Sunday, March 2, 2008

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.

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