Wednesday, November 04, 2009
Never in the field of human acting
Last night I caught up with HBO's Churchill film, "Into The Storm", on the iPlayer. I'm a sucker for Churchill TV films. I've seen all sorts of people play him - Patrick Wymark, Robert Hardy, Timothy West, Nigel Stock, Albert Finney, any British actor with jowls and a growl, in fact - and I've heard Richard Burton recite his speeches so often I confuse them with the real thing. (There's no such thing as the real thing with Churchill's speeches because they were generally re-recorded after the event, a bit like a Kiss live album.) I thought it was rather good. It contained the odd wrinkle that isn't in the authorised version. A heart attack while on a visit to Washington that has to be kept from everyone, including his wife, for instance. He's seen giving Bomber Harris every encouragement to attack German cities while Attlee (played by a Scot!) looks conscience-stricken. But the essentials of the myth remain in place. The weather of summer 1940 remains bathed in golden sunshine. He spends a lot of time in the bath. The gimmick this time was that the star and director were both Irish. Funny that England's sustaining myth should be kept alive by a couple of Irishmen working for an American TV network. I note that Timothy Spall is next up to play the bulldog, this time in a satire called "Jackboots On Whitehall". I'll be there.