Friday, 30 August 2019

Prorogue Protests

Tomorrow will see a great number of protests and demonstrations against Boris Johnson's undemocratic and dictatorial decision to prorogue parliament at this crucial stage of the Brexit negotiations. 

You can find your nearest demo here - not just for tomorrow, but for the coming days ahead. Personally, I'll be at Liverpool's St George's Plateau tomorrow from 12 noon. If you're local, then maybe I'll see you there? But wherever you are, I encourage everyone to make a stand in their neighbourhood. These are scary times and it's easy to feel saddened and frightened. But those feelings don't help anyone but the people who want to ride roughshod over us and the core values of this country. We need to turn those feelings into passion and positivity. We need to fight for our freedoms. Join us tomorrow, and the next day, and the next day...because you really don't want to be the person who stood idly by and let this country slide not only into a fascist dictatorship but also oblivion.

But, wherever you are protesting, please remember these words from one of Liverpool's greatest sons


Out On Blue Six: The Undertones

John Peel would have been eighty today.

It's impossible to find the words to mark such a momentous occasion or to remark upon the tragedy that he isn't here to celebrate it and to continue changing people's lives by introducing them to whole new worlds of music. So here instead is his favourite song

Teenage dreams, so hard to beat indeed. Happy birthday Peelie

End Transmission

Thursday, 29 August 2019

So Farewell Then, Ruth Davidson

As Ruth Davidson, leader of the Scottish Conservative Party resigned today, let's take a look at her achievements in office...

Yes, it was the photo op wasn't it? There was nothing else she excelled at, nothing else she gave to Scotland. But hey, wasn't she good at them? She was the ABBA of photo opportunities, whereas Kezia Dugdale was the Brotherhood of Man

Quite why it took Davidson all of yesterday evening to consider her position is beyond me, and it's telling of just how pathetically two-faced she was as a politician that even her resignation this morning was mealy-mouthed enough to not point the finger at Boris Johnson's dictatorial actions over Brexit as the root cause.

Farewell and good riddance.

Out On Blue Six: Oasis

It was twenty five years ago today - the release of Definitely Maybe

That makes me feel old! But the music is of course timeless. Indeed, you could say that it will Live Forever

End Transmission

Wednesday, 28 August 2019

Out On Blue Six: Wet Wet Wet

Following this tweet directed at Boris Johnson from Hugh Grant today... 

...I can safely say that Love is All Around for the Four Weddings actor.

End Transmission

PS: Sign Labour's petition to stop Boris Johnson's plan to suspend parliament here

Wordless Wednesday: Untitled Film Still #21

Stop Social Cleansing, Save Walden House and Cundy Street

At just twenty-eight years old, the Duke of Westminster own more land than Her Majesty the Queen. He is the world's richest man under the age of 30, with an estimated wealth of £9.3 billion.

And now, he wants to evict 40 families from London's Walden House and Cundy Street council housing to make way for high-rise luxury investment flats. His plan is to socially cleanse the area, making over 40 families and the elderly, many of whom have lived their all their lives, homeless. All to add to his astronomical bank balance.

If, like me, you think this is morally wrong and needs to be stopped then please unite behind the residents and sign this petition.

Word of the Day: Prorogue

Who knew there'd be benefits to living in a fash dictatorship eh? We need to look on the bright side. We've all learnt a new word today, and that word is 'prorogue'

In all seriousness though, we've learnt something else important today; we've learnt just what 'taking back control' actually means.

Taking back control means a man who is not a democratically elected leader of the nation can close parliament down on a whim, because he knows they won't give him what he wants - a No Deal Brexit. Boris Johnson can cite precedence, he can argue that he's doing it for the police and the NHS, all until he is blue in the face as well as politics. The truth is, this is all about getting his own way and to hell with everyone else. Boris Johnson has got far more in common with Hitler, than he has with his hero, Churchill.

Please sign this petition, and this one and indeed this one too, in an attempt to overturn this dictator's decision.

Tuesday, 27 August 2019

Out On Blue Six: Bucks Fizz

There are a few murmurs of surprise today at the news that Bucks Fizz star Jay Aston is standing as a parliamentary candidate for the Brexit Party in Kensington.

I don't know why the surprise - after all, they did sing The Land of Make Believe

Of course, there's an irony here; The Land of Make Believe was written by Pete Sinfield (formerly of King Crimson) as an anti-Thatcher/Conservative party policy song. The same policies that Aston will now be saying we should return to. And of course there's the irony that she only found fame in the first place because of the Eurovision Song Contest!

End Transmission

RIP Sheila Steafel

Sad to hear that Sheila Steafel passed away last week at the age of 84.

A great actress whose physicality and timing lent itself beautifully to comedy, Steafel was working right up until the last, most recently appearing in an episode of daytime detective drama series Shakespeare & Hathaway. Born in Johannesburg in 1935 to a family of amateur dramatists saw Steafel bitten by the performing bug at an early age and, upon moving to England, she studied drama at Webber Douglas, winning the Margaret Rutherford award for comedy. She married Steptoe & Son star Harry H. Corbett in 1958, but the couple divorced in 1964. Her TV credits included The Frost Report, Not Only But Also, How's Your Father, The Ghosts of Motley Hall, The Good Old Days, You Must Be the Husband, Minder, The Kenny Everett Television Show, The World of Peter Rabbit and Friends, Doctors, and Holby City whilst on film she appeared in Dalek Invasion Earth 2150 AD, Quatermass and the Pit, Melody, Percy, Digby The Biggest Dog in the World and Bloodbath at the House of Death. Her credits on the stage and on radio were equally innumerable.


Monday, 26 August 2019

Georgy Girl

My post concerning '90s British actress Georgina Cates has been getting a lot of traffic of late, presumably because 2 Point 4 Children has been repeated again on one of the satellite channels. So here's a couple more photos of her in her mid '90s movie star prime, coming I imagine somewhere between An Awfully Big Adventure and her arrival in Hollywood.

Sunday, 25 August 2019

Silent Sunday: Untitled Film Still #13

RIP Freda Dowie

I'm deeply saddened today to hear that Freda Dowie passed away earlier this month at the age of 91.

A veteran character actress, Dowie became known for playing a series of matriarchs and God fearing women in the late '80s and early '90s. In 1988, the filmmaker Terence Davies cast her as the dignified but much pained mother in his autobiographical classic, Distant Voices, Still Lives (pictured above). So key was Dowie to the film, that Davies has said that were she to have declined the role, the film would never have been made. A year later, in 1989, she starred as a devout Pentecostal churchgoer in the BBC's adaptation of Jeanette Winterson's autobiographical novel, Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit. In 1994 she played the mother of the learning-disabled Bernard (Richard Ridings) in Common as Muck, William Ivory's BBC drama series about binmen, and in 1996 she played Florrie, the deeply Catholic wife of Peter Vaughn's Felix and mother of Christopher Eccleston's Nicky, in the landmark BBC drama series Our Friends in the North by Peter Flannery.

What was ironic about these roles is that Dowie herself had no faith or, it seems, children of her own. She did briefly explore the teachings of Indian spiritualist Meher Baba, but ultimately rejected them because she could not accept he was the Avatar of God. Despite being married three times, there doesn't appear to be any mention of children in any of the obituaries that have appeared over this weekend.

Born in Carlisle on June 22nd, 1928, Dowie attended Barrow Girls' Grammar School, where she excelled at languages, before training at the Central School of Speech and Drama in London. She initially worked as an acting coach, becoming the principal of Southport's North West School of Speech and Drama. In 1958 she switched to acting, performing in rep and with the RSC. She scored her TV debut in 1959, beginning a fifty year career in the medium that took in roles in productions such as Jonathan Miller's adaptions of Whistle and I'll Come to You and Alice in Wonderland (and another adaptation in 1986), the Play for Today Edna, the Inebriate Woman, North and South, The Incredible Adventures of Professor Branestawm, Cranford, Cider with Rosie (two versions; one in 1971 and again in 1998), The Brontes of Haworth, Upstairs, Downstairs, Crown Court, I, Claudius, The Old Curiosity Shop, The Pickwick Papers, Middlemarch, and Heartbeat. Her film credits included roles in horror classic The Omen, and the Michael Winterbottom films Jude and Butterfly Kiss. 


Sunday, 18 August 2019

RIP Peter Fonda

I was deeply saddened to hear late on Friday evening that Peter Fonda had passed away at the age of 79.

Fonda memorably wrote and starred in the counterculture classic Easy Rider, but my favourite of his movies will always be the acid western The Hired Hand. On hearing of his death, I chose to watch Dirty Mary Crazy Larry in tribute - The Hired Hand would have been way too emotional!

"Part of my lifestyle you should all remember is having fun. Being funny is a big part of it. After all, if one is in tune, funny is the tune to play. Giving laughter is more fun than giving advice. Giving laughter while giving advice is the jackpot" ~ Peter Fonda.


Friday, 16 August 2019

The Chant of Jimmie Blacksmith (1978)

"...The violence is unflinching and unsettling. The fleeing Jimmie stands atop a mountain rage and quite literally declares war on all those supposed social ‘betters’ who have wronged him in the past, his words echoing with anger and passion. It is from this moment on that we witness a man who is arguably not a fugitive from justice, but is in fact one from injustice. His murderous violence is impossible to condone but, taking into account every slight that has brought him to this critical moment, it is perhaps easy to understand. The rebellion Jimmie undertakes from this point on is devastating, but it is arguably just the ripple effects from the moment of homicidal madness at the Newby farm, as Jimmie appreciates that, for him, there is no turning back and that the life he was encouraged to carve out for himself was one that could never have been possible. From the white Australian point of view the ‘savage’ has shown his – for want of a better phrase – true colours, but for the audience we can perhaps understand that if you’re called something by such people long enough, you’ll eventually give them what they have always believed. It’s a tragedy for all concerned..."

See my full review at The Geek Show

Wednesday, 14 August 2019

Seacoal (1985)

Founded in the North East in 1969, The Amber Film Collective's aim is to record working class life within the region, working with local communities and drawing upon a tradition of independent filmmaking, social realism, neo-realism, photography and documentary. A true collective that rejects creative didacticism, their first feature film, 1985's Seacoal is, like all their other works, not attributed to one director or author because it uses everyone within the production team.

The setting for Seacoal was Lynemouth Beach in Northumberland. For generations, the traveller community worked this beach, collecting waste coal from the sea and selling it on. An ancient tradition using  draught horses and carts, Amber captures the dying days of the industry as capitalism squeezes out the small men and women who lived upon its economic outskirts, destroying their livelihood and community as a result. 

Purchasing a caravan on the traveller site, Amber's production team lived with the seacoalers for two tumultuous years culminating in the miners' strike of '84 and '85. Capturing the day-to-day events of the community, they began to blend an experimental mix of documentary and drama, using observation, improvisation and reconstruction using actors (predominantly from the Amber team) and genuine seacoalers. Incredibly, you never once feel like anyone is acting and, were it not for the credits at the close, it's near impossible to identify who is the professional and who isn't.

At the heart of the film is the fictional thread Amber has weaved, concerning Ray (Ray Stubbs) who convinces his new girlfriend Betty (Amber Styles) and her young daughter Corrina (Corrina Stubbs) to move with him to Lynemouth, a beach he - like his father and grandfather before him - has previously worked. There they are introduced to seacoaling life, a world away from the abusive marriage she has left behind in Sunderland. Though the realities of the life proves harsh, Betty also finds a sense of community and of strong female solidarity that had previously alluded her. For Ray however, he finds that the industry is much changed; the exploitation at the hands of the hostile authorities and land owners (the Thompson brothers had purchased the beach, ensuring that any coal washed up on it automatically became theirs, affording the seacoalers only rights to that which could be retrieved whilst in the sea), combined with the miners' strike making coal scarce and snoopers at the DHSS, begins to have a terrible impact.

Seacoal is an important social document in that it captures the slow and painful death of a way of life that had existed for centuries yet had been largely elusive to the outside world. Amber records the industry with an integrity and an honesty that shows genuine respect for the dignity of - and most emphatically the right to - labour. Their clear and distinctive visual eye is astonishing to behold, capturing many bleakly beautiful scenes of its harsh and rugged locations and of the firsthand effects of '80s capitalism in the raw. A sequence in which Ray and his contact at the coalworks (played by much-missed Geordie actor Sammy Johnson, best known for his role as Jimmy Nail's sidekick Stick in the '90s BBC drama series Spender) share a pint in the pub is framed by the view of the street through the window behind them, which captures an almost Klondyke-like scene of a horse and cart trotting by with its black gold. Meanwhile, the scenes of the caravan site upon the cliff tops bring to mind that other slice of Americana; the migrant camps from the dust bowls of the Great Depression. 

Highly recommended.

Plus Size Bond Girls: August

I completely forgot to post this at the start of the month. Oops! Oh well, a fortnight late is still better late than never I guess.

Monday, 12 August 2019

Out On Blue Six: Martha

For some time now I've been revisiting my 1990s adolescence by watching repeats of 'Classic' Coronation Street weekdays on ITV3. We're currently in 1993, Raquel's working at the Rovers under Bet's wing and Curly's just bought Number 7 off Rita. We're some way off them getting together in their sweet but ultimately doomed and short-lived marriage, but we have already seen their first, brief relationship from 1991.

Why am I talking about long-ago Corrie in an Out On Blue Six music post? Well, it's all because of the band Martha actually. In 2016, the County Durham based band released their second album, Blisters in the Pit of My Heart, which contained an ode to Corrie's sweet odd couple, appropriately entitled Curly & Raquel

"It is in essence a song that's about love, but also being a weirdo, and we kind of looked at Coronation Street and pop culture in general because as we grow up that's how we develop our conceptions of love. Coronation Street can be the most mundane, everyday shit and that's sometimes really easy to relate to, especially with Curly and Raquel because Curly was always a bit of a nerd and we really relate to that"

And I can definitely relate to the band's words there. During their 2015 tour, Martha told the story of Curly & Raquel in this comic strip poster from artist Jack Fallows. I think it's really reminiscent of Daniel Clowes' Ghost World, which is also suitably apt considering the nerd/weirdo vibe

I wonder if Sarah Lancashire and Kevin Kennedy know of this song, especially Kennedy - the man who famously almost joined The Smiths before taking to the cobbles.

End Transmission

Sunday, 11 August 2019

Gallipoli (1981)

Gallipoli, Or It's All Fun and Games Until Someone Gets Hurt. 

You can draw a clear line from Peter Weir's magnificent slice of Aussie New Wave starring Mel Gibson to the actor's own later historically dubious, xenophobic Brit-bashing directorial efforts like Braveheart and The Patriot. And just like those films, Gallipoli's sense of injustice is somewhat erroneous. Whilst the argument that Australia was unfairly roped into fighting the empire's war is a subjective one, there are a good many facts that do not correspond with how Weir and his screenwriter David Williamson choose to tell the tale. The Australian attack at Nek was not a diversion for the British IX Corps landing at Suvla as stated in the film, but was in fact meant to coincide with the New Zealanders' attack on Sari Bair. Some of this misunderstanding is not wholly intentional; Colonel Robinson, the film's main antagonist who refuses to grant the order for the Australian troops to stand down, is often mistaken for an Englishman because of the clipped accent of the actor portraying him, John Morris, and his seemingly misguided faith in the British troops.  In reality, this character is likely based on the Australian Boer War veteran, Colonel John Antill of the 3rd Brigade who, along with the light horse commander Brigadier General Frederic Hughes, has been blamed by Australian historian Les Carlyon in his 2001 book for the tragedy. The depiction of the desire from the trenches to call off the charge, which was overruled by Robinson, doesn't ring true though, as the attack is said to have actually fallen away when a fourth wave charged without orders from superior officers.

Where things do get intentional however is in the manipulation of the truth regarding the British troops. The depiction of British soldiers present during the offensive is deeply incorrect; the film makes a great point of repeating an oft-quoted myth that the British were drinking tea on Suvla beach as the Australians were left to be cut down by the defending Ottoman army but, in reality, the British IX Corps were only ever tasked with holding the bay as a logistic base for the whole Sari Bair operation. The decision to not depict the heavy losses incurred by two companies of the British regiment, the Royal Welch Fusiliers, who were actually supporting the Australian attack at Nek further distorts historical truth, as does the fact that the total number of British soldiers at Gallipoli far outnumbered Australians - as indeed did the French troops, who actually did serve as a diversion when they landed on the Asiatic shore. There were 18,100 Anzacs, 27,500 British and 16,800 French. Soldiers from Ireland, Newfoundland, British India and a contingent of Russian Jews also made up this multinational operation. The poorly trained yet deeply courageous Australians suffered the second biggest losses during Gallipoli with 25,700 casualties in comparison to the British casualties which numbered 70,700. The British lost 26,000 men, whilst 7,800 Australians were killed.

It's easy to understand the resentment though. The Dardanelles campaign was, in the words of General Sir George MacMunn, "the most damnable folly that ever amateurs were enticed into". Whilst many rushed in the immediate aftermath and beyond to claim that Churchill's strategy of a second front in the Dardanelles was a masterstroke hindered by poor execution of the commanders on the ground, the reality is that Churchill's plan was ridiculously overambitious, poorly resourced and planned from the start. The future Prime Minister was acutely aware of the risks however, writing "The price to be paid in taking Gallipoli would no doubt be heavy, but there would be no more war with Turkey. A good army of 50,000 and sea-power—that is the end of the Turkish menace." The War Office refused to commit anything like that number to what was little more than a gamble on Churchill's part that the Turks would simply surrender and retreat from the war, yet a petulant and stubborn Churchill would go on to send them anyway. Initial success in February soon gave way to setbacks as the weather grew worse and Allied minesweepers drew heavy fire from the underestimated enemy, but Churchill dug his heels in and demanded the attack continued. Half the fleet was soon out of commission and it became clear that a naval strategy was no longer viable. A subsequent delay incurred as the military force was assembled to perform a land invasion, and this loss of surprise led to Ottoman forces boosting their defences, meaning that any advantage - however slim - was ultimately lost. 

Peter Weir's film is prone to stereotype of course, one that revels in the Australian ethos of mateship, larrikinism and a degree of innocence that first reared its had in the reportage of the time from Australian war correspondent Charles Bean; propaganda that surely warmed the hearts of those at home, whilst delivering a boost to national pride that perhaps helped to boost recruitment figures into the bargain. But to dismiss Gallipoli as wholly stereotypical would be absolutely and emphatically wrong. Weir and Williamson paint no rosy glow on the issue of war itself, and proceed to launch a devastating and polemical deconstruction of the myth that conflict is simply one big Boys Own adventure, arguing that it is instead a needless destroyer of life and innocence. In fixing upon Mark Lee's talented sprinter, Archy, the film serves as a rightful condemnation of the unnecessary slaughter of the thousands upon thousands of young men of great talent and genius that would go on to be known as The Lost Generation. Viewed now, Weir's film passes the baton on to Hugh Hudson's paean to the very remnants of that generation, or those athletes who just narrowly missed call-up, in Chariots of Fire, also from 1981. Though Hudson's film beats Weir's in its use of an electronic score (here supplied by Jean-Michel Jarre) over its running sequences by just five months. 

“What are your legs?”
“Springs. Steel springs.”
“What are they going to do?”
“Hurl me down the track.”
“How fast can you run?”
“As fast as a leopard.”
“How fast are you going to run?”
“As fast as a leopard.”

Monday, 5 August 2019

Greystoke: The Legend of Tarzan, Lord of the Apes

"It's a film about Adam and Eve, the Garden of Eden. It's about the loss of innocence and about the evolutionary urge. This boy is discovered by a Belgian, d'Arnot, and he's taught language. Up to that point he's very contented, but d'Arnot is the snake in the myth. He gives him the word, and from that point you could say he's lost. The question is, does he have to go on to join society, or not? The story asks you to consider how society lives, halfway between the apes and the angels, aspiring to go up yet coming from down there. It's about the battle of nature and nurture, nature and culture - a dilemma, a terrible dichotomy in us all. It's about the freedom of the jungle and the distortions and strictures of society, and how perhaps we can't do without either of them. There's not enough nature in society, and maybe not enough society in nature. The thing is about that sort of balance, which is so tender, so difficult to achieve, yet so essential to all of us. It's about two opposing forces, which shouldn't be opposing at all"

~ Hugh Hudson.

This was such a big deal in the 1980s. Everyone perhaps rightfully expected big things from Hudson after the superb Chariots of Fire, but a lofty adaptation of Edgar Rice Burroughs' literary creation seemed a stretch too far for some. As a child more familiar with Johnny Weissmuller and the scene-stealing Cheetah, I struggled to get my head around what was being presented. Viewed again with adult eyes, I had previously believed this to be something of a folly which, given some of the contemporary reviews and box office, was the generally held verdict. But I actually think that this is a film that benefits with age and ought to not only take its place among the Heritage pictures so prevalent during the 1980s, but be commended for trying to add something different to that genre too. Another way that I think this film grows better with age is that, with each passing year, the spectre of Weissmuller and the many loose and corny B movie adaptations fades from our collective memory, ensuring that this film - and the semi-faithful story it depicts - can be viewed on its own merit. That the most recent Tarzan movie, David Yates' 2016 feature The Legend of Tarzan borrowed so liberally from this as to almost be a semi-sequel, speaks volumes. 

A troubled journey to the screen, Greystoke was the baby of Robert Towne, who had been working on the screenplay ever since Warner Brothers purchased the rights to the character in 1974, though it was never actually finished. Keen to prove to the studio that he had the potential to direct the movie too, Towne took his interest in human movement and wrote and directed the athletic drama Personal Best in 1982. It was meant to showcase his abilities to secure the gig of Greystoke, but going over budget didn't avail himself to the bosses and he was ultimately ousted from his dream project. 

Enter Hugh Hudson. Working on Towne's rambling, unfinished script (Towne subsequently used the pseudonym P.H. Vazak for his onscreen screenwriting credit - the name of his sheepdog!) with Michael Austin, the Chariots of Fire director supplied it with an ending and crafted a uniquely English tale, placing the final act in the titular estate of Greystoke, thus eschewing Burrough's original story which saw Jane arrive in the jungle by way of a shipwreck (the same fate as Tarzan's parents - a heavy coincidence, especially when you consider that Tarzan's English cousin, William Cecil Clayton is also in the party) and concluded in her native Wisconsin. If Chariots of Fire was something of a celebration of the ambitions of a period England, then Greystoke is a condemnation; almost all of the English characters act like Jacob Rees-Mogg. Hidebound by stuffy tradition, they are snobs with a huge superiority complex and are shown to be avaricious, selfish and cruel beyond belief. Given such ugly nature on display in the English aristocracy, is it any wonder that Tarzan (though he's never actually referred to or called Tarzan in the movie; he is John 'Johnny' Clayton) ultimately comes to reject his inheritance? 

I really wish that we could have seen Hudson's original vision. I now think that this is a good film (3.5 out of 5 rating) but it could have been a better one (4 out of 5 rating). The film is clearly structured as a throwback to the Lean epics of the 1960s. It starts with an overture and has a clear intermission point in the moment that sees the screen fade as John and d'Arnot leave the jungle for the shores of England, before resuming the action at the Greystoke estate in Scotland. Unfortunately a good deal of footage set in the jungle was excised, truncating the film from a three hour opus to a two hour fifteen minute (supposedly) commercially viable option. This means that characters who were clearly meant to figure a little more in the narrative (arguably every one of the six returning Chariots of Fire actors) simply appear and exit the stage almost immediately. Personally, I believe the edit up front actually hinders the tone of the movie as the first forty minutes or so really do just feel like death, death, death in quick succession. The events depicted need more time to breathe, but instead they're all squashed together. 

I also wish that Hudson hadn't dubbed Andie MacDowell as Jane. No offence to Glenn Close who manages to convince us that the words are - in the main - coming from MacDowell's lips, I do feel it a shame that Hudson's main reason for the dub was that he did not want MacDowell's Southern accent in the film. The fact remains that Hudson cast MacDowell for her looks (he had seen her on a magazine cover) and that this was her acting debut. It's de rigueur to criticise MacDowell's acting, something which I always find deeply unfair, but it's hard to properly assess her performance when hampered by dubbing. Granted, the chemistry between her and Christopher Lambert's John Clayton is a little lacking, but I think that is primarily because it doesn't really appear to be one of Hudson's biggest interests in the picture. James Fox appears, performing to his bounder typecasting, to add an extra dimension to their love affair as an aristocrat vying her her affections, but he all too quickly shuffles off with his tail between his legs to make any impact.

Christopher Lambert (bearing an 'introducing' credit, as this was his first English-speaking film) is great casting as the orphaned heir John Clayton. Casting a Frenchman not only makes perfect sense when you consider he effectively learns to speak English from Ian Holm's Belgian explorer d'Arnot, it also ensures that he stands somewhat apart from the English cast who surround him at his ancestral seat, appearing suitably otherwordly and with everything here seemingly new to him.

This was the final film of acting legend Ralph Richardson, playing Clayton's grandfather. The actor passed away shortly after filming concluded and his twinkly, memorable performance earned him a posthumous Best Supporting Actor Oscar nomination. It's the perfect role for Richardson, playing up to his dotty screen persona to the last, and it's genuinely touching to see his elderly character sample a second childhood as a result of his grandson's return to the fold.

Lastly, the talents of special effects wiz Rick Baker and Peter Elliott and his fellow ape performers should not be ignored. Greystoke was made long before the advent of CGI and the motion capture world of Andy Serkis and their artistry and mimicry enabled the jungle world of Burroughs to come fully to life. These apes may sometimes look a little rubbery, but they are nonetheless solid, unlike the graphics in modern day movies.

For more, read this article from the Hollywood Reporter, interviewing Hudson about his experience prepping and making this movie.