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Culture Vulture Schmulture – V

In a feature shamelessly “inspired” by The Times‘s Culture Vulture, British Expat brings you the above titled (subtitled “Things you should own, if they’re the sort of thing you might like…”).

Von Ryan’s Express (1965), a film whose influence can be seen as far removed as the Stallone vehicle Daylight is good, solid war-time drama – made perhaps slightly more interesting by a cast list including Trevor “You’ll get your iron cross, Von Ryan…” Howard, James Brolin, and little Frank Sinatra (what is he doing in a film with such violent undertones??). Wait for next Bank Holiday and switch on BBC2 at around 1500, it’ll be there, you mark my words.

Also worth a look, depending on what exactly is your cup of musical coffee, would be Air’s Virgin Suicides OST – from the unremarkable film of the same name. Somewhere in the Pink Floyd ballpark, it might not be the best driving music in the world (especially if your penchant is for dropping off at the wheel – this means you, Russell Allen; that was fun. In a minibus. Fast lane. Of the M1. In rush hour.) but in terms of atmosphere I can’t think of anything recently that can hold a candle to AtomHeartMother.

“What’s this?” I hear you say (bloody clever, this Interweb-thing). “Another film? Directed by Hitchcock? Surely not!” But yes (and please stop calling me Shirley. Boom boom), it is exactly that. Vertigo, often hailed as one of his greatest. This is perhaps a bit rose-tinted glasses wearingly over-emphasised (still with me?). It’s good. An ol’-fashioned tale of deception, with its roots somewhere around The Maltese Falcon. The special effects rarely used by Hitchcock are well played upon by Mel Brooks in his ‘hilarious’ spoof film High Anxiety (mentioned, if for no other reason, because it seems OGLK* doesn’t like him. I bet he cries himself to sleep).

is, in somewhat simplified form, about fear and the despair created thereby. Bernard Herrmann, the tried and trusted Hitchcock accomplice, is here again and is on course to receive more mentions than anyone else in this a-z diatribe! Jimmy Stewart, how could you not love’im), is on form and Kim Novak never betters this performance. A film as full of symbolism and visual metaphor as any, this is a departure from the expected Hitch-style, but still dependable enough for the fan; different enough for the hater; worth owning for the enthusiast. Hey, I paid £12 for this together with Psycho and Rear Window, and it takes something to make this the worst (check that, least brilliant) of any group of three films.

Go find it.

In the future: ‘W’.

*Our Glorious Leader Kay – see, we can all use them. Show-off.

My friend’s just moved into a new house in Bradford (Yorkshire, not Connecticut). He has lesbian cats. Brilliant.

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