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Posts Tagged ‘pastiche’

Julie Andrews plays Millie Dillmount, a young woman who comes to New York in 1922, with the sole intention of getting a job and marrying her (rich) boss.  However, when she meets happy-go-lucky Jimmy Smith (James Fox), she has to decide where her priorities lie.  And then there’s the issue of the women at Millie’s hotel being captured and forced into slavery.

While I had some doubts about the tastefulness of using sex slavery as a comedic plot point, I must admit that I very much enjoyed this film.  There are a couple of scenes showing some of the girls who have been sold into slavery, and they did cause a bit of a jolt, as it is so unexpected in a frothy musical comedy.

The film is intentionally farcical, and did cause me to dissolve into giggles on occasion.  In a nod to earlier silent films, Andrews often breaks the fourth wall by looking directly into the camera at the viewer, and her thoughts are then shown on screen in the form of title cards.  There are also some very funny musical interludes (such as the ‘Haaaaaallelujah!’ when Millie first lays eyes on her handsome boss Trevor Graydon).  As it set in the 1920s, the costumes are as lovely as you might imagine, and Andrews herself is just adorable.  Equally endearing is Mary Tyler Moore as Millie’s friend Miss Dorothy, and James Fox and John Gavin provided excellent support as Jimmy and Trevor respectively.  Carol Channing pops up as a rich widow who befriends Millie, and certainly makes her mark with a hilarious song and dance routine!  It is only because the cast as a whole is so strong, that Beatrice Lillie did not steal the entire film as the evil Mrs Meers, manageress of the hotel, and the main villain behind the slavery business.

This kind of film isn’t for everyone and I can imagine that some people might find it an irritant, but I really enjoyed it.  As long as you can abandon all sense of logic and realism (and the film is really not meant to be realistic), I would say that this is a treat for fans of musicals.  Needless to say, Julie Andrews is in excellent voice.  Recommended.

Year of release: 1962

Director: George Roy Hill

Producer: Ross Hunter

Writers: Richard Morris

Main cast: Julie Andrews, Mary Tyler Moore, James Fox, John Gavin, Beatrice Lillie, Carol Channing

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Click here for my review of Willenhall Musical Theatre Company’s 2014 stage production.

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This is the first book in the Aberystwyth series, by Malcolm Pryce, and I really enjoyed it. The book is a pastiche of the pulp fiction books from the 50s, and while it should be silly and completely unbelievable, it is far better than that. Yes, the story is too incredible to be really taken seriously, but when I was reading it, I really found myself getting sucked in to it.

Louie Knight is a private detective in Aberystwyth, in the 1980s. The mysterious and beautiful singer Myfanwy Montez asks him to investigate the disappearance of her cousin Evans, and despite his initial reluctance, Louie finds himself getting drawn into the mystery. Evans is just one of a number of schoolboys who has disappeared recently, and Louie has to find the connection between all the missing boys, as well as finding out who might want to hurt them.

Louie is a likeable hero, and is the only character who really stood out for me – the others will probably fade fast once the book is finished.  But that doesn’t really matter – this is his show and he should be the star.  His character is clearly an homage to the likes of Chandler’s Philip Marlowe, and mixed in with the quirky settings and situations, this combination works well.  The Aberystwyth depicted in this book is a deliberately skewed version of the real place – it’s run by the crime lords (druids) and there are all sorts of unusual comings and goings.

The book is populated by unusual characters, and the incidents pile on top of one another at a furious pace. In fact, that is my only slight complaint. Because things happen at such a rapid rate of knots, I found myself getting a bit confused as to what was happening, and how it connected with what had already happened. But don’t let that put you off. Overall, this is a hugely enjoyable, amusing read.

(Author’s website can be found here.)

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