Tuesday, 8 March 2011

The Best of British

Now that the Oscar buzz has depleted with the same feeling that you get after Christmas, you got all your presents (this year they were the ones we wanted aka THE KINGS SPEECH winning everything, of course you did end up with an unwanted jumper from your aunty Violet aka. Natalie Portman winning best actress, but you can always forget about that) now you’ve got to face the months to come. In the months to it seems that there is going to be a tough ride of stormy seas for the UK Film Council which has practically keeping British film (or should I say decent British film) alive. Feeling troubled by what will become of the British Film Industry I decided to look at my top ten British films:
1. Kind Heart and Coronets (1949)
I decided to start with one of my personal favourites and one that deserves great consideration. This is one of the legendary Ealing comedies and by far one of the greatest. The film is also easily Sir Alec Guisness' finest work, him playing the entire D'Ascoyne family- all eight of them. Dennis Price plays the straight man that just happens to be a murdering psychopath. The story itself is something that is incredulous in the way that is amazingly clever, the idea that Price wants to become the next Duke of D'Ascoyne managing to murder all of them in ever more interesting ways. The whole thing is a load of twists and turns that make a lot of sinister comedy  aith a mild manor. Seriously ten out of ten stuff.
2. Wallace and Gromit (1989-2008)
Ok so this is a bunch of four short animated films and one feature length one but I don't think that the only true film gives justice to this truely amazing franchise that has but Britian on the map. Too get an essence of the simple story of a plastecine man and his dog you really have to watch them from the first to the last. I think they had to be on my list because Wallace and Gromit is the shear definition of all things British. (One question meanwhile is why Wallace and Gromit can't be the mascots for London 2012)
3. Passport to Pimlico (1949)
First of all this film contains many of the British comedy acting presence of its golden age and they are all shown off to their full brilliance: Hermione Baddeley, Stanley Holloway, Raymond Huntley etc. This is the film that best describes the British spirit- it may cause the most anti British fellow to start singing the national anthem.
4. Oliver! (1968)
I don't know if it is from watching this twenty thousand times that I have come to love this as the greatest musical of all time. This retelling of the classic Dickens tale is by far the best out of the hundreds that have been attempted. Carol Reed managed to create the vibrant life of Victorian London in all its glory. The simple fact that Oliver Reed and Ron Moody are in its cast makes it even better.
5. Educating Rita (1983)
This simple tale of university lecturer and his Open University student and their struggles to teach other something about life and English Literature. It is a bitter sweet tale that is from the pen of the legendary Willy Russel (Blood Brothers) which means great writing with some truly great lines. The two main characters also happen to be  played by Julie Walters and Micheal Caine doing possibly their finest work.

6. The Belles of St Trinian's (1954)
I don't think it can or will get better than this, the original St Trinians film that has inspired several sequals (some good, some so bad that they make you violently ill at the mere mention of them- I'm sorry for the reminder) and millions of school girls all round the world. A comedy that sets the bar way above the usual. The casual blend of British pompous humour with some of the greatest actors of any age: Alastair Sim (who plays a brother and sister), Joyce Grenfell, George Cole, Hermione Baddeley, Rene Houston, Irene Handl, Joan Sims etc. The idea that in an age where women were still thought of as quite submissive characters, compared to their current status, it is amazing how they have been portrayed. It may not be the type of laugh out loud comedy (although it has its moments) this is something that never becomes an issue and is still fantastically witty. This is a lot better than most comedy films of any age.

7. The 39 Steps  (1935)
Alfred Hitchcock is amazing- this is a simple fact that cannot and shall not be fogotten. He is able to bring together a film unlike any other director, he is the only one that is not overcome by a single element of his film instead he values: acting/ writing/ setting and so on as the same. The only thing that he ever values more than anything else is the story of the film and this is exactally how it should be. This film is one of his earlier films and therefore set in Britain and it is truly brilliant. The thriller/ mystery is amazing in its sweeping story that keep a brilliant pace right to the end. Staring Robert Donat who is good looking and an amazing actor. This is a  film that is maybe not the best Hitchcock film, but it is certainly great in its own right.

8. Harry Potter (2001-2011)
Ok say I am braking the rules again and this is again techniqually more than simply one film, it is infact eight. I couldn't ignore though the decade of hard work that has gone into making Britain's most significantly international film franchise to date. I have metioned the Harry Potter film franchise in earlier blogs so I won't go into to much detail but this is a franchise that I think will one day be attemptedly remade but to ever that person is I say "you idiot" because it will never have the same cast and crew through all seven books worth and it will never have the same hype- nor should it.

9. Monty Python's Life of Brian (1979)
A film that is clever and amazingly funny. Showing off the full extent of the Monty Python's  shear talent. The whole thing is strangely surreal and although rough and this adds to the comedy of the film. The main idea of the film is funny enough and the way they play with the story of Jesus is incredible, especially in the way that offends everyone and yet no one really cares for laughter.

10. The Kings Speech  (2010)
It can't be ignored- this is going to one of those films that is remembered as one of those films that will be rememberd as a combination of great British and Australian talent. Maybe it isn't historically correct but I really, really don't care. It's nice, sweet, clever, feel good and therefore brilliant. I'm not sure if it will be a legendarily remembered except for the amount of Oscars won but at the moment at least it deserves its posistion.


Chris P. Bacon said...

Okay, first off I completely COMPLETELY agree that Wallace and Gromit should be the London 2012 mascots. They would be so much more suitable than those crappy things we've got going on at the minute.

I agree with every single film on this list (that I've seen, and the ones I haven't I guess I'm going to have to). Your comments - especially the ones on the St. Trinian's part - are a very interesting insight to the films. I certainly don't think about them in as much detail as you seem to have!

Also, the one thing about The Life of Brain which has always made me find the film a little...too out there, is the bit with the aliens. I mean...completely unexpected. And if you would care to decipher it for me, it would be much appreciated!

Also, the day I see a Harry Potter remake will be a very dark day. As you say, there'll never be quite as an amazing cast. And you can bet your bottom dollar/pound that they'll do a Star Trek and try to get Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, or Emma Watson in the remake somehow.

Very interesting blog indeed, M Whit!

M Whit said...

Thankyou very much Bacon and if you do anything you should watch the films on this list you haven't watched