Hello, Friday Night Film lovers.
Dolly here.U-W has decided to take tonight off for the second week running and left me in charge, the mad fool. After last weeks BFI cut and paste in a hurry job (sorry about that - here at M&C we pride ourselves on our original work. I won't do it again), we come to a very interesting film indeed. In fact it's only just a film. It was a play and it was made for telly but banned by the nervous BBC in 1976 (though it was eventually shown in 1987).
It's Dennis Potter's Brimstone and Treacle!
Bee and Tee (as I have never called it before) has a truly horrible story. Really horrible. It has the rape of a severely disabled girl in, hints of abuse by her father and in the film version bloody Sting. That's right, Sting: Tantric sex loving ex-teacher, ex-Police lead singer, rain forest holidayer and lute botherer. In the mid-70s Sting could pretty much pick and choose to do what ever he wanted. He was mad famous and that. Being the pseudo twonk that he is, he got wind of the fact that Bee and Tee was being remade for the cinema and thought to himself 'I'm Sting. I can do anything. Even act'Never has a human being been more self deluded. The difference between Sting's own opinions and understanding of his acting talent and his actual acting talent are so far apart as to be not only in different continents as to be in different solar systems. He makes Madonna look like Meryl Streep.
"Bang Bang - You're dead"
She's just listened to Sting's 'Songs from the Labyrinth' album. It's enough to put anyone in a coma. Ho ho.
Denholm and Joan acting. Sting standing whilst being filmed.
Sting at that point in his life seems to have had good taste, Mervyn Peake (Gormenghast - yes, he's even shit on the radio), David Lynch (Dune), David Rudkin (Artemis 81) to name but a few artists he has associated himself with. So I can sort of see why he put himself up for these things (well - I say 'put himself up' what I actually mean is 'decided to become a thespian laughing stock'). He looks good I'll give him that. He has cheekbones to die for (second only to Northampton's Pete Murphy on my list of top face boned men) and I can see why Swamp Thing's Alan Moore and Steve Bissette 'cast' him as John Contantine. As a comic character Sting is a very good actor, sadly for us as real person Sting is a very bad actor. Of course making fun of Sting is a bit like shooting fish in a barrel, so enough of that. You want to know about the film don't you?
This is from a rude bit in the middle of the film.
I KNEW was Sting was a knicker sniffer. I fucking KNEW it.
It's about a middle aged couple who's daughter is in a coma because she caught her father having an affair, ran from the scene and got hit by a truck. Their lives are inexorably changed by the arrival of a stranger called Martin (in the Beeb's 70's Play For Today version Martin is played by the ever excellent Michael Kitchen). The stranger integrates himself into the (literal - in the daughter's case) bosom of the family by appealing to the fathers fascism and the mother's good nature. Once he has their trust Martin sets about sexually abusing the catatonic daughter and eventually raping her. The rape wakes her, she remembers her fathers adultery and Martin flees.
See her? You get to see her in suspenders.
All versions of the play play like a waking nightmare. Is Martin real? Has he been conjured by the family to expose their own secrets and lies? Is Martin the Devil? Was he ever there at all? Is it all the dream of the daughter? I like to think that rather than some supernatural force Martin is just some grubby opportunist little cunt. It becomes more terrifying the more realistic your take on it.
It's distasteful and hard to watch sometimes but the script really is Potter at the very top of his game. And even in spite of Sting it still holds a huge emotional punch.
Plus the fact it has Denhom Elliott in it and Denhom Elliott is ace in everything.
I'll hand you back to the ever capable (if slightly soiled) hands of Mr Unmann-Wittering now.
Thanks for reading.