Friday, 22 May 2009


Angels Are So Few (1970) by Dennis Potter

This is the first of Potter's visitation plays (see also Schmoedipus, Brimstone & Treacle), featuring Michael, an 'angel' who visits Cynthia, a bored and frustrated housewife. The question of whether Michael really is an angel is not clear - his 'curse', "I feel very sorry for you" seems to result in two deaths; the sneering postman and the elderly Mr Cawser, plus he also seems to be able to transport himself to the scene of the postman's accident while sat at Cynthia's kitchen table. On the evening after her first visit, Cynthia watches a TV 'Epilogue' delivered by a priest who reminds the viewer that angels were messengers from god who sometimes were the deliverers of death.
It's only at the end of the play, after he has been seduced by Cynthia, that the truth is revealed, although not in an altogether satisfactory manner. Potter has been here before. His Jesus in 'Son of Man' could quite as easily be a mortal man who is under the delusion that he is the Messiah - something which at the time aroused the irie of Mary Whitehouse et al.

Thursday, 21 May 2009

Witchcraft Through The Ages

Haxan (1922)

Directed by Benjamin Christensen, this documentary film on witchcraft was also released as "Witchcraft Through the Ages' in the 1960s, with a jazz score and narration by William Burroughs.

Rotten Fodder

White Lady

1987 play on the subject of pesticides by David (Penda's Fen) Rudkin which feels like one long public information film, until you realise there's not going to be a shock denouement - the damage has already been done.
Gil looks after his two daughters, living frugally in a farmhouse which the father is rennovating. The surrounding landscape, which consists of arable land and fruit trees, though beautiful, carries a hidden danger.
The story is intercut with images from a university research lab showing cell samples of animals which have been exposed to pesticides and data which reveals the amount of chemicals present on various fruit and vegetables.
A woman in a white dress is seen watching the children as they sleep. In a scene reminiscent of Dreyer's "Vampyr", we see the shadow of a sythe cast over the room as they sleep. Later, when the children wander through the fruit trees and find a banquet of sumptuous harvest (placed on draped chemical drums) the 'white lady' delivers an ominous speech in which she hints at the 'gift' she has already given them.

Below from Carl Dreyer's "Vampyr"

Thursday, 7 May 2009

Gentlemen take Polaroids

Cracking Play For Today from 1977 by 'Robin Redbreast' writer John Bowen, who once again examines a case of the bourgeoisie coming up against 'country ways'.
Snobbish radio arts presenter Michael Otway (John Stride) is anonymously sent a photograph of two girls sat outside a caravan which raises suspicions from his wife, Gillian (Stephanie Turner) over his fidelity. The marriage is already under strain and it is suggested that Stride, who we see is having an affair, is consciously trying to drive his wife to suicide. Gillian becomes obsessed with the photograph to such an extent that Stride sets out to find the location of the caravan....
The play is notable for Freda Bamford, who plays a role similar to the housekeeper Mrs Vigo in 'Robin Redbreast' - another practitioner of forgotten magic....