Stills from the 1961 Rank film The Singer Not The Song. A bizarre British Western shot in Spain with Dirk a rather campy bandit. He and Co-Star John Mills (as the Priest determined to save his soul) despised each other. Dirk warning that there would be hell to pay if director Roy Ward Baker cast Mills.
Brilliant and traditional MR James style ghost story from Nick Murphy (who also directed) and Stephen Volk (who gave us the infamous Screen One play Ghost Watch in the early 90s and Ken Russell's Gothic)
Set in the Great Britain of 1921, a country still suffering the after effects of The Great War, it stars the beautiful and talented Rebecca Hall as the instantly likeable ghost hunter Florence Cathcart and The Wire's Dominic West is excellent as always as Mallory, a teacher at a boarding school in Cumbria that may or may not be haunted. There's also sterling support from Imelda Staunton as the school's Matron.
In my opinion, this is a film to watch, enjoy and savour. But if you're looking for cheap frights per minute and the old ultra violence, then this isn't the 'horror' film for you; though there are some moments that really do make you jump! This is however, on the whole, a beautiful slow paced suspenseful film with some heart. Rejoice that they still make them like this, occasionally.
The sun was shining once again we've had unbroken good weather since last Friday, that's something of a rarity here in the North West.
I've done some writing.
I went round to my Grandad's and painted his stone flags for him.
Then I came home and did my best Hairy Bikers impression and baked some rather tasty drop scones whilst bumbling around the kitchen addressing thin air as 'dooode' as they do. I am determined to try and gain some cooking ability and find some enjoyment out of doing it, rather than just the enjoyment of eating.
I then went up to my study and began painting a sketch I did on a canvas last week. I haven't painted in yonks, so it feels really good to get into the habit again. I'll be sure to share the finished article when it appears. Whilst doing it I had Genesis 'Selling England By The Pound' and Caravan 'The Blind Dog At StDunstan's' for company on the record player. Bliss.
Then it was a fry up for tea nom nom nom!
Now, I've just finished watching the finale to Season 3 of The Wire a show I became addicted to last year (I know, I know I'm very late to the party!) And any minute now The Apprentice is about to start, WOOT!
And if I feel like a late night I've The Awakening the new ghostly horror starring The Wire's Dominic West and the lovely Rebecca Hall, which arrived in the post for me today.
Stephen Ward was the high society osteopath, artist,SIS 'Joe' and overall patsy of the Prufomo Scandal. His tragic story - he killed himself during the trial, though some say (former Goon and Intelligence man Michael Bentine amongst them) that the SIS murdered him - has fascinated me for years, thanks to the film Scandal (with John Hurt as Ward) numerous factual books and the excellent novel London Blues by Anthony Frewin.
Christine Keeler, the girl at the centre of the scandal
Ward was charged with living off immoral earnings from her
Two portraits of Christine Keeler by him,
one suitably naughty, the other nice
Mandy Rice Davies,
another alleged girl in his stable
His suitably explicit and naughty portrait of Mandy
J'adore The Sundays. The most beautiful sounding band, like The Smiths but from a female perspective. Their debut album, Reading Writing and Arithmetic is my favourite album ever...if it were a human being I'd want it to be my girlfriend! And when they covered my favourite rock and roll band, The Rolling Stones, I was in heaven....
"It's my mostpolitical film, indeed it's my only political film"
- Ken Russell
Just watched the BFI's double disc release of the original UK X rated cut of the film. It's not the cut Ken intended (we still don't have Vanessa Redgrave's Sister Jeanne masturbating with the charred phallic femur of Oliver Reed's Father Grandier in the closing scenes, nor do we have the infamous 'Rape Of Christ' scene; the climax of the sham exorcism/nun's orgy - though each is alluded too and briefly seen in the excellent Mark Kermode documentary on disc 2) but it's the best we are going to get.
I'm not going to review the film or discuss it at length because to be honest I've a feeling anyone frequenting this blog will probably already know well enough. I'll just say this, The Devils is a masterpiece, the most visually striking film of the 1970s and still holds the power to shock, sadden and enrage.