Captain Mainwaring and his men create comedy mayhem when they go on manoeuvres with other military companies under the eyes of a real Major-General. The result is disaster after disaster… After the shambles, the Walmington-On-Sea defenders return home just as a German scout plane crashes near their town. Its crew captures the church hall and holds the vicar and mayor as hostages. The Major-General sends for the Army, the Army sends for the Navy, the Navy sends for the Marines, the Marines call in the police, and the police call the fire brigade. While this is going on, the irrepressible irregulars of Dad’s Army hilariously demonstrate that they really can do the job they were organised for…
1971 – Certificate: U – British Film
7.0 out of 10
Last week saw the end of an era in Cactus World. About 15 years ago I became the owner of a 1L bottle of Bell’s Whisky. I think it came from a duty-free shop at an airport somewhere, although its exact heritage is now lost in the mists of time. Last week I finished it. I’d decided I wanted a drink one evening, but fancied something a bit different, so I ended up messing about with different whisky mixers; and suddenly it was empty. It’s strange to think that Cactus World didn’t even exist when I first had that bottle. (Along with most things from the era when Cactus World first came into existence, it was handed over by its evil predecessor, The Real World.) And I had some sort of life and ambitions in those days too. Then again, my Internet connection is now over 2,000 times faster, I’ve got a bigger TV and China Drum has reformed. I’m probably not the world’s biggest whisky/whiskey/bourbon drinker. To be honest I’m not sure I even like the taste very much, but feel I ought to make the effort. So now I’m down to my last four and a half bottles of the stuff. These include a bottle of Bladnoch 18-year-old single malt. This is most expensive booze I’ve ever purchased (I think it was about £60) and came from Scotland’s most southerly distillery. (This has sadly just gone into administration). A bottle of Jack Daniels Old No. 7 and a bottle of Bushmills 10-year-old single malt. And finally, a bottle of Amrut Indian single malt, which is the strongest alcohol I own at 61.9%. I’ve never opened any of these. Then again, I’ve never opened my bottle of Tesco Organic Vodka, which is even older and has spent nearly its whole life in my freezer. Tesco stopped selling it in 2006. Dad’s Army is even older than this bottle of vodka and most of it’s episodes predate punk, yet it still lots of fun; like whisky.
I don’t just watch films. No, I’m far more multidimensional than that. Far less documented is the fact that as well as watching films, I also have a TV series on the go at the same time too. Watched between the films when I don’t have the time or inclination to watch anything longer. I rarely binge on these, preferring instead to view a few episodes a week. Over the past few years I’ve made my way through “Andromeda” (five seasons), “The Likely Lads” / “Whatever Happened to the Likely Lads” (five series and a film, although loads of episodes are missing) and “Red Dwarf” (nine series, as there was at the time I watched them). Dad’s Army (on TV) ran for nine series, plus a film and three Christmas Specials, from 1968 to 1977. A few early episodes are missing, but most are still around. I’m now near the end of series 8, so I thought I ought to take a look at the film, which was made between series 3 and 4. Chronologically it sits near the start of the whole story, so I guess I should have watched it earlier on, although as it sort of overlaps the TV episodes doing so would probably have confused me greatly. The film is really like watching three episodes back to back and I suspect that’s how the script was developed originally. Although it has most of the continuing cast/characters in it and the same writers, it was filmed in widescreen and doesn’t have a laughter track, so it feels a bit weird watching it. It just doesn’t ‘feel’ quite right. But it’s still a lot of fun and has the gentle humour that characterised the TV series. Essential viewing if you liked it on television. Part of the fourth best British sitcom of all time.
There’re small musical elements in the movie that aren’t generally in the TV series, but really, they don’t make a lot of difference. If anything, they make it sound a bit like one of those 50s black and white Hollywood movies, that used to be shown on Saturday afternoons on BBC2 when I was young.
This is one of these films that doesn’t seem to have an official trailer. Weird.
Recommended for old soldiers, the patriotic and heroes.
No cats, chainsaws or decapitations.
Top badass moment? Pompous he may have been, but never a coward, Captain George Mainwaring rarely came face-to-face with any Nazis in the TV series. However, this film provides his greatest moment and for a brief few minutes he really is the hero that in his own mind he always was. Captain Mainwaring, the hero that Britain both deserved and needed. Badass.
Harry Callahan is a tough, streetwise San Francisco cop whom they call Dirty Harry. In this action classic, you’ll see why – and also why Clint Eastwood’s reputation as a premier film star and moviemaker is secure. A rooftop sniper (Andy Robinson) calling himself Scorpio, has killed twice and holds the city ransom with the threat of killing again. Harry will nail him , one way or the other, no matter what the “system” prescribes. Filming on location, director Don Siegel made the City by the Bay a vital part of Dirty Harry, a practice continued in its four sequels. Forty three years after its arrival the original remains one of the most gripping police thrillers ever made.
1971 – Certificate: 18 – American Film
7.5 out of 10
This week I’ve inadvertently become a champion and role-model for the downtrodden masses, as I successfully concluded my fight for compensation as a result of the evil and corrupt banking industry misselling me Payment Protection Insurance for a credit card. As we all know now, every single person who’s ever worked for a bank is a child of the Devil. From the CEO to the office cleaners. They exist for one purpose only and that’s to rip everyone else off. Well they made one BIG mistake trying to take me on. After many letters, the MBNA has finally capitulated, agreed it made a ‘mistake’ and has paid me back, with interest. I can’t decide what to spend it on first, a yacht, a jet or an Aston Martin or two. I guess a few lines of coke and some high-class ‘escorts’ wouldn’t go amiss either. I can finally get rid of all my pathetic, stupid, so-called friends and buy myself a whole lot of new ones that better fit my improved social status. The rich and the powerful will invite me to everything. A-list celebrities will be at my beck and call. My membership of the Bilderberg Group is assured. I’m going to start voting Conservative at once, not that I really need to worry about politics now, as I could easily buy myself a whole country if I wanted to. So I guess you probably want to know how much I got? Well, the cheque I was sent is made out to me for 20p…
“Dirty Harry” is a film about a naughty policeman, which was inspired by the Lurkers’ 1999 non-hit “Go Ahead Punk”. (I’ve got this on a very limited edition 7” single in grey vinyl, number 34 of the 125 that were made.) Its main character Harry Callahan was based on James Callaghan, who was British Prime Minister from 1976-1979 and thus oversaw the invention of punk rock by the downtrodden masses that he created during the Winter of Discontent. “Winter of Discontent” was also a great track from Political Asylum’s Winter EP, a copy of which I was sold by the band on the Fulham Palace Road, on my way to a Lurkers gig at the Fulham Greyhound. (The latter was tragically renamed/relaunched earlier this year as an American theme pub called the Southern Belle. WTF?) Its historical significance aside, this film gave us the original police officer who doesn’t play by the rules but gets away with, who still haunts TV and films to this day. Scorpio is also a great psycho without a thread of remorse whatsoever and stands up well to the more modern versions that have followed in his wake. I doubt there’s anything else I could possibly say about this film that hasn’t already been said 100 times before, so won’t. But for what’s now quite an old film, it still looks good. Essential viewing.
This movie is pretty light on music, which is just as well given it was made in the early 70s.
The trailer’s very long and seems to be desperate to portray Harry as more of a victim of circumstance than a police officer who really ought to be sacked for gross misconduct at the very least. He could easily be Martin Riggs‘ father.
Recommended for police officers, psychos and school bus drivers.
No cats, chainsaws or decapitations.
Top badass moment? Not once but twice, Harry gives us one of his two, world-famous quotes, here and here. What other character would have the audacity to do that? (Arnie’s done it but not twice in the same film I don’t think.) That’s like a DJ playing the same song back-to-back, it just doesn’t happen; (unless you’re John Peel and you’re playing the Undertones, but that’s okay). He must have been feeling lucky, punk.
This superb film effortlessly combines outstanding performances, stunning images and spectacular photography, top create a hypnotic and symbolic masterpiece. As the title suggests, “Walkabout” is a journey not only in distance, but also in the transition for one Australian Aborigine, from adolescence to manhood. While on a family picnic a beautiful teenager and her brother suddenly find themselves very much alone after the tragic death of their father. As they wander through the outback they meet the young Aborigine. The film unfolds and tells the tale of survival, resourcefulness and sexual awareness, as the travellers become lost in the Australian wilderness.
1971 – Certificate: 12 – Australian Film
6.0 out of 10
There’s been a lot in the news over the past few days about a suspected al-Qaeda attack in the Arabian Peninsula. Well last week I uncovered an equally devious plot to undermine the very core of the English nation, cause widespread civil unrest and consequently destroy the very fabric of our society. Eschewing the need for a dirty bomb hidden in someone’s underpants, this evil and nefarious scheme uses our very own, wonderful, home-grown fruit against us, specifically cherries. Just think about cherries for a moment. They’re lovely, aren’t they? The look nice, taste great and we can grow them in England. In fact the Wild Cherry (Prunus avium) is one of our native trees. They’re as English as St. George; (well probably more so than he was.) Every day I walk beneath one on my way to and from work and glance up longingly into the high branches above to see the fruit teasingly hanging there, just out of reach. Cherries are really romantic too. Not only are they slightly heart-shaped (it’s called an artistic licence), but they normally come joined together, two sharing a single stalk. What other fruit so accurately reflects the hearts of two lovers, growing and maturing together, forever closely entwined? Last week I had to drive to Hastings. All along the A21 in East Sussex, there were signs by the side of the road with giant drawings of romantic cherries on them, swiftly followed by what appeared to be people sitting in lay-bys or gaps at the side of the road, their car boots open, adjacent to tables covered in delicious, locally grown cherries. I decided right there and then that on my way home I’d stop and buy some of these edible gems. On my return I missed the first couple of cherry-sellers, as they were either on the other side of the road, or it wasn’t obvious where to pull in until it was too late to do so. The other motorists on the road seemed more interested in driving as far up my ass as they possibly could, than buying cherries. Any unexpected breaking on my part was likely to result in whoever was driving behind me ending up sitting in my back seat, along with the remains of their car. Finally I managed to pull into a lay-by, salivating at the thought of getting my hands on some ripe, fruity cherries. So you can imagine my horror on finding there was no one there selling anything. The big cherries for sale sign was there but of anyone selling anything, there was no sign. I was pretty devastated. So I drove on and to my delight soon came across another sign promising an overdose of yummyness. Guess what? Exactly the same thing; no cherries. It was hard to hold back the tears on the drive home after that. I ended up taking out my anger on life by stopping for some chips instead and causing a satisfyingly long-tail back as a result of my top-notch parking. But I can’t helping thinking there’s more than meets the eye to this sudden cherry famine. Like cherries, this film is also about something very English, although in this case they don’t fit in to their environment at all.
In the same way that a cute baby in a pram can turn rational, intelligent adults into goo-goo-ga-ga uttering imbeciles, this movie seems to have the ability to turn similar people into fawning, complement-gushing Walkabout-sycophants. I’m sorry, but the plot really doesn’t make any sense. Jenny Agutter and the director/writer’s son get stranded in the Outback, meet up with an Aboriginal boy and then try to get back home. Now, I’d be the first to admit that seeing Jenny Agutter all messed up by days and days of walking about in the hot sun with next to no food and water would be a little distressing, but with the exception of one brief interlude, she and her clothes managed to remain looking pristine throughout. I’ve walked about in the sun for a few days and you get knackered and really grubby. The movie did feature a lot of wildlife, (even though a great deal of it was very dead); I kept expecting David Attenborough to turn up and give them all a lift home. There aren’t many Certificate 12 films you can watch and see an attractive 16-year-old girl take off her school uniform, get naked and go swimming in, either. Oh, did I mention I once shook Jenny Agutter’s hand and at the time she was congratulating me for something? I haven’t washed that hand since. I’m probably being a bit mean about things. There is a lot of good stuff and symbolism in this film; and it was made in 1971, so you need to give it the sort of understanding you sometimes need to give to older people. And really, I’m just trying to correct the imbalance in the universe’s yin and yang that all the praise it’s had has caused.
The music used is atmospheric but a bit screechy. When you realise it was mostly written by John Barry, it suddenly becomes a bit of a disappointment.
Recommended for geologists, English schoolgirls and young Aborigines.
No cats, chainsaws or decapitations.
Top badass moment? I know it’s a puerile, creepy and incredibly immature comment, which I wholeheartedly apologise for right now, but Jenny Agutter nude? Learning the straw in the muddy puddle trick was pretty cool too; I’m just not sure I’d trust it to work in lowland England; too much cow piss.