Thursday, 29 November 2012

Sir Stanley's Syrups

Stanley Baker's toupee in 'Eve' (d. Joseph Losey, 1962) is a fairly straightforward piece of kit that carries itself with dignity and discretion, only occasionally becoming noticeable in close up.

Honestly, Stanley, it looks great.

Stanley takes it hard.
Stan doesn't trust the bloody thing out at sea, however, so he jams on a hat for the water skiing sequence which, quite clearly, he's doing in person. Mind you, he was that sort of guy: tough, able, athletic, good at balancing on two bits of wood while being dragged across liquid at thirty miles an hour. He looks like he's enjoying himself, too.

The film itself is pretty serious drama about a Welsh novelist / fraud called Tyvian Jones who has hit the big time on the strength of a book written by his dead brother and is living it up in Venice on the stolen glory, not to mention the publishing royalties and film rights. When he meets Eve (Jeanne Moreau) he is sure that his charm and sexual prowess will make her putty in his hands - but Eve is only interested in money, luxury, perversity and cruelty, and refuses any notion of love or exclusivity, which drives him slowly out of his mind and dismantles his life one nut at a time.

Is it coming unstuck?

Nope, it's fine.
Towards the end, at his lowest ebb (his wife has killed herself because he can't keep away from Eve), Tyvian breaks into Eve's appartment and puts his hands around her throat as she sleeps. It's a very Stanley Baker moment - a hard but sentimental man acting out of desperate passion - and you're sure that he'll kill her and that will be that. Instead, she wakes up and, in an astonishing sequence, beats him with a riding crop before chucking him out into the street. It's a massive surprise and, for Baker fans, a little bit disturbing - this is a new Baker, a craven, cowardly pathetic man in a situation that he has absolutely no control over. Strong stuff, and a tough test for his wig which, I'm happy to report, gets ruffled but remains steadfastly in place.

He cowers.

He crawls.

He hits rock bottom.

Good work, Sir Stanley. Good work, Sir Stanley's Syrup.


  1. Aren't all those stills from Morrissey videos?


  2. Moz doesn't have that many facial expressions...