The Same Old Scene

Some of my favourite films are the classics, but I would say that wouldn’t I. Many of the older films, like The Lady Killers or Casablanca, stand alone for what they are: works of timeless character. One reason for their longevity has to be their ‘mystery’ along similar lines to a good book. I have no need to know how they made the film or how the author wrote their story. Analysis of precisely how or why the Mona Lisa was painted is of absolute no interest to me at all. That enigmatic smile is for my imagination and nobody else’s in much the same way as your Tom Sawyer or Oliver Twist will look totally different from mine even though we have both read the self same words from the self same book. In my humble opinion over analysis of the arts by seemingly obsessed experts impress me the least, in much the same way as a DVD of The Sound of Music will come complete with the ‘outtakes’ or ‘How We Made The Film’ stuff. What are worse are those celebrity character interviews that so often accompany such life absorbing drivel. I’m not interested: I only want to see the finished article. Imagine going to see a pantomime at Corby’s Core theatre. Having seen the show, just how excited would you then be at the thought of sitting there for another twenty minutes whilst the director explained just how Jack didn’t break his neck sliding down the beanstalk or how the leading lady was chosen for Cinderella. Yet millions of people will gladly sit and watch Andrew Lloyd Webber destroying his reputation as a serious artist by choosing his Maria or Joseph in public. Strictly Come Dancing could be reduced by fifteen minutes, yet the BBC insists on showing us the pre-recorded scenes of celebrity angst as they rehearse for the show. Jaws would have been, I’m sure, a stand alone classic, but they just couldn’t leave it alone, insisting instead to destroy the ‘mystery’ with those disastrous sequels. One simply couldn’t have imagined ‘The Railway Children 2’, though they once tried to raise the Titanic. Don’t get me wrong, some sequels obviously work because they move a story from one place to another: Star Wars, Back to the Future, Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings to name but a few. Yet there is no doubt that there is an appetite for knowing everything without the use of awe, wonder or imagination. The BBC is master of this new art form. They’ll present us with such magnificent programmes as Life in Cold Blood or Human Planet and then, right at the end of each episode, destroy said magnificence by showing us how it was made. I don’t want to see the camera strapped to the back of an eagle, I just want to marvel at the resulting spectacle. It’s as if they just can’t ‘get over themselves’. Imagine re-writing Winnie the Pooh. They have? What a shame.


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