A GREAT big, sprawling, ill-disciplined countercultural satire adapted by Terry Southern and Joe McGrath from Southern’s own novel, this is possibly the prime exponent of that genre’s disjointed vignette approach to storytelling. The high concept is got over in the opening minutes – cynical millionaire Guy Grand (Peter Sellers) and his young cohort (Ringo Starr) set out to mock various areas of society by using Grand’s vast wealth to bribe individuals into willfully belittling their own roles in life. And that’s it. Thus the film wavers between sketches on this slender theme which deliver (an on-train board meeting with Dennis Price, the amputation of the nose from a priceless painting as a mortified John Cleese looks on) and those that don‘t (the phrase ‘Laurence Harvey strips while reciting Hamlet’ is about as entertaining as the sketch it describes). By the time Yul Brynner and Christopher Lee are wheeled on for arbitrary cameos aboard a luxury liner that symbolises Britain (somehow) the air of self-importance is stifling. Nearly all the big, sprawling countercultural satires of the ’60s (see also Candy, How I Won the War, If…) punched above their weight to some degree, but The Magic Christian‘s episodic pomp, coupled with the predictability of its disparate scenes and its tendency to coast along on a wave of borrowed countercultural trappings, make it an easy film to watch, but a hard film to like.Read More
Posts Tagged With 'Patrick Cargill'
‘Flowers are smiling bright/Smiling for our delight…’ An ailing Charles ‘Charlie’ Chaplin takes an abysmal lurch into colour, directing Marlon Brando as he romances displaced Russian aristo Sophia Loren on a Pacific cruise. Patrick Cargill, Margaret Rutherford, Carol Cleveland and Marianne Stone help spark a bit of interest for the seasoned Brit cameo spotter.Read More
“Think dir-teeeee!” Marty Feldman stars as frustrated junior advertising exec Teddy Brown in this decidedly wayward sex/commerce satire scripted by himself, Barry Took and Denis Norden. Lumbered with a nightmare campaign for McLaughlin’s frozen porridge (“for bonnie boys and bonnie girls”), jealous of his slick Transatlantic associate Moray ‘Compact’ Watson, and all but estranged from his prudish wife Judy ‘Paradise Towers’ Cornwell, he drifts off into assorted fantasy sequences (often animated by a still-learning-the-ropes Richard ‘Pink Panther’ Williams), dreams up various perverse campaigns for the porridge (a countrywide beauty contest, a sexed-up Goldilocks ad, a Clockwork Orange-style gang rape scene inspired by a Wednesday Play with Dave Dee) and lusts after Swedish nanny Julie ‘Pompeii’ Ege (in a possibly ill-advised all-nude fantasy beach sequence). Along the way, we get plenty of sixties/seventies glamour signifiers (rubber plants, all-white corridors, “Marty Feldman’s wardrobe supplied by Mr Fish”, lavishly Formica-ed restaurants and boardrooms complete with cocktail bar behind sliding panel), that toothpaste tube-shaped car that used to appear on the likes of Nationwide and Blue Peter a lot, a climactic chase through a props department, Patrick ‘Wives’ Cargill, Jack ‘Corrie’s Bill Gregory’ Watson as the kilted Old Man McLaughlin, Penelope Keith as a Gestapo Nanny, Dinsdale Landen and Frances de la Tour getting hot under the collar at one of Cornwell’s Whitehousian TV campaign meetings, Michael Bates, John Wells and Alan Bennett appearing unannounced in the final courtroom scene, Vicki ‘Prince Andrew’ Hodge, and a blink-miss stint from Marianne Stone as a TV producer.Read More
The curio’s curio, this one. A Rank musical comedy wherein we have to take it on trust that a) Donald Sinden is a songwriter by trade, b) he’s going out with Diana Dors, c) James Robertson Justice is her dad, and d) by picking up the wrong suitcase he suddenly becomes sole guardian of the titular grinning reptile, with endless japes and scrapes being the inevitable result. Once you’re past those low hurdles, however, it’s a fantastic slice of Technicolor corn, with a great early Cream cast containing Stanley ‘little bit of luck’ Holloway, Richard ‘Sykes’ Wattis, Margaret ‘one third of a chicken’ Rutherford, Patrick ‘wives’ Cargill, Gilbert ‘line’ Harding, Joan ‘washing machine’ Hickson, Frankie ‘naughteii naughteii’ Howerd, Nicholas ‘Haynes’ Parsons, Tony Selby, Ronnie Stevens and George ‘Pipkins’ Woodbridge. Incidentally, Daisy, though owned by Jimmy Edwards in the film, was in reality the property of two eccentric, elderly widows from Woking, where she lived in suburban splendour with her companion, a pipe-smoking six-footer named Bill.Read More
DOPEY OLD buffer forgets where he’s left his spouses and gets hitched not once, not twice, not thrice, but six times. That the blatherer in question is PATRICK CARGILL and one of the simpering sextet was ELSPETH GRAY renders the whole thing somehow unsurprising. As with most lecherous billy goats of the 1970s, Cargill’s character – Patrick Woodford – was also stupidly camp, as if that somehow explained things. Also had a daughter who was Susan in the Dr Who films.Read More
MIDDLE CLASS MITHERING from put-upon pater PATRICK CARGILL, camp old duffer novelist always in a flap, who passed through life with a literary agent called Georgie and two blonde daughters, Anna (NATASHA PYNE) and Karen (ANN HOLLOWAY), both helpless rich. Tons of guest stars also showed up, including DONALD SINDEN (inevitably), JUNE WHITFIELD (delightfully), LESLIE PHILLIPS (smarmily), RICHARD O’SULLIVAN (caddishly) and HUGH PADDICK (hopelessly).Read More