Don't worry, I'm not starting a long sermon, nor a novel. This is just a short preface to my DVD reviews. You know, I'm on an educational journey. Since I started blogging I 've been learning very much and every day I want to learn more. For instance, I know many of you admire and love Colin Firth and consider him the ultimate Mr Darcy. Well, don't laugh out loud, please! but I saw him in Bridget Jones I & II, Shakespeare in Love and The Importance of Being Earnest at the cinema without knowing much about him, precisely without knowing he was Mr Darcy. My first P&P adaptation was 2005. Yes, I know, unforgivable. Now, since thanks to blogging I've also met very good friends who love Colin Firth and know everyhting about him and his career and, since I absolutely don't wan't to lose or disappoint them, I'm working hard to reduce my ... ignorance. Of course, I've seen Pride and Prejudice 1995 now, how couldn't I? But Colin Firth worked in so many other interesting films, that I decided to see at least some of them . So I started my Firthian education. In brackets: dear RA fans, don't worry, I'm a very faithful woman, ... one and for life!
ANOTHER COUNTRY (1984)
Cast - Colin Firth (Tommy), Rupert Everett (Guy), Anna Massey, Robert Addie, Tristan Oliver, Michael Jenn, Cary Elwes, Frederick Alexander
This text was adapted for the screen by Julian Mitchell who had previously written it as a play. It tells about the lives of a group of brats from British aristocracy and is set in one of the most exclusive male public schools in the 1930s. Two protagonists: Tommy Judd and Guy Bennet . One of them , now a spy for KGB living in Moscow, recalls those years in a long flashback : dandism, marxist ideals, homosexuality, repression, hypocrisy and cricket characterized the protagonists' youth.
This film was presented at Cannes Festival in 1984 and signed the beginning of two really promising careers: Colin Firth's and Rupert Everett's.
I liked it. How couldn't I? Period film, amazing locations, 1930s England , great acting. Only that after watching Maurice or Dead Poets Society it seemed ... already seen. Then themes like marxism or homosexuality are dealt with in a rather rethorical, obvious way.
I loved Colin Firth's character though. Tommy is an interesting teenager, rather unusual. Colin was already 24 when he played the part of this 17-year-old boy ready to bear scorn , unfriendliness and isolation in the name of his ideals. He is firmly attached to those ideals , at any cost. Uncommon young man, wise , smart and terribly witty.
Some of Colin/Tommy's lines are unforgettable:
1. Devenish : "I don’t see why you have to be against everything"
Tommy: "I’m not. I’m for revolution"
2. (in the cricket chhanging room)
Wicked Fowler asks Tommy : " Are you trying to be clever or something?
And Tommy "I don’t have to try: I AM clever"
Then Fowler: " I’ve half a mind to ask Barclay for permission to beat you"
And Tommy: "Well, you’ve half a mind, we can all agree on that!"
FEVER PITCH ( 1997)
Cast: Colin Firth, Mark Strong, Sarah Hughes, Holly Aird
There are at least three good reasons why I should have seen this film before.
1. It is based on one of Nick Hornby's works, he also wrote the screenplay. I love his humour and have read several of his novels.
2. I'm surrounded by male human beings suffering from high fever pitch.
3. I am a teacher and the protagonists of the film are also teachers
Now I know what I lost. Great fun and sensitive dealing with contemporary society's obsessive manias, as usual in Nick Hornby. Hornby tried to self-analyze his soccer - mania in this story with irony and intelligence.
But how could Colin Firth move from calm and collected Mr Darcy to a coarse soccer hooligan like Paul Asworth?
Nick Hornby himself writes:
I felt I had heard and made every joke it is possible to make on this subject within about ten minutes of Colin Firth's name first being mentioned; suffice to say that, yes, I am bald and he is not, he is tall and I am not, my ears and stomach protrude more than his ears and stomach, he looks good on Tv in a wet white shirt and I ...well, nobody has ever given me a chance, actually, so I'm not conceding that one. The trouble is the TV and film actors look better than the rest of us - it could be argued that this is the whole point of them - and , in any case, physical verisimilitude was never a prerequisite. We were more interested in acting and stuff, and nobody can deny that Firth is one of the best actors of his generation. At Christmas 1995 , when we were casting, Pride and Prejudice was being watched by 13 million people, and it was hard (for us anyway) to see Colin swapping from Austen breeches for the Arsenal boxer shorts". (from Nick Hornby, Fever pitch: The screenplay, London, Indigo, 1997)
Yes, Mr Darcy accepted, it seems ... he is a terrific Paul Asworth and he has a bald friend, Steve, played by Mark Strong.
FEVER PITCH is an enjoyable romantic comedy about a man , a woman and a football team, Arsenal. It is only loosely based on Nick Hornby's best selling autobiographical novel. Paul Ashworth is an English teacher who believes his long standing obsession with Arsenal serves him well. But when he meets Sarah, one of her colleagues his world of certainties starts cracking. Their relationship develops in tandem with Arsenal's roller coaster fortunes in the football league...
Thank you, Mr Firth. It was a great pleasure to watch these two movies. A great pleasure, indeed. Now, what's next? What are the unmissable ones in a good Firthian Education? I guess there are still many yet to go.