Eine Kleine Nichtmusik

Witty and pertinent observations on matters of great significance OR Incoherent jottings on total irrelevancies OR Something else altogether OR All of the above

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Some Like It In The Pot, Forty-Nine Years Old

The British Film Institute is asking the public to nominate the one film (not necessarily British) they would bequeath to future generations. Which is I suppose a harder question than simply "What is your favourite film?" or even "What do you consider the best film ever made?"

My favourite films are Cyrano de Bergerac (with Gerard Depardieu) and Pulp Fiction, but are they better films than, say, Ran? And do they encapsulate what I think cinema is about (whatever that is) in such a way that I'd want then to be the one film left to the future?

No, after much thought, I believe the essence of cinema has to be entertainment. The film I leave must be technically excellent, well acted, well scripted and well directed. It must be generally acclaimed as a masterpiece (rather than just a personal enthusiasm of my own) and must withstand pretty much unlimited repeat viewings. So my nomination for my legacy film is Billy Wilder's Some Like It Hot, starring Tony Curtis, Jack Lemmon and Marilyn Monroe. My feeling is that if a version of that film had been put into the Voyager space probe to be found by some distant civilisation, it would have told them much of value about the human race.

The lighting is clever, too. If it weren't, Monroe's big song would never have got past the censors.

Sorry: had to get a picture of MM in somewhere.


At 04 September, 2008 14:55, Blogger JoeinVegas said...

I kind of go with Pulp Fiction.

At 04 September, 2008 18:16, Blogger Persephone said...

The funny thing is, Marilyn's dress actually has a very high neckline. I doubt it was flesh-coloured in real life, but the black-and-white makes it appear so.

I think, if we're going to offer a film to future generations, it should be funny. It should be life-affirming, it should have music, and it should prove that you don't need explicit sex and violence to have a good time. Now, Some Like It Hot comes damn close to being perfect (if you ignore the St Valentine's Day Massacre) and you've probably noticed it's on my list of favourite movies. My very favourite movie is Harold and Maude (probably too quirky for future generations), my favourite Fred Astaire flick is Swingtime, but the plot, as in most musicals, is preposterous. My favourite Marx Brothers film is Monkey Business, but perhaps it's a bit too dated. But how about Singin' in the Rain? It's got plot, satire, singing, dancing, spectacle, and it's in colour. (One of my daughters' teachers [she taught both daughters -- she was fabulous] sadly informed me that her kids didn't like classics like Dracula because they were in black and white and therefore, "lame". Sigh.

At 05 September, 2008 00:40, Blogger Rob said...

I'm glad to say that both my kids grew up adoring Ealing comedies such as Whisky Galore (Tight Little Island if you're an American), Kind Hearts and Coronets, The Ladykillers and Genevieve. Not to mention Some Like It Hot and perhaps best of all, Laurel and Hardy in The Music Box (AKA "The Funny Men" to my daughter). Their black-and-whiteness was never an issue. They also loved some fairly old colour films like The Adventures of Robin Hood and Forbidden Planet, both of which I considered as my legacy film along with SLIH. If your daughters' teacher didn't start her own kids out with decent stuff, she has only herself to blame.

Incidentally, one of my work colleagues visited LA in his teens and was hugely thrilled to see the actual steps featured in The Music Box. I'm jealous.

And both Pulp Fiction and Harold and Maude are among my own favourites, but not (I think) the stuff of legacies.

At 05 September, 2008 23:17, Blogger Persephone said...

In swift defence of my daughters' remarkable teacher, I must clarify that she had no children of her own; the black-and-white-disdaining kids were her students, whose parents may indeed have a lot to answer for. Remarkable Teacher is herself a passionate proponent of film classics and tried (often in vain) to bring her pupils around. I imagine she left her mark on a few impressionable minds, including my daughters.

It's just occurred to me that a favourite of both my daughters (who do not disdain B&W) is A Hard Day's Night. Not a bad entry, come to think of it...

At 06 September, 2008 21:49, Blogger Rob said...

My apologies for unintentionally slandering Remarkable Teacher.

A Hard Day's Night would indeed be a good entry. I am actually the only member of my family to have seen it, though it was broadcast last week and we recorded it so that should soon change. I saw it at the cinema, where it was the support (in those far-off days when a film programme had a support, a series of ads and trailers and then the main feature) to Cliff Richard in Summer Holiday, which was in colour.


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