The 1969 film All Neat in Black Stockings is based on a novel by Jane Gaskell, a prize-winning writer whose literary output over three decades consists mainly of fantasy novels. Her mid-1960s’ vampire romance The Shiny Narrow Grin has been acclaimed as the Twilight of its day, and some say is superior to it.
Polonius is the ‘wretched, rash, intruding fool’ in Hamlet who comes to an untimely end when Hamlet accidentally stabs him. Hamlet’s farewell words are often taken as a definitive epitaph for Polonius, the father of Ophelia and Laertes, who does indeed earn every one of those descriptors.
Traditionally, Polonius has been played as a pompous windbag who, while not actually deserving such an end, isn’t much mourned. He’s never been a ‘fashionable’ character. Unlike other personae who have a greater imaginative impact, Ophelia and Rosencranz and Guildenstern, for example, Polonius hasn’t been seized on and reinterpreted for different audiences.
Chips With Everything by the playwright Arnold Wesker, who died recently, opened at London’s Royal Court Theatre in 1962, and the following year there was a production in Wimbledon which a gang of us went to see.
This was an outing arranged by the more culturally and politically aware members of our group, and which those of us still paddling in the shallows of cultural activity was approached with more anxiety about theatre etiquette than anticipation of seeing what we didn’t realise was a significant piece of theatre history.
It’s time for another match-up between female TV detectives — this battle sees Detective Chief Inspector Jane Tennison of the pioneering Prime Suspect taking on the formidable force of Sergeant Catherine Cawood from Happy Valley.
We came to know Jane Tennison of London’s Metropolitan Police, memorably played by Helen Mirren, through six series of gripping cases (1991-2003), all of them well plotted and superbly acted. As one of the first female Detective Chief Inspectors, Tennison fights against the entrenched sexism of a predominantly male service and holds her own. Professional success is her driving force, and she pursues it at the expense of her personal life.
To date, there have been only two series of Happy Valley (2014, 2016) in which to become acquainted with West Yorkshire police sergeant Catherine Cawood (a knock-out performance by Sarah Lancashire). And yet Catherine makes an emotional impact and seizes our imagination in a way which Jane Tennison never does.
The movie Breakfast At Tiffany’s is a swoony, delicious, captivating film. Its main character is Holly Golightly, delectably played by Audrey Hepburn. But the film is a very different work from its original source — a novella by Truman Capote.
Holly is a girl from Tulip, Texas, a child bride who escapes to New York and reinvents herself as a Manhattan socialite, a kooky, gorgeous, tough yet vulnerable girl about town who throws wild parties and entrances rich men. She eventually finds love with the struggling writer who is her neighbour.
Mary Crawford rocks up at Mansfield Park, home of Sir Thomas Bertram and family, and starts to have some fun. She’s the new girl, not in town but from Town, who brings to the country folk of Northamptonshire more than a whiff of the sophistication and worldly attitudes of the metropolis of London.
We love her — what’s not to love? Mary embodies the qualities which ride high in contemporary preferences. She’s attractive, entertaining, witty, lively, quick-thinking, flirtatious.
‘Mr Kalinda’ is actually more than a little unfair and inaccurate, even on the basis of our first meeting with Jason Crouse, who becomes Alicia Florrick’s go-to investigator in the latest (and perhaps the last) series of The Good Wife now showing in the UK.
It’s the second episode of series seven, and Kalinda’s ghost hovers in the air as Alicia sets out to hire a new investigator. Who could fill those spike-heeled shoes, we wonder, as three candidates present themselves for the role. One is quickly eliminated, and Alicia has to choose between Amanda Marcassin and Jason Crouse.
We know from the get-go that we are expected to be on Lorelai’s side. We are directed to support Lorelai as she struggles to stand up to Emily, her snobbish, controlling, manipulative, interfering mother.
Well, when you put it like that, why wouldn’t we side with the plucky single mother-of-one’s determination to remain her own woman and to exercise her right to live by her own values? Go Lorelai!
As aspiring Beat Girls, our Girl Squad, as we didn’t say back then, responded promptly to the discovery of Edmond T Greville’s film, Beat Girl, which was first released in 1960.
With its depiction of teenage rebellion and its insight into the jazz club and coffee bar milieu of London’s Soho, not to mention the presence of Adam Faith, Beat Girl promised to be a movie we could relate to.
So you dread the quarrels and arguments which will inevitably occur at your family Christmas gathering?
No matter what the tensions, your party will be an oasis of calm in comparison to what goes on at Gorston Hall, the mansion of mega-rich patriarch Simeon Lee, the setting for Agatha Christie’s novel, Hercule Poirot’s Christmas (which, in the USA, was titled Murder for Christmas and then retitled A Holiday For Murder).