Monday, September 19, 2011

The Past is a Foreign Country

[It was hard to find a short clip from this film - I think you can watch the whole movie if you've a mind to on You Tube]

There are ways and ways of making historical dramas. I watched the beautiful Elizabeth last night, the wonderfully put-together bio pic about Elizabeth the First. Elizabeth is powerfully played by Cate Blanchett, with a great performance from Geoffrey Rush too as the evil but effective (don't you hate that) Walsingham. The film is an absolute pleasure to watch - the story compellingly told (though I'm sure historians of the period could perhaps see holes in its accuracy), the characters mesmerisingly involving and the sets just lovely - I wanted to switch off all the electricity and switch to candlelight immediately (though I would have missed the end of the film if I'd done that!). I had seen it before, but it held me from beginning to end.

I ended up watching Elizabeth, you see, because I had decided against another week of blood letting on Underbelly. Overseas readers will not have heard of this show (sorry) but it is something of a televisual phenomenon here - this is the third installment of dramatised local 'true crime' stories. I had had hesitations about it from the beginning, wondering that surely there were more worthy and indeed interesting people to make tv shows about than criminals. But, as usual on matters of popular taste, I was (and am) in the minority. People love true crime and, if you throw in as much sex and violence as you possibly can, they love it even more. I thought I would give Underbelly: Razor a go this time around because it is set in 1920s Sydney (about the time and place my thesis is set) and at first I was in love with the costumes, if nothing else. Lots of beads and silky drop-waisted dresses. But the gratuitous gore and sex scenes clearly just there for the sake of them! It actually got beyond offensive to just downright boring.

Take a leaf from films like Elizabeth!


librarygirl said...

Happy to report I have not wasted even one minute of my life watching any Underbelly.Happy to be in the minority with you, E!

Feronia said...

Good on you, librarygirl! I am almost ashamed that I succumbed to the couple of hours of it that I did!!

B.T.Bear (esq.) said...

Did yu spot the bit at the end of Elizabeth, wen they mayke a mistake wiv the statue ov MAry? The side the baby is held changes from left to rite, an thare is a mask on the face of Mary, too. It's odd they mayde such a mistake in such a detailed film, issent it? Hav yu seen the Golden Age, the follow on film? Mummy has recorded it but still not watcht it yet!

Enyway, today is Talk LIke A Pirate Day, arrrr!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! COme an see me jokes, an try me cunning quiz. Or be walking the plank wiv Dilly-Frilly-Knickers!!!



Feronia said...

Oooh, you have an eagle eye, young Bob. I haven't seen The Golden Age yet - I might get it on DVD.

I'll be over to shiver me timbers on yer blog shortly...arr-harr!