Tag Archives: English cinema

RIP John Fraser (1931 – 2020)

John Fraser was a Scottish actor known for The Trials of Oscar Wilde (1960) and Repulsion (1965).

 The Trials of Oscar Wilde (1960)

My gaydar was effective, I noticed while watching The Trials of Oscar Wilde that Fraser was gay. It’s good that they cast a gay man for a gay part in 1960.

Repulsion (1965)

In Repulsion too, Fraser has that gay, slightly decadent and perverse persona.

RIP Sean Connery (1930 – 2020)

“The Penis is evil. The gun is good.” —Zardoz

Sean Connery was a Scottish actor, for a long time considered the most handsome man alive.

I have fond memories of four of his films:

In The Man Who Would Be King (1975), he is one of two British adventurers who first become king of Kafiristan, which is an actual historical region in Afghanistan. Kafirs are unbelievers.

In Highlander (1986) he is an Egyptian immortal who has to compete with Christophe Lambert.

In The Name of the Rose (1986), Connery is a cross between Sherlock Holmes and Thomas Aquinas.

But in Zardoz (1972) Connery is the funniest and the most memorable. Not necessarily in the good sense, because Zardoz is really a ridiculous movie, and not even in the “so bad that it’s good” category. But once you saw that movie, you never forget the image of Connery, like a kind of beefcake in orange shorts, with a mustache, with crossed suspenders.

I have to formally advise you not to watch that film.

The plot:

We are 2293. The inhabitants of Earth consist of two groups, the Brutes, the plebs, ruled by the Eternals, a small elite that is bored. Eternals use part of the Brutes, the Exterminators, as a band of chosen warriors to kill common Brutes. Sean Connery is one of them.

The Eternals have a god for the destroyers, Zardoz, a giant stone head that flies through the air and spews weapons.

The teaching that Zardoz preaches goes like this:

“The Penis is evil. The Penis shoots seeds, and makes new life to poison the Earth with a plague of men, as once it was. But the Gun shoots death and purifies the Earth of the filth of Brutals. Go forth, and kill! Zardoz has spoken!””

Movies such as Zardoz were inspired by neo-malthusian overpopulation disaster scenarios distributed in books such as The Population Bomb (1968) and The Limits to Growth (1971) by the Club of Rome. Those books were partly right. Today population stabilization is predicted by 2064. Then we return — I hope with enough secularists (the religious shall NOT inherit the earth) — to an ideal of two billion inhabitants. A gentle return. Two billion is ideal for our planet, we were two billion in 1927.

Although Zardoz was really a shitty film, there were some good films to come out of this dystopian eco-fiction scene.

There is Silent Running (1972), about a spaceship that takes the last plants of Earth into space and Soylent Green (1973), about a society where the starving inhabitants of Earth are encouraged to commit euthanasia. Euthanized people are then offered back to starving humanity as biscuit food, but now I deviate very far from Sean Connery.

My apologies.

RIP Sean Connery.

RIP Alan Parker (1944 – 2020)

Alan Parker was an English filmmaker with a small but highly-rated output.

The Chase” (1978)

I give you “The Chase”, an electronic instrumental written by Giorgio Moroder for Parker’s film Midnight Express (1978).

Midnight Express, a story of drug smuggling and dirty Turkish prisons, was banned in Turkey under Article 301 of the Turkish Penal Code.

This caused a strain on US–Turkish relations.

RIP Honor Blackman (1925 – 2020)

Honor Blackman was an English actress, known for her sex symbol-ish parts in popular pulp of the sixties (The AvengersGoldfinger and Jason and the Argonauts).

The Cat and the Canary (1978)

Radley Metzger cast her as Susan Sills (“the big game hunter, one of the world’s most efficient killers”) in The Cat and the Canary (1978).

“Men Will Deceive You” (1964), a version of Gainsbourg’s “La javanaise.”

She recorded the surprise hit “Kinky Boots” (1964) and the album Everything I’ve Got (1964) which featured an interpretation of Serge Gainsbourg’s “La Javanaise”.