Thursday, January 27, 2011

A Couple Of Swells

After a night out on the tiles with the usual suspects where, quite amazingly, I was actually one of the last men standing while most everyone else had stumbled off home, I’ve spent most of the today trying to track down the names of the advertising agencies involved in a number of campaigns in the early 1970s, which has been a hoot and a half. Taking a breath before trying to get beyond the numerous dead ends that have halted me in my tracks these past hours, here are a couple of items to take note of...

Hopefully everyone regularly reads Roger Ebert’s Journal on the Chicago Sun–Times website. If not, it’s not too late to start. His most recent post – “Why 3D doesn't work and never will. Case closed.” – will interest anyone hacked off with this the current fad in filmmaking as it features a letter from Walter Murch, the award–winning film editor and sound designer, which effectively explains why this nonsense is just a colossal waste of time and money that can’t be sustained.

Having edited Captain EO, the 3D film directed by Francis Ford Coppola that was shown at Disney’s theme parks throughout the 1990s, Murch knows what he’s talking about, so it’s refreshing to hear an unbiased view of the technique’s limitations rather than the tedious grandstanding of certain loud-mouthed directors, coming on like carny hucksters, who wouldn’t need to wrap their product in such stupid irrelevancy if they had come up with something original and involving. As Murch writes:

3D films remind the audience that they are in a certain “perspective” relationship to the image. It is almost a Brechtian trick. Whereas if the film story has really gripped an audience they are “in” the picture in a kind of dreamlike “spaceless” space. So a good story will give you more dimensionality than you can ever cope with.

The full article can be found here.

2011 is, I’m sure everyone knows, marks the 50th Anniversary of The Avengers. Initially conceived as a vehicle for Ian Hendry, whose character enlists intelligence agent John Steed to track down his wife’s murderers, the drama evolved far beyond its original concept following Hendry’s departure. The longest running secret agent adventure series of the 1960s, as Steed moved centre stage and, reinvented as a debonair gentleman, worked with a succession of liberated female partners, from night-club singer Venus Smith and leather-clad, martial arts expert Cathy Gale, to catsuit-clad Emma Peel and trainee-agent Tara King.

Over the years, as the production advanced from shooting live or on videotape in the studio, then from black and white film to colour on location, the series shifted from tough crime thriller towards outright parody. Replacing the real world with an idealised fantasy Albion, Steed and his partners investigated absurdist conspiracies hatched by successive diabolical masterminds in the most innocent and idyllic rural settings. And by remaining quintessentially English, The Avengers became one of Britain’s most successful shows internationally.

Last year the BFI Southbank ran the Brian Clemens: Auteur of The Avengers season and throughout 2010 Optimum Releasing brought out all the surviving, digitally restored episodes on DVD with a fair selection of extras included in each box set. This coming June, the Dept. of Media are holding The Avengers: A 50th Anniversary Celebration of the Classic Television Series at the University of Chichester. The weekend event will include one–to–one and group interviews; screenings with “live” commentaries; panels discussions; a Hellfire Club party; signings and much more.

As well as a special video message from Patrick Macnee and newly filmed interview with composer Laurie Johnson, guests will include producers Brian Clemens and Leonard White; writers Roger Marshall, Martin Woodhouse, Richard Harris, Jeremy Burnham and Robert Banks Stewart; directors Ray Austin, Jonathan Alwyn, Gerry O’Hara, Don Leaver, John Hough and Robert Fuest; actors Jon Rollason, John Carson, Peter J Elliott and Anneke Wills, and of course Julie Stevens, Honor Blackman and Linda Thorson.

Further information can be found at the event’s website.


At 12:28 am, Blogger Stephen Gallagher said...

Whoarr! Fek! Fek! Fek!

The costuming at the Hellfire Club party alone should be worth the price of admission...

At 12:44 am, Blogger Good Dog said...


Adam Lock, who is overseeing the event, was at the drinks do with Dick and everyone. He did mention something about the entertainer they have for that Saturday night and, well... As that hipster doofus Cosmo Kramer says, “Giddyup!”


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