Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Film Club At Slocombe's

The world tour of Millbrook being undertaken by Film Club continued last Sunday with a date at Slocombe's petite abode; adding to the throng we had the third appearance at Film Club by Helen who also kindly offered to host the next session on Sunday week (that's the 29th, film fans). So as always, we hope the usual suspects can make it along - just remember it's another new venue!

Anyway there we all were, snuggled together in the bijou-ness of Slocombe's cosy and characterful hobbit hole, and I'd forgotten my camera to record the momentous occasion. So the rather inadequate camera on the mobile would have to do instead. This means the photos are a tad hazy and the well known Millbrookians within them might only be barely recognisable.
That was Frankenkeith and Dong enjoying a small libation after the film; the photo represents one of the better ones from the evening.

I'd better show everyone else as well - so here's Helen, Shazzerooneypoos and Mrs The Millbrooker making use of the sofa.
And finally our fine host for the evening, Slocombe Baggins (or is that Bilbo Slocombe?) himself.Anyway, on to the film which was a lighter hearted piece of cinema than the sort of thing we often put ourselves through, a perennial old favourite: Elliot Silverstein's 1965 comedy western Cat Ballou.
It wouldn't surprise me to find that almost everyone who reads this nonsense that I insist on pouring forth into the ether will have already seen Cat Ballou. In which case my apologies if I'm simply treading over old ground.
Cat Ballou is a good old fashioned piece of fun; the plot is about as thin as a western can get (girl hires tired old gunfighter to get revenge on her father's murderers), but the whole thing is so ridiculously tongue-in-cheek and genuinely laugh-out-loud silly that you can forgive it almost anything.

The dialogue is pacey, with some terrific one-liners (a personal favourite being when Lee Marvin as Kid Shelleen demonstrates his skills as a hired gunfighter: "He did it! He missed the barn"). Marvin won the best actor in a leading role Oscar for this film - oh, for those days when actors won for their ability to act. His performance is a delightful study in comedic timing and an astute study in the lamentable conditionof the long-term boozer.The title role belongs to the 26 year old Jane Fonda (I know - hard to believe that she's 71, isn't it?); drop dead gorgeous and also with enough comic nowse to keep the narrative bubbling along good humouredly. She and Marvin make an unexpectedly good double act (sadly, one that was never repeated).One of the best things about the film is the running commentary in song by a pair of troubadours who pop up all over the place to update us on what we've just seen and what's going to happen next. If they weren't so utterly brilliant such nonsense would be irritating beyond belief, but Nat "King" Cole and Stubby Kaye are perfect.You'll have sussed by now that I just really like this film. I liked it when I first saw it (I must have been about 10); I liked it when I saw it again in the mid 1980s; I almost had an embarrassing accident laughing at a couple of the scenes at Film Club.

With a touch of personal regret, I have to report that I tipped far too much of Slocombe's proffered red stuff down my neck (and suffered hugely the next day at work in consequence), so I can't actually remember the film club scale. I expect it went something like this:

Dong took a single fag break (not because he didn't like the film, he just wanted a fag and had seen Cat Ballou on more than one occasion before). Shazzerooneypoos made lots of wuffling noises, but not out of boredom - she was laughing and thoroughly enjoying herself. Slocombe didn't have a pithy comment he just said that the film was "the perfect choice" for a Sunday night, and he really enjoyed it; Frankenkeith was a fan too. Mrs The Milbrooker enjoyed the film and the evening until I had to be taken home before I became a disgrace.

So, there you go, a big thumbs up for Cat Ballou. If you haven't seen it (or haven't seen it recently) give it a go; I can almost guarantee a smile, unless you've got no soul.

Here's a short clip (just under two minutes) of the scene when "Steel Eye" Kid Shelleen arrives to answer the call for help from Cat Ballou, featuring the incomparable Nat "King" Cole and Stubby Kaye.

No comments: