Monday, 30 April 2012
Thursday, 26 April 2012
Monday, 23 April 2012
Next time, Ealing's most blatant war propaganda in The Big Blockade (1942)...
Friday, 20 April 2012
Next time, politics, assassination, regret and Audrey Hepburn - in Secret People (1952)
Monday, 16 April 2012
At heart, then, this is a solid crime thriller with some decent performances, even if Ray can’t quite pull off the layers that the film wants to heap on Matt’s shoulders: is he as innocent as he claims (at one point the politicians agree he should have had an appeal; only Hanna seems certain of this, and his main evidence is that 12 men were convinced at the trial – but this comes after television vox-pops of similar men that the politicians mock), or a hardened criminal? The film cannot decide if he is the injured party, driven to desperate ends (and thus justified in at least some of his actions), or a misguided criminal, whom we want to see punished. In one sense, that moral uncertainty is indicative of a larger movement within culture towards anti-heroes and characters who inhabit grey areas of morality (Matt Kirk is a perfect late 60s hero, appearing a decade too early), but here the film simply cannot make sense of him, and ends up creating a raging monster rather than the nuanced character suggested in the first hour.
The film, then, should be viewed as more than just the last Ealing film, or one that it is imbued with some final relevance. Like many of the films seen in this blog, those contexts are there (and important), but the film deserves to be viewed in its own right as a well-produced if flawed thriller.
Friday, 13 April 2012
Next time, we head back to Australia for Ealing's final film, The Siege of Pinchgut (1959)...
Tuesday, 10 April 2012
Next time, we call in at Mrs Wilberforce's to meet up with The Ladykillers (1955)...
Thursday, 5 April 2012
Monday, 2 April 2012
[My thanks to Studio Canal, www.studiocanal.co.uk, for making a screening copy available to me for this blog]
[UPDATED April 2014: The Shiralee is now available as part of The Ealing Studios Rarities Collection, Volume 5, from Network]