Thursday, 7 January 2016

Thursday Movie Picks: Downstairs people

 I loved the theme for this week, but went completely blank when trying to pick films, apart from Gosford Park. There must be plenty out there that I've forgotten. Don't forget to check out what Wandering Through the Shelves picked, the blog that started Thursday Movie Picks. 

Gosford Park
I didn't like this film at first, mostly because I had a bunch of know-it-all 'adults' telling I knew nothing about film and they happened to like this film at the time. I managed to see it in my own time and I loved it. A brilliant upstairs downstairs set at a country house with such a great group of actors playing wealthy folk and servants in the 1930s. Plus, there's a murder. What else could I ask for from the great Robert Altman.

The Servent
I found this uncomfortable, mostly because Dirk Bogarde does unpleasant so well. Bogarde is the servant who eventually takes over the household from British aristocrat James Fox, switching the roles of 'master' and 'servant'. It's disturbing to see how easily Bogarde manipulates Fox.

The Help
This made me cry. I can't lie about that. Its a very sad in places, emotional throughout, with moments of triumph. The black women of Jackson and how they impact the lives and take care of the prominent white families in the town.


  1. Andrew Ellington7 January 2016 at 19:08

    I really, really want to see The Servant!

  2. Oooh. You made me really wanna see The Servant. Looks great.

    - Myerla

  3. Gosford is without question the title of the week! Love it, so involving with everybody doing great work...even Ryan Phillippe. I thought overall The Help was only average but Viola Davis, Octavia Spencer and Jessica Chastain were all far better than the film.

    We match!! I selected The Servant too! You're so right about Dirk Bogarde, he had that innate chilly reserve that he could really pour on if necessary.

    I went all British with my choices, the theme seemed to lend itself to that. Here's my three:

    The Maids (1975)-Sisters Solange and Claire (Glenda Jackson & Susannah York) work as maids for a woman they detest, known only as Madame. Whenever she’s out they take turns dressing in her clothes and demeaning each other as Madame does to them. An adaptation of a Jean Genet play that was itself based on a famous pair of murders committed by the Papin sisters in 30’s France. Produced as part of the American Film Theatre but released theatrically this is very much a filmed play that features two award caliber performances from its lead actresses. I know we discussed this before, were you ever able to catch up with it?

    The Servant (1963)-Tony, a wealthy young man moves to London and hires the seemingly docile Barrett to be his all-around servant. Barrett at first seems quite competent and yielding but Tony’s girlfriend Susan is made uneasy by him and advises Tony to send him away. Once Barrett brings his sister Vera to work there too the situation spirals downward and ultimately the question is who the servant is and who’s the master?

    The Fallen Idol (1948)-A young British boy, Phillippe, worships his father’s butler, Baines (Ralph Richardson) and Baines spins stories of his great adventures to amuse the boy. However Baines is stuck in a loveless marriage and when an accident occurs which Phillippe misconstrues his attempts to protect his hero only lead to bigger troubles for Baines. Directed by Carol Reed and winner of a slew of awards this is a great film.

  4. Gosford Park was popular yesterday. I'm going to have to see that one. I like The Help quite a bit, but I haven't seen The Servant

  5. I still have to see Gosford Park but it is on my list now. I have not seen the Servant but it has all the shades of creepy and manipulation. I picked The Help also and love that movie-Loved the Octavia Spencer character and what she did-hahahaa

  6. Gosford Park is making an appearance in a lot of lists this week. I don't remember much from The Help, except that one scene with the pie. I don't think I'll forget that one.

  7. As a kid raised in the American South, The Help really hit close to home. I was really blown away by its accuracy. Really good movie. I also picked Gosford Park, because, well, I had to.

  8. Aha! That's great - I thought I may have put some poeple of it with his creepy edge.

  9. It's (Gosford Park) such a brilliant film, I'm not surprised. The Help made me cry, I won't be seeing that in a hurry again.

  10. Oh man the pie scene made me ill. I knew it was coming as I read about it before but oh gad.

  11. Octavia Spenceris brilliant, I remember her from Ugly Bett, she was in a few episodes, she has that presence.

  12. It was a powerful film, I don't think I could read the book now, great film. I would like to say as someone brought up and lives in England I really understood Gosford Park, but alas I can't. The decadnce of the 30's was something I would have loved to see the only claim I can say is that Clive Owen's character lived in an orphanage in Isleworth and I went to school there.

  13. Yes, even Ryan Phillippe was great in Gosford Park. I thought that it would open up doors to other Altman films, but so far Gosford Park is the only winner. Prairie Home Companion was too long and complictaed and The Player was just so-so, despite the brilliant opener.

    The Maids does sound good, as does The Fallen Idol. But I don't remember discussing American Film Theatre. Do you remember when so I can read back?

    Ah yes, The Servant. I find this disturbing as Barrett manages to manipulate so well and so easily, plus its the ending thats just left that gets me too.

  14. Gosford Park is one of those movies that needs a second viewing. I too only love it on second viewing, plus I think I was a little too young to understand what was going on the first time around.