Natalie: J's review: "Tim Burton should remake this."
Yes. He might actually inject some much needed humor into the proceedings.
Natalie: Yeah, I liked the idea of the film but I really wanted it to be more blatantly funny rather than me having to force humor on it.
Tracy: And the situations were begging for humor! Shooting a hot-air-balloon-riding Alec Guinness in drag out of the sky with an arrow? How do you not sell that scene?
Natalie: I know! I guess we could chalk it up to British understatement but I think even a tiny bit of more obvious humor would have gone a long way.
Tracy: Yeah. And I think the voiceover narration really deflated the thing of any sort of narrative drive. I know it was an adaptation, but him telling us everything, sometimes as it was happening, was distracting and sort of tamped down any energy that might have built.
Natalie: I didn't even think of that but I agree. Showing us more rather than telling would have helped. And I wasn't super impressed with the million roles played by Alec Guinness. They all looked exactly the same and some didn't speak so . . . and his portrayal of a woman was really mannish.
Tracy: I know! I thought it was going to take a lot more time to actually make his way through the Guinnesses (Guinnessi?), and they would each be more fully individuated characters. The plot of this was much better than the execution. Which brings us back to J's genius idea for a remake. Who should be Alec Guinness and play everyone? Depp?
Natalie: YES! That's what I was thinking. Depp gets to be everyone and I think because of technology we can even have Depp play the protagonist. But, with any Burton film, who does Helena get to be?
Tracy: Hmm. I guess she's going to be the tart-ish love interest? Who could have used a bit more crazy. Or maybe the mom? Who should play the refined wife? Depp would be a gorgeous lady Agatha, by the by.
Natalie: Oh, right, I guess she can actually pull off tart. She's just been so frumpy lately that I forget that. Ha! He would be a gorgeous lady Agatha. He'd just go full out for that. And if we're doing that gag, Depp should be ALL of the D'Ascoyne's, not just the old ones. Mmmmm. The refined wife . . . .that's tough. I'm not sure.
Tracy: I'm trying to think of other regular Burtonites, but drawing a blank. And yes--Depp in all the roles. He would love doing all the voices. When are we pitching this to Burton?
Natalie: Me, too. Although I guess he swaps out pretty leading ladies fairly regularly so he can just find someone else--maybe whosit who was Alice. The blond would sell the stereotype even more. Right now. Tim Burton--do this.
Tracy: So other than providing source material for an awesome Burton remake, do we think it belongs in the book? I would need some convincing.
Natalie: Basically, the book wants us to have seen this because it’s “among the earliest of the Ealing comedies produced by Sir Michael Balcon’s West London hothouse of comedic creativity, and a prime example of their distinctively British humor” and “Hamer’s (the director) all-to-brief heyday peaked” with this film. I don't care about those things and I don't think the movie pulls off the premise well enough to require me to see it.
Tracy: I agree. I was trying to think what (better) movie it might have influenced, but nothing. It's not really a comedy of manners, it's not a bawdy Brit sex farce, it's not a forerunner to Python. I say, heave-ho.
Natalie: Agreed and agreed.
Up next: already predicted to be terrible western. yay.
Tracy: Although we might be crying for it about fifteen minutes into Silver Lode.
Natalie: I'm pretty sure I will be.