Senin, 18 April 2011

Paul Seed - A Rather English Marriage (1998)

A squadron leader and a retired milkman decide to bury their differences and move in together after they are both widowed on the very same night. They become a companionable if odd couple, until their unlikely friendship is threatened by the arrival of an alluring woman with a hidden agenda.

Like Andrew Davies' dramatisations of works by Mary Wesley and RF Delderfield, the source material for A Rather English Marriage came not from classical literature but from a little-known novel by Angela Lambert. The story of a gruff squadron leader and a retired milkman being widowed simultaneously and moving in together perhaps has more than a hint of the greatness it delivers in its charming premise.

Albert Finney's study in fragile curmudgeonliness reminds us why he is one of the finest actors of our times and Tom Courtenay excels as the quietly decent Roy Southgate. It is sheer joy to watch Roy outshine Reggie in the play's early stages as he proves a dab hand at the domestic duties their wives are no longer on hand to perform.

Although Reggie initially appears to be a quite monstrous creation, Davies gradually allows us fleeting glimpses behind his façade, most touchingly when he arrives home one evening and without thinking calls out for his wife, before realising she's no longer there.

But, naturally for an Andrew Davies script, sex rears its head soon enough, in the elegant guise of Joanna Lumley's gold-digger Liz, who, in the most famous scene, earns the title of modern day succubus.

As well as being an intimate drama of reserved men distanced by class and convention becoming united thanks to death, A Rather English Marriage is first and foremost a celebration of two fine actors, paired again after their magnificent collaboration fifteen years earlier in The Dresser.

no pass

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