Episode Two: It’s the same show but with a twist! Jamie and Andrea Dyer discuss three classic films, one physical, one recently on broadcast television and one available via streaming.
- The first film a new Blu-Ray release from StudioCanal of the 1954 British film The Sleeping Tiger, starring Dirk Bogarde, Alexis Smith and Alexander Knox.
- The second film is something Talking Pictures TV recently broadcast. The 1962 comedy The Fast Lady, starred the late Leslie Phillips, James Robertson Justice, Stanley Baxter and Julie Christie.
- The third film is the 1957 Twentieth Century Fox movie An Affair To Remember, starring Cary Grant and Deborah Kerr. It is available to stream on Disney Plus.
Listen to the episode below:
Music from Uppbeat (free for Creators!):
License code: PHTEKGMHOZHNZADV
Here is a transcription of the episode:
Jamie: Hello and welcome. It has been a while, we’ve redecorated and we hope you’ll like what you’re about to hear. The format may be different, but the idea is still the same. Let’s get enthusiastic about sine vintage films. In this episode, we discuss two classic British films featuring the cream of the crop in both Comedy and Drama. Then, we take a trip to Hollywood for one of the most romantic films of all time. That’s all to come on the Old Time Trio Podcast.
Promotional: This podcast is brought to you by Old Time Review. News, reviews, opinion and podcasts about vintage media. Check us out at www.OldTimeReview.co.uk.
Theme Music – Fades
JAMIE: So the first film we shall discuss today is 1954’s The Sleeping Tiger. It was directed by Joseph Losey (under the credit of Victor Hanbury) and starred Dirk Bogarde, Alexis Smith and Alexander Knox. Part of the Vintage Classics Collection, StudioCanal has released a restored version on Blu-Ray. We watched it not long ago, what did you make of it Andrea?
Andrea: Well, I have to confess it was my second time watching the actual film, although obviously the first time viewing this restoration of it. So, the picture quality and the sound were absolutely perfect, and I think that always brings something extra out of a film. It sort of brings you in more I think when you don’t feel like a sort of film between you and the actors. But in terms of the actual film, I kinda thought I knew what to expect; I thought I remembered most of what happened, but it still managed to take me by surprise in places. It’s quite a moody film, isn’t it?
Andrea: Obviously it’s like a psychological sort of thriller, I suppose, in a way. If I had given it that title before I watched it, I think I would have found that off-putting. It’s not in a kind of frighteningly intense sort of way; It’s just really compelling, isn’t it? I think it’s safe Bogarde, if that makes any sense, because (obviously) I think you can look at Dirk Bogarde’s in like two parts…in a way. And it belongs to the first half, where he did a lot of (kind of) safe; a Lot of comedy; A lot of comedy romance type…just fun films. But its (The Sleeping Tiger) one of the films that he made in THAT era that I think means a bit more. It’s exploring themes that may be something like most of his films (like Doctor in the House etc), obviously, they don’t go THERE. No, I really enjoyed it. I don’t think I could have been watching very closely the first time I watched it, because this time round it affected me more, it compelled me more. At every moment in the film that is designed to surprise you, or catch you off guard, that is exactly what it did; And I kind of wasn’t almost expecting that.
Jamie: Bogarde in this film plays a criminal who’s taken by somebody he’s trying to burgle…I think, isn’t that the plot?
Andrea: Yes, basically he tries to rob a psychologist I think. And this man, instead of pressing charges against him, he decides to take him into his house in a sort of semi-prison arrangement; And tried to treat him and analyse him and work out why he does what he does, why he’s a criminal, and rehabilitate him really.
Jamie: And as you say, it’s very dark in places. But it does also go to some very obvious places as well. I mean there are affairs, there’s sort of some tricky stuff, but there’s also moments of almost modern thinking around mental health.
Andrea: Yes, Yes I think…As you said it goes to (kind of) predictable places but it almost just takes those things that tiny bit further than you expect them to be doing in this era.
Jamie: Definitely so. In terms of the story, I don’t want to give too much away, because (obviously) we want to encourage you to go and watch it…But, there is a chase scene at the end which I felt was (sort of) uncharacteristic of the rest of the movie. Did you think it worked?
Andrea: It’s funny isn’t it! When it’s happening, I think during that scene, you are almost taken out of the story a little bit because you do think “does this fit? Do we need this here? Like, it’s so different than the rest of the pace of the film I think Thinking about it now, I do wonder if that’s what makes it work. That they’ve taken you out of the more steady thoughtful pacing of the rest of the film; And it’s made into this kind of frantic moment, And it (sort of) builds up to that climax at the end. And then I do think you feel quite satisfied by that when the closing frames gone away and you’re left with that feeling of “Ooh I enjoyed that”. I think it does work, even though it almost shouldn’t.
Jamie: Do you think this is (arguably) Bogarde’s best film?
Andrea: I think it’s certainly up there among the top few yeah. I mean he did work a lot with that director, and Joseph Losey did make some very good films. So actually, those two as a pairing, often you come out with a very good film at the end of it.
Jamie: This film, how many out of ten do you rate it?
Andrea: Oooh, I think I’m gonna have to say nine and a half.
Jamie: That’s a lot. I mean, that is a very high rank isn’t it?
Andrea: (laughs) No pun intended!
Jamie: No pun intended no!
Andrea: Yeah I suppose it is. When you asked me, I really didn’t know what to say. And before we watched the film, I (kind of) didn’t remember it being so “not by numbers”, if that makes sense. As I say, I must have approached it from a different standpoint this time watching it I think. Yeah, I really enjoyed it. And I think I would watch it again…happily; Because it was very compelling, and I think it was one of those films (as well) where you would notice extra nuance on further watching.
Jamie: I think I would personally give it, maybe a seven because I’m not as familiar with Bogarde’s works as you. I enjoyed it but the actual genre itself isn’t something I’m overly familiar with. So if I was to say it was the best film ever, I don’t feel that would have any credibility! So that is The Sleeping Tiger, and it’s available now on Blu-Ray from StudioCanal.
Jamie: The second film on the table, which was broadcast on Talking Pictures TV recently, is the British Comedy film The Fast Lady. It’s a film I have discussed at length in the past, I previously reviewed Network Distributing’s Blu-Ray edition of the film. It’s still on Old Time Review if you want to have a look. It was released in 1962 and was directed by Ken Annakin, whom I recognise as the director of such films as Third Man On The Mountain, Swiss Family Robinson, The Story Of Robin Hood and his Merrie Men, Crooks Anonymous, The Planters Wife, Three Men In A Boat and The Huggets series.
The Fast Lady features a real ensemble cast including Stanley Baxter, James Robertson Justice, Julie Christie and the late great Leslie Phillips. There are also guest appearances by familiar faces including Deryck Guyler, Dick Emery, Bernard Cribbins, and Clive Dunn. However, blink and you’ll miss them! What did you think of this movie Andrea?
Andrea: Well I think my face right now (kind of) says it all about my opinion of this film. When you were reading through that there, I just was beaming because it’s so much fun. It’s silly, it’s a British film. it’s a bit farcical; there’s a lot of physical comedy. there’s a lot of silly jokes. There’s a lot of strange little cameos by faces that probably only British moviegoers from a certain era will know. There’s actually quite a good little story as well, you know, the plot actually (sort of) moves the plot along. So it’s not just gag after gag with nothing supporting it underneath.
Jamie: We’ll talk about the sequel in a future episode.
Jamie: This film follows Stanley Baxter, playing a guy who is really interested in cycling. He then basically buys a motorcar from Leslie Phillips, who is the guy who lodges with him. The landlady is Kathleen Harrison, who people will know from The Huggets and things like that. She’s been in lots of things. And basically, the guy who runs him down at the beginning of the film on his cycle is a famous guy who owns a motor racing distribution firm; And that’s James Robertson Justice. And then Baxter takes a liking to his daughter, and the rest pretty much writes itself. I think Robertson Justice in this is, as he is in all of his films, a masterclass in sarcasm.
Andrea: (Laughs) Yes, definitely. And it’s kind of delightful isn’t it?
Jamie: It’s always delightful, and I’ve loved him ever since I saw him in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. And he just has this knack of coming out with these (sort of) one-liners or reaction lines to things.
Jamie: And there’s a scene where a wheel rolls down a hill, and he says a line. Can’t remember what the line is, but it’s funny.
Andrea: (Laughs) Yes!
Jamie: It’s just funny! We should also talk about Leslie Phillips. Talking Pictures broadcast this film shortly after hearing about his passing very recently. If you’ve seen him in the Carry On films, which is kind of what this film is sort of taking off of, he is that usual (sort of) ladies man character. And he is interested in the car isn’t he I think…Because the car is like a 1927 racing car.
Andrea: Yes. I think what it is like a triangle isn’t it? So Leslie Phillips sells Stanley Baxter the car. James Robertson Justice’s daughter (I think) likes the car, and so Leslie Phillips becomes re-interested in the car because he’s chasing the daughter. I feel like that’s it.
Jamie: Yeah. It’s been a little while since watched it properly because we reviewed it for Old Time Review. And this film, whenever I see it advertised I think “oh it’s that one”. It’s that film! It’s just a lovely (sort of) warm, maybe slightly dated in places. Some of the attitudes perhaps; As you would expect. But, there is a chase sequence at the end. Another film with a chase sequence.
Jamie: And it’s frantic and funny. And lots of faces pop up, and it’s exactly what you want it to be in an early 60s British comedy film.
Andrea: Yes I think so. And you say that it’s along a similar line to the Carry Ons, it is. I think it gives you just a slightly more warm feeling though when you think about it. Like you say, when you see it pop up in the TV listings. It just gives you a smile. I think it’s a bit more rounded, and a little bit more heartfelt than the Carry-Ons because it’s got more of a story to it than just (this kind of) framework for laughs.
Jamie: Again we’ll talk about the sequel in a future episode!
Jamie: So that is The Fast Lady. How many marks out of ten will you give this one?
Andrea: I think I would go 7.8 on this one.
Jamie: Well that is a very specific number. I think I would give this one an 8, a rounded 8, because this is just a fun film. Extremely fun, and James Robertson Justice can read the phone book for all I care. Anything with him in instantly gets a high mark. Stanley Baxter is okay in this, but I do feel like he isn’t quite as strong as the supporting players. When you’ve got somebody like Leslie Phillips, doing his ladies man thing; And again like Robertson Justice with the one-liners and witty retorts and stuff, he (Baxter) perhaps gets left a little bit behind. I think an 8 out of 10 is certainly justified. Maybe as we do more of these, the ratings will get lower, because we’ll see a film we don’t like! This one is brilliant. It’s The Fast Lady. It’s available on TV, they show it quite a lot. And It’s also available on Blu-Ray from Network Distributing. Go and check it out!
The final film in our program sees us take a trip to Hollywood for a picture originally distributed by Twentieth Century Fox. Disney owns the library these days, and the 1957 film An Affair To Remember, starring Cary Grant and Deborah Kerr, is available to stream on Disney+; At least in the United Kingdom. It is often referred to as one of the most romantic films of all time. It is directed by Leo McCarey, who also contributed to the story. What did you make of it Andrea?
Andrea: Well. I mean, in all honesty, I have seen this film several times before we watched it together on Disney Plus. I have to start with the phrase I love it. It is one of those films I think…There is gonna be a certain portion of people who see it once, and absolutely love it and it becomes one of their favourite films, And it’s one of those you can watch again and again. I mean, the two main players in this film, can you get any better? They’re just perfect. They’re perfect apart, but they work so well together. I think you described it earlier as one of the most romantic films of all time, it is!
It’s so romantic and so well-loved that it’s even (sort of, what would you say?) maybe parodied in Sleepless in Seatle. And they even talk about the film in Sleepless in Seatle and describe the plot, And the way that she describes that to them is pretty perfect. If you’ve ever seen Sleepless in Seatle, you will know what I’m talking about. And if you see An Affair To Remember, that passage in the later film just makes so much more sense and is hilarious because (yeah) the way she talks about it is exactly how you feel about it once you’ve seen it. It’s romantic, compelling and heartbreaking all at the same time.
Jamie: And it’s the story of two people who meet on a ship, and they’re both basically married or in a relationship with somebody else.
Andrea: Yes, they’re both intended to marry somebody else. And they meet and don’t really mean to become involved but they fall in love.
Jamie: It does go off a little bit though doesn’t it? It’s quite long.
Andrea: It is!
Jamie: But it goes off on passages where you do think “does this need to be there”. But, saying that, by the end, you’re almost glad that they went down all these different caveats and tried these different things.
Andrea: I think so because without all those, almost what feel like departures because they come up in the film and in the story, without those the ending wouldn’t mean so much. Again, when you see the last scene fade away, you realise you needed all those departures along the way. They actually were quite important to the story, but when they’re happening, you are sat there (almost looking at your watch a little bit) thinking jeepers we’re only halfway through the film and we’re still here!
Jamie: Cary Grant has been in a lot of these (sort of) romantic comedy-type things. Do you think by 1957, he’s a little bit past it in terms of this? Because a lot of these actors, they were playing the same roles for like 20 years.
Andrea: Yeah I see what you’re saying. I think the part could definitely have been played by a younger actor. But at the same time, it works because I think the character is written, in terms of the film, I think the character is written to be…he’s been around a bit. So I think it works with a more mature actor in the role And you can’t get better than Cary Grant. I think you needed, for that particular film; It’s so stylish and almost (like) epic in its romantic air, that it really needs someone with gravity. To be honest, the whole cast brings a lot of gravity to it…I think.
Jamie: An Affair To Remember, marks out of 10?
Andrea: Now, I’ve got to try and be objective here, and not be like “it’s a classic and I love it”. I’m gonna say 8.2!
Jamie: I think I will give this, maybe a six and a half. Because as much as I enjoyed it, I did feel like it went on a little bit too long, even though it’s justified. And I’m in no rush to see it again. Do you think this is one of those films that you can just rewatch and rewatch?
Andrea: I think it is, but it is long and it’s kind of epic. Odd enough, as good as it is, it’s not something you can watch mindlessly I don’t think. You do have to be in the right mood for it. And I could watch it again and again, but it takes quite a chunk of time to get through…so it’s not necessarily the thing I would reach for first on my shelf, or click on first on Disney Plus. You know what, I think it’s hard to pin it down into a genre as well because it is a romantic comedy but it has such a strong dramatic side to it as well, and its quite serious in places, in some of its themes. So I think, it’s not necessarily going to fit into anyone’s “This is my comfort watch area” box.
Thank you for listening to this episode of Old Time Trio. If you have any comments on the series, please email Jamie@OldTimeReview.co.uk. Be sure to subscribe to us on your favourite podcast provider, and help us spread the word about the joy of vintage films.