Mr Norris Changes Trains (Christopher Isherwood)

“He had an animal innocence,” Isherwood sums up Mr Norris — no, I mean Gerald Hamilton (1890-1970), the flamboyant and flabby rogue who inspired Mr Norris. The two met, presumably, in Berlin where Isherwood lived from 1929 to 1933. The author had gone to that city because of the favourable money-exchange. He caught the tormented, self-destructive spirit of Berlin which Broadway excised in favour of un-zippered frolics and Doctor Rugs (yes, I mean….drugs, not hugs and definitely not rugs). Coming from a strangulating British environment where you faced jail if caught in the bushes with a boy, he read that anything went on in Berlin. As Gerald Hamilton said, “We live in stirring times. Tea-stirring times.” [Read more…]

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Arabesque (1966 USA)

After the success of his Hitchcock homage “Charade”, director Stanley Donen made this very similar comedy-thriller with Gregory Peck and Sophia Loren in the lead roles. While Peck and Loren are not quite as suited to this kind of thing as Cary Grant and Audrey Hepburn, they still make an attractive couple. If you thought “Charade” was complex, you’ll find “Arabesque” resembles a hundred shoelaces tangled into an impenetrable knot. The plot is not really meant to be followed – it merely exists as an excuse to stage one dazzling set piece after another. But it’s Arabesque’s wildly inventive cinematography which sets it apart from virtually every other action film. Its beautiful to behold. Quite a feast for the eyes. [Read more…]

House Of Cards (1990 – 1995 United Kingdom)

house-of-cards-500x271This is almost 11 hours (4 DVD’s) worth of top quality entertainment. The viewer’s life grinds to a halt to digest each segment. This is the kind of drama that makes the BBC world-famous. Nothing can beat it. The Americans wish they could create modern Shakespearean tragedies like this, but they lack the breeding and pedigree of an old world country. So is it worth buying, renting, borrowing or stealing? To quote the Right Honourable Francis Urquhart MP, “you might very well think that but I couldn’t possibly comment!” [Read more…]

Rogue Male (Geoffrey Household)

A-new-jacket-for-a-reissu-002A big game hunter gets arrested on the point of shooting at a character who is probably Hitler, escapes death after horrible torture and spends the rest of the novel evading recapture. How the world has changed since 1939. Our hero here felt that man was not intended to travel over 40 miles per hour, and he’s troubled by litter from paper bags. [Read more…]

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