Mar 27, 2012

Nick C still has my dvd copy of Darling

(And Junebug, too!) and I have been itching to watch Darling for a month or so now.  Luckily, as part of the English New Wave March Mondays on TCM, Renee and I were able to watch Darling last night.

Darling is just getting better with age.  I do not think I have enjoyed this film as much as I did last night.  (Maybe it is because I have seen so many bad, disappointing movies lately?)

Her idea of fidelity is not having more than one man in bed at the same time.

From the opening shots, where a billboard promoting charity for African malnourished children gets slathered over with a magazine cover picture of our "hero", Diana Scott, played by Oscar-winning, Julie Christie, to the final shot of a smartly-dressed London lady picking up said magazine in Picadilly Square, following her to a sad, toothless lady busker finishing her beautiful song.

Time and again,  John Schlesinger, the director, uses opposing twin images in editing to expose the differences between the haves and the have-nots. And throughout the film, Schlesinger uses sound effects and all sorts of different types of media to shock and surprise his audience.  There is a newsreel, real documentary footage, a commercial advert,  and a film within the film.

For once, we get a voice-over, the whole film is ostensibly Julie Christie's life story, given to an interviewer for a magazine, that actually makes sense and works.  In fact, the entire film is an opposite twin of her version of events.  It is masterfully executed, used for great humor throughout the entire picture.

All the performances are astounding, notably Dirk Bogarde, Laurence Harvey, and Roland Curram. The costumes for Ms Christie are stunning and obviously helped turn her in to a big star.  You do not root for Julie Christie, our nasty lying hero, so much as root against her, with great relish. That is one of the hardest tricks to turn in films and novels, and here Schlesinger and the screenwriter, Frederic Raphael, turn the trick with an uncanny insight in to London's (real) Swinging 60s, and amazing grace and panache.  A honest-to-goodness masterpiece.

And did I mention the shot of the kiss on the train? Or the decadent Parisian party? Or the "whores in taxis bit"? Or, "You crumb!"?

(This is a terrible review.  It is more a mash note.)

Nick C, I want my movies back.

Now, I will have another sip of Mariage Freres tea and head off to work.

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