it. (Even in interviews, an actor will be "on."}

But I was left wanting so much information. I have a very detail-oriented and chronological mind. I wanted him to say how and why he got the idea to write the screenplay for The Young Visiters, if it was he who decided to keep the framing story of it being told by the 9-year-old Ashfield, and how he wrote various scenes.

But we don't get that. Most annoying. Some of the details come obliquely.... Barlow says he started writing the character of Alfred Salteena and then knew only Jim Broadbent could play it, and the producer talks as if he's read the script after Barlow wrote it, so one can infer that Barlow wrote it, interested Broadbent in it, and then they went around getting the other production people....but it's never stated flat out - and that's the type of stuff I like to know.

Anyway.... there you have it.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

The Patrick Barlow Experience

Well, I put together another Patrick Barlow tribute, only instead of 45 seconds long, this one is 7 minutes long. Although it's good for what it is, I must add that it hardly does his works justice. So if you're looking for talented actors/writers and new venues that you haven't tried before - such as radio comedy, check out this tribute for Barlow even though you may never have heard of him, and if it even slightly catches your fancy, give him a chance with the "real deal" - ie DVDs in which he appears, and listen to BBC Radio 7.

The Brits are undoubtedly familiar with Patrick Barlow as he's been doing his "gig" there for over 20 years, but for Americans and anyone else reading this blog, I'll explain how I came to be a fan.

I have been listening to BBC Radio 7 ever since I discovered it a couple of years ago. I listen to their science fiction offerings and then write them up for my webzine, The Thunder Child.

Anyway, after a month or so I decided to be adventurous and listen to some of the other stuff on offer there - they have everything from sitcoms to dramas to book readings to game shows - and came across the Patrick and Maureen Maybe Music Experience. The description of it said guest star was Juliet Stevenson, who had starred in Truly Madly Deeply. And I thought to myself, well, it doesn't say it, but maybe Alan Rickman will make a surprise appearance.

Well, Rickman didn't, but the episode was hilarious nevertheless. Patrick Barlow and Imelda Staunton play two people who have a musical radio program, and they spar both on and off the radio. Imelda as Maureen is jealous of every woman who comes on the program because Patrick as Patrick always flirts with them. In this one, it's a violinist from Czechoslovakia who has an orgasm as she plays her violin - that's her schtick. And it was just hilarious.

However, I listened to the next two episodes (it's only a 4 part series), and I didn't like them. They probably were very funny, but I don't like the kind of humor of two married peope sparring like that. [As an aside, the first time your significant other raises his or her voice to you or says an unkind word, dump 'em! Better to be alone and happy than together, "loved" and miserable.]

Anyway, next was a series called Desmond Olivier Dingle's Complete Life and Works of Shakespeare. The description of episode 3 mentioned Brian Cox.

Now, I'd never seen Brian Cox in any acting role, but I had once caught a few seconds of a master class he was giving to some actors on my local PBS station, and the technique he was showing gave me a great idea for the play of Conrad Veidt that I'm working on, so I've always had a quiet appreciation of the guy.

So I figured...what the heck, I'll listen to it.

And it again was absolutely hilarious.

Patrick Barlow (who also wrote it - as well as the Maybe show, by the way) plays Desmond Olivier Dingle, a megalomaniac actor director who is putting on "the life and works of Shakespeare" despite knowingabsolutely nothing about the subject.

Brian Cox plays himself, who has been invited to the show to give a master class to Dingle's company. However, stuff happens, and Cox gradually descends into madness, culminating in him swinging a broadsword over his head and going after the other cast members.

Anyway, that cemented me as a fan of Patrick Barlow.

I then of course wanted to find out what he looked like, so I surfed the web and found some photos, and of course YouTube where he's in a series from 1996 called Is It Legal, and what can I say, he's quite cute. I like the guy's with square builds and faces, much better than the tall, stringbean types.

His current TV roles don't really do him justice... he plays the Vicar in Clatterford (aka Jam and Jerusaleum) where he has to look haughty and bad-tempered all the time, however in "real life" he looks quite handsome.

So...there you have it.