Tag Archives: Alastair Sim

The Set of 400: #161 – My Favorite Tight-Fisted Hand at the Grindstone

Today! Because I’m too old and beyond hope! Go and redeem some younger, more promising creature –

A Christmas Carol (1951)

Directed by Brian Desmond Hurst

Starring Alastair Sim, Mervyn Johns, Hermione Baddeley, Michael Hordern, George Cole, Rona Anderson, Kathleen Harrison, Francis De Wolff, Brian Worth, Peter Bull, Patrick Macnee

The greatest Christmas Carol ever filmed, 1951’s Alastair Sim take feels like a much longer film than its 86 minute run time. Hell, the Jim Carrey motion capture thing from ’09 is 96 minutes (and you feel every second of that thing). But while a short film feeling longer is typically not a good thing, the ’51 Carol benefits grandly, as it actually took the time to expand on elements teased in the novel and never explored in any prior film version. This also might not necessarily be seen as a positive aspect of a typical film adaptation – just straight adding things to a plot – and especially one with a story widely regarded as one of the best ever told, but the additional material feels so organic, so Dickensian, that unless you are really a Christmas Carol scholar – films or novel – you may not notice.

If you can overlook the Ghost of Christmas Past’s gloriously excessive wig

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The Set of 400: #264 – My Favorite Varsity Drag

Today! Because last time I was kissed in a garden it turned out rather awful –

The Ruling Class (1972)

Directed by Peter Medak

Starring Peter O’Toole, Arthur Lowe, William Mervyn, Coral Browne, Alastair Sim, Harry Andrews (x2), Michael Bryant, Carolyn Seymour, James Villiers, Graham Crowden, Nigel Green

A movie that stampeded into my life at a very opportune time, The Ruling Class was adapted by Peter Barnes from his play, but loses virtually none of the dialogue or general staginess, so I’d warn – if the live theater isn’t your cup of tea, this movie might not connect. They certainly try – the towering madness of Jack Gurney, the 14th Earl of Gurney, is mostly conveyed through Peter O’Toole acting his ass off, but there are some surprising hallucinations and visual digressions from reality that try to place us in his paranoid schizophrenic mind.

It might be a touch over the top in parts

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