The Queens’ Delight

“What’s Up Doc?” Directed by Peter Bogdanovich. Starring Barbara Streisand, Ryan O’Neal. 93 mins. Distributed by Columbia-Warner

05-197208xx-9Have you ever seen a funny film and then attempted to repeat it to your friends. You stand there explaining every funny moment, working yourself to a frazzle doing it, and all the time having a ball reliving those moments. Then you glance at your friend’s face, sitting there with a bored expression, and you realise you’re “dying a death”. Well each of us has surely done this in the past, and therefore I’m not going to waste time repeating each and every gag that occurs in this very funny film. Suffice to say that it involves four identical travelling bags and the chase that ensues involving a large cast of mostly new faces to the screen.

First and foremost one must mention Peter Bogdanovich the director of that telling saga of mid-West America ‘The last picture show’. This is about as far removed from that film as can be. Its almost as if he intentionally proves he can handle a comedy as well as he handled the latter drama.

The picture stars the delightful, delectable (apply your own adjective according to your admiration) Barbara Streisand again playing a crazy kook of a girl which she managed to perfection previously in ‘The Owl and the Pussycat’. She’s lumbered with Ryan O’Neal for a co-star and as rumour has it that he left his wife for Miss Streisand in real life I suppose we must expect to see him again in other films whilst the romance is on. He might be dishy to look at but personality he hasn’t.

But SHE has . … and how. Wearing some pretty ghastly outfits she manages once again to confuse the brain in that she looks one moment a raving beauty, and the next moment downright ugly.

These days she is known as ‘The Queen’s delight’ and indeed there are precious few personalities around in films to rival her. With the passing of Judy Garland, the rare screen appearances of Bette Davis, and mere memories of Mae West in her hey day, we are ever hopeful that other new personalities might emerge in the coming years.

Apart from her brilliant comedy playing she warbles Porter’s “You’re the tops” over the credit titles, and later on a few bars of “As time goes by”. Let us hope that she can be persuaded to make more screen appearances soon whilst we are waiting for future star personalities to arrive.

Not for Trendies

“Greatest Hits” — Simon & Garfunkel — CBS 69003

05-197208xx-9Simon & Garfunkel’s Greatest Hits album is a fine memorial to a great duo who over the last six or seven years have produced some of the best and most pleasing popular music. It is a pity that they have finally decided to split up, although Paul Simon has already released a promising solo album. S & G’s musical roots are in folk but with the passing of time and with the gaining of experience and production knowledge they have moved into the less limiting world of rock, and in the last year or so have been into what could be called ‘symphonic’ rock. But without losing sight of the simplicity and directness of folk music.

And as they have progressed, so has their following grown. But without them having to sacrifice their ideas and experiments to please this wider audience. In other words, they are one of the few acts to incorporate the wide spectrum of musical styles available and at the same time have been able to bridge the gap between peoples peculiar likes and dislikes.

Now-a-days, S & G are usually put down by the hipper-than-thou trendies, who seemingly need a new ‘superstar’ to worship every few weeks, and not artists who get better as they develop their talents. Not for them anymore is the singing duo who once only used to turn them on, for now S&G manage to communicate to Mums abd Dads, ‘squares’ and ‘straights’, skinheads and greasers, and all the other social groups that aren’t in the seventh heaven of hip-dom. And that’s a shame for them because they have missed out on much good music and words; words that are more than just romantic sentiments and are valid, realistic comments and descriptions of the emotional states that are part of us all.

Simon & Garfunkel songs like Bridge Over Troubled Water and America are very much anthems of the times we live in. The two people in the latter song are looking for America – for an identity, and aren’t we all looking so very hard for something, something that this materialistic, automated world is unable to provide. And with a song like Bridge Over Troubled Water, there aren’t many people who, in a serious loving relationship with another, couldn’t have applied the words in the song to themselves.

If you have S & G’s other albums, you may find it unnecessary to get this album, although ‘live’ versions of some of their hit singles are included here, but without them losing any of the power of the studio recorded versions.

Also, despite their age, songs like The Sound of Silence and I Am A Rock still sound as convincing as ever, for me the imagery of The Sound of Silence is even more provocative and intriguing than it was before. Personally, I miss the non-inclusion of At The Zoo and Baby Driver, but all the other hits and well-known songs are there.

Greatest Hits albums quite often don’t make it because the songs are out of context from the original way they were presented, or time doesn’t allow songs from different periods in an artists career to jell well together. But with this album none of these problems arise. If you don’t know S & G’s earlier material this album is a good way of getting to hear it, and if you feel like rediscovering past favourites this is an ideal medium to do So. For me, this album will be regularly played for some time to come.

Up Frankie Howerd

“Up The Front” Directed by Bob Kellet. Starring Frankie Howerd, Dora Bryan, Lance Percival, Bill Fraser, Zsa Zsa Gabor. Distributed by Anglo-EMI. Cert ‘A’ – 88 mins.

05-197208xx-9Oooh. No. what? Ah. yes ….. No, Listen. Poor soul, no, don’t laugh. Who else but Francis Howerd, master of the double entendre and the camp gesture. Not seen much these days on television, and in danger of being knocked off his throne in that media by Larry Grayson, having now transferred his talents to celluloid. Let me put it on record, before I continue, I have been a fan since Variety Bandbox (whoops, me age is showin’). So when I blatantly state that he is wasted on film it is for genuine concern for him as an artist. Perhaps it has something to do with the fact that I have always preferred him as a stand-up comic, and do not think that situation comedy is his forte. I do of course understand his desire to progress, remembering him so long ago pleading with Johnny Speight to write a film script for him. I wish he had. It was obviously a market he wanted to conquer, and did, his first two films being box-office hits. But I always thought he was selecting his material with a care for his image. Like the late great Tony Hancock whose intention to move in a more artistic direction failed and tragically lost him his public and eventually his soul, maybe Frankie Howerd saw the moral. Although I would much rather sit through and enjoy the underrated ‘Punch and Judy Man’ than ‘Up the Front’.

The plot, as with the laughs, is thin, woven around Lurk (Howerd) as a loser, but under hypnosis, from a nice cameo role by Stanley Holloway, whose assistant has the most liquid jellified boobs I have ever seen, seeks to save England and become a war hero, which of course he does, by having the German master plan tattooed on his bum. Bill Fraser as ‘Groping’ (not just his name it’s his hobby) is excellent and has better lines than the star, as does Lance Percival as a German Officer. Dora Bryan plays Dora Bryan again, constantly squeaking the appalling title song … they don’t write ’em like that any more, in fact they wrote better. But despite a few asides Frankie Howerd has little or no comic lines; the only high-camp high-spot where he has a chance to shine is the scene with Zsa Zsa Gabor, as Mata Hari. So as ‘Carry Ons’ do, so will the ‘Ups’, continuing ad infinitum. Me?

I’m still diggin’ the Runaway Bus……

Biograph review

Last issue Julian was a little peeved, in this one he’s as cross and annoyed as someone with piles in Tangiers. Ooh, those silly people at Gay News who are responsible for the pasting up of the paper. No doubt you know what I’m talking about, just in case you don’t, take a look at my last Bio review and see what those naughty people did with it. The beginning is alright, but the second paragraph is a passage from the middle of my piece, the paragraph that ties in with my opening is somewhere in the middle, and my review of the first films showing that fortnight somehow ends up at the end of the whole article.

I will have to forgive them I suppose, especially after giving me an absolutely divine lettering for Biograph Review. And that little illustration of my favourite bag at the end by my signature is very nice. One wonders what else of my personal attire will end up there. So ‘boys’ and ‘girls’ of Gay News, watch, or else Julian will do a number of you, know what I mean ‘loves’.

05-197208xx-9Now let me tell you of the films showing at the end of August and at the beginning of September at our little haven, the Biograph. On Thursday 24th August, for three days. Jean Seberg (lovely lady) and David Jannsen star together in Macho Callahan. God knows what this is about. I’ve never heard of it, and even I can’t think of something witty to say about it Macho Maudling perhaps? Support feature is Rider On The Rain, an exciting thriller, if the beloved Bio staff can manage to get the reels in the correct order. I wonder if anyone would notice though? The cast of this little beauty are Charles Bronson and Marlene Jobert.

Sunday 27th August is Western Sunday at the Bio. Henry Fonda pops up again, ably supported by James Stewart (what a man!), in Firecreek, whilst Stewart Granger (another old man of the West) stars in Flaming Frontier. If you’re into cowboys, this is for you.

When Dinosaurs Ruled The Earth with Patrick Allen and Victoria Vetri is showing for three days commencing on Monday 28th August. Times have changed, it’s my friend who thinks he rules earth now, and me especially. But I like it. Really though, it’s a super film if you like that sort of thing. Hammer films produced this historic piece. Also showing is Me,Me,Me And The Others What others? Gina (don’t say it when you’re tipsy) Lollobrigida and Walter Chiari are the principle actors in this bit of nonsense.

Thursday 31st August, for three days, has The People Next Door and C.C. And Company playing together. Well they might. Eli Wallach and Julie Harris do their thing in the former, whilst Ann-Margret (again) and Joe Namath perform together in the latter. Both portray middle-class America, are made by middle-class Americans, for middle-class Americans. Sure you’ll love them dears.

Treats on Sunday 3rd September for us. Richard (throb) Egan stars in Chubasco. But even more thrilly is another appearance by Rod Taylor, this time in Hotel. Rod shares acting credits with his friend Melvyn Douglas, and have they got their claws sharpened!

Sunflower, with Sophia Loren and Marcello Mastrioianni (Fellini’s friend), is showing for three days starting Monday 4th September. Not such a bad film, it certainly hasn’t deserved the limited screenings it has had so far. One up for the Bio. Support is An Eye For An Eye starring Robert Lansing, who lances his way through this second feature attempted thrill-maker. Good B movie, ideal companion for the rather soft main feature.

Future delights at the Bio in early September are the ‘wicked’ Baby Love, and Cosa Nostra – Arch Enermy Of The F.B.I., with our old friend from Burke’s Law (remember?) Efrem Zimbalist Jnr. in the starring role.

Before I leave you let me say “knickers” to Mr. Copeland and his sergeant-at-arms Mr.Nespit (or something like that). Seriously though, please gentlemen don’t take things so seriously, everything can be fun, really. And please Gay News staff try and get my para’s in the right order (no offence soldier). Bye for now loves.

Ed. Did you notice Julian’s deliberate mistake?

Thursday 24th August
Macho Callahan : AA : David Jannsen & Jean Seberg
Rider On The Rain : AA : Charles Bronson & Marlene Jobert

Sunday 27th August
Firecreek : A : James Stewart & Henry Fonda
Flaming Frontier : U : Stewart Granger

Monday 28th August
When Dinosaurs Ruled The Earth : A : Patrick Allen & Victoria Vetri
Me, Me, Me And The Others : A : Walter Chiari & Gina Lollobrigida

Thursday 31st August
The People Next Door : X : Eli Wallach & Julie Harris
C.C. And Company : X : Ann-Margret & Joe Namath

Sunday 3rd September
Chubasco : A : Richard Egan
Hotel : A : Rod Taylor & Melvyn Douglas

Monday 4th September
Sunflower : A : Sophia Loren & Marcello Mastrioianni
Eye For An Eye : A : Robert Lansing Thursday 7th September
Baby Love : X : Ann Lynn & Linda Hayden
The Hell Benders : X : Joseph Cotten

The Biograph,
Wilton Road, Victoria, SW1.