miss_s_b: (Fangirling: Lee)
There are many excellent, occasionally scholarly, articles and listicles on The Wicker Man (The Grauniad has so many they even have a tag for it) but as this one came across my radar today, the most Wicker Manny of days, I thought I'd flag it up to you. That last is a beautifully detailed and well-researched love letter to one of my favourite films of all time.

If you haven't the stomach to read something that long, though, here are a few reasons why I think you should watch the film*, today especially:
  • It's the mother of all folk horror movies, and as The Grauniad told us yesterday, folk horror is trendy again. Go back to first principles and watch the type specimen.

  • The magnificent moral ambiguity of it: is Edward Woodward the good guy? Is Christopher Lee? I've met people who firmly cleave to both beliefs, and neither. Right to the last frame of the film it's possible to view it either way.

  • Partly because of the time it was made, and partly because of the enthusiasms and knowledge bases of the people involved (including Christopher Lee, who always has to put his expertise in on any film) the film is both more complex and far simpler than any of the people who made it think. It's both a complex, witty, and incredibly well-researched satire on modern paganism and how it's all really an invention of the Victorian aristocracy and it's a straight ahead police procedural whodunnit.

  • It's a comedy and a musical as well as a mystery and a horror film, and the songs are actually really good, and the jokes are funny; that said, the final scene is one of the best and most horrifying five minutes ever committed to celluloid.

  • Christopher Lee dressed as Cher. Snail Sex. And, of course, The Salmon of Knowledge.

  • Once you've seen and digested the original, you will be fully equipped to understand every nuance of the magnificent Muppet Wicker Man.

Watch the longest cut you can get hold of; the longer cuts make way more sense storywise and timewise, and have lots more interesting little bits of modern paganism to digest. Or, you know, don't watch The Wicker Man at all; I'm a liberal, I'm happy with you making your own choices.

But whatever you do today (as we used to say on the flyers for the Beltane Beer Festival when I worked at The Barge And Barrel) have a belting Beltane :)

* in the name of all that is holy, do not watch the sexist, bee-obsessed, Nicholas Cage remake. Or, if you do, don't say you weren't warned
miss_s_b: (Fangirling: Lee)
The inevitable campaign to get a track by a beloved deceased person has started, and Twitter has decided that the track we should go for is My Way. Buy it on amazon here, or Google Play here, or iTunes here.

If you're a proper tightarse, listen to it a few times on Spotify, that counts, but not as much as actually buying it, so listen to it LOTS.
miss_s_b: (Fangirling: Lee)
I hoped I wouldn't have to write this so soon. But then whenever it was it would be too soon. This is one I never could have been prepared for, even knowing how frail he's been the last few years. We'll not get a new Christmas metal track this year, but at least he got his wish of living to see all of the Hobbit films come out, and if there's an afterlife at least he'll get to see his best friend again now.

I'm going to be a bit delicate for a few days, guys. The grumpy old Tory sod was someone I've worshipped since I was six. It'll be a few days. Thanks.

miss_s_b: (Fangirling: Lee)
I'm all electionned out, so I'm going to indulge myself today by talking about something else dear to my heart.

Those of you who have known me for some time, and know my proclivities when it comes to men, might have noticed that I have something of a type. Tall, geeky boys with deep voices and good legs. Men who can cook. Well-dressed, curly-haired men who look good in a beard and can pull off an outrageous hat. Men with a wicked, dry sense of humour; who look great in shiny boots but will wear slippers when nobody is looking. Men who lean bi, or at least are not bothered by being accused of such. Men who can wear a cravat. Men who can do a quizzical eyebrow.

This springs from a LOT of places, but not least of which is the fact that at the possibly somewhat precocious age of six I got REALLY into old horror movies. And the stalwarts of old horror movies* were three men, one of whom had his birthday yesterday, and the other two have it today.

Peter Cushing would have been 101 yesterday. At a mere dead-on-six-foot he's the shortest of the three, and he was certainly the slightest. He was an extraordinarily talented actor, and if you don't believe that you haven't seen his Winston Smith, which knocks old raddled-face Hurt into a cocked hat.

Peter Cushing always looked stunning in whatever he was wearing**, partly due to poise, and partly due to cheekbones you could slice steel with. I believe he is a large part of my fondness for men in suits, especially a good three piece.

The thing that I admire most about The Cush, though, is that everybody seems to have had a very deep and genuine affection for him - even that grumpy old Tory Sir Lee (of whom more later), who was his best friend and co-Sylvester the Cat impersonator from 1957 till the day that he died. He was a Proper Gentleman, always unfailingly polite to everybody from the tea lady to the Queen. This is something I could probably learn from.

Vincent Price was the most impish of the three, and also by far the most political. He would have been 103 today. He was huge friends with Kenny Everett***, campaigned against racism and sectarianism, and built and endowed the Vincent And Mary Price Art Museum at East LA college because of his firm belief in public access to great art. He adored his doggies, especially Joe, whom he loved so much he wrote a book about him****.

He was also a fabulous cook. I know this because (thanks to [personal profile] karohemd) I have one of his cookbooks. Because of the era it was written in, it has the same approach to healthy eating that I was brought up with - i.e. everything contains lots of butter, cream, and alcohol. Now that I am reasonably close to my target weight I look forward to trying more recipes from it.

Christopher Lee is the baby of the three, at a mere 92 today. What can I say about the grumpy old sod that I haven't said a thousand times before? Although in social terms I probably would have got on better with Cushing, and certainly in political terms I would have got on better with Price, Lee is the one whose voice goes directly to the forelock-tugging peasant genes in me and makes me sag at the knees and wish to serve, and I mean that in a deeply sexual way.

I have a spotify playlist called "Christopher Lee Reads Stuff". When [personal profile] magister is playing Lego The Hobbit on his playstation he calls me into the room for the cut scenes because Sir Lee narrates them. Christopher Lee's voice has had a very profound effect on me from the first moment I heard, at the tender age of six, they have destroyed my servant; they shall be destroyed. For all the stuff I talk about above, this is the biggie. Men with deep, commanding voices are my kryptonite, and Sir Lee is their king.

So yeah. In terms of genuine admiration that comes from judgment in my brain, Price probably just beats Cushing but they are both up there. In terms of instinctive reaction that I have no control over whatsoever? Yet to meet a man that can do with his entire soul and being what Christopher Lee can do with a single whispered syllable*****.

Here is Sir Lee talking about his two best mates. Enjoy:

I shall certainly be raising a glass to the three of them later.

* or at least the ones that I obsessively recorded on our Video2000 video recorder that they showed late night on the BBC.
** seriously, even as a tramp in fingerless gloves for Doctor Terror's House of Horrors the man radiates style.
*** yes, this almost certainly does mean what you think it means.
**** if you ever have an afternoon to spare and feel like one of those feel-good books that makes you laugh and cry in equal measure, I fully recommend The Book of Joe by Vincent Price, by the way.
***** although I can think of a couple who come close. You know who you are.
miss_s_b: (Default)
In 1958 Christopher Lee played a radically different Dracula from any that had been seen before: sexy and urbane, he broke the mould and refashioned it around himself. In countless movies, Christopher Lee played an intelligent, saturnine villain. The Hollywood stereotype of the aristocratic British villain undoubtedly sprang from this.

This year, at the age of 91, he released his third metal album, to a reasonable amount of acclaim. And now other actors are getting in on the act:
That's a tweet from BRIAN BLESSED's official twitter account. Yes, that BRIAN BLESSED. Yes, that Manowar.

I don't know if the world can survive the volume of the track that will ensue from that recording session, but I advise you all to buy shares in earplugs. I will certainly be buying the album.
miss_s_b: (Fangirling: Lee)
Christopher Lee Reads Stuff

Currently containing Dracula, Frankenstien and Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde.

Currently NOT containing his Heavy Metal Christmas album, although I could be tempted by a Christopher Lee Sings Stuff playlist at some point too...

(X-posted personal journal and [community profile] spotification)
miss_s_b: (Fangirling: Lee)
So, we were talking about how Dracula doesn't have any servants and has to make his own beds (see original novel) and one thing led to another, and...

miss_s_b: (Fangirling: Lee)
I had three problems with the film:
  1. There weren't enough girls in it, and those there were... Well, they were only there to orbit the boys, to help them because boys are the ones who matter. I am weary of this trait in pretty much all forms of fiction - it's probably why I'm so addicted to Bones at the moment.

  2. Christopher Lee should never twinkle. It was unnerving how good he was at it.

  3. Gustav's resemblance to officer Crabtree from 'Allo 'Allo detracted from both the pathos and the menace of his character.
Aside from those minor issues*, though, I really enjoyed it. There was some beautiful and innovative camerawork, and the lighting was exquisite, and the performances from the three leads (the two kids and Ben Kingsley) were excellent. And I cried. Lots.

You should see this film if:
  • You like early cinema, because there are some beautifully integrated bits of old films, and a ton of visual and scripted references too

  • You're a steampunk person, because the set and effects will make you cream yourself, especially if you see it in 3D

  • You want to discover that not all child actors are awful and annoying.

  • You appreciate a beautifully crafted bit of cinematic act, even if it's not flawless

  • You can cope with all the flaws I mention above
You should NOT see this film if:
  • You need your films to pass the Bechdel test.

  • You need to have ACTION every five seconds, and can't cope with long, lingering, langourous artistry.

  • You don't want to see Jude Law die screaming in a fire - you don't get much warning that it's going to happen, so I'm warning you now.

In other news, I am feeling AWFUL tonight. This week has not been the easiest. So I am curled up in bed with a hot water bottle and faint sounds of Holly playing on her computer coming through the door. All brandy gratefully recieved.

* lack of female characters being a minor problem on a per-film basis, which adds up to a major and endemic one if you consider te totality of film, obviously.
miss_s_b: (Fangirling: Lee)
Worth watching for the clip montage alone, here is Christopher Lee getting his BAFTA fellowship, long overdue in my view.

Watching it reminds me of watching Peter Cushing on Jim'll Fix It not long before he died. He's so thin and frail. I haven't got the words at the moment to describe how sad that makes me feel. For the last twenty years Christopher Lee's barely aged, and then suddenly... :(

For more eloquent comment, see this post by [personal profile] magister. And have a drink to the sexiest voice in acting - he's still there, but watching that, I don't think he will be for much longer.

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miss_s_b: (Fangirling: Sam West)
[livejournal.com profile] minnesattva confessed that her first crush was commander Data. I can empathise with that; always having had a thing for Mister Spock, of which Data is the modern example. But here I am posting a picture of my first crush:

Christopher Lee in Taste the Blood of Dracula. ♥ Just that voice... Mmm...

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Monday, June 25th, 2007 03:12 am
miss_s_b: (Fangirling: Lee)
- Mack the Knife sounds really odd in German, especially when Christopher Lee is the one singing it.
- I just finished my penultimate [livejournal.com profile] who_daily post for the foreseeable future. I'm not sure how I feel about this.
- Doing [livejournal.com profile] who_daily posts appears to bring out my hives (the idea that it might have been the ginger biscuits I was eating while compiling the post is too traumatic to contemplate).

The only thing that now remains before bed is to wish the very sexy and delicious [livejournal.com profile] matgb good luck for the first day of his new job tomorrow. Hopefully they'll agree with me about how wonderful and brainy and fab he is and insist on giving him lots of extra money... ;)

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Hello! I'm Jennie (known to many as SB, due to my handle, or The Yorksher Gob because of my old blog's name). This blog is my public face; click here for a list of all the other places you can find me on t'interwebs.

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