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Posts Tagged ‘Peter Cushing’

Opposed by Tyrants

Posted by Dirck on 13 November, 2020

A feature preceded by a short today.

The short is founded on two things– my personal interest in getting an electric vehicle, and the arrival last weekend of snow. Loads of it. About 30% of what we got in the whole of the previous winter.

Although joining in the ribbing of those who insist “you’ll never get one of those started in the winter,” I quiver with seething jealousy. This is tempered by my willingness to wait for the VW van to appear in a year or so.

The feature is something I’ve wanted to see for ages and could never find, and then like a bolt from the blue, there it sits, trembling in the clutches of the YouTube algorithm. You probably won’t be able to get through it in a lunch break.

The cunning simulation of tens of thousands of troops was achieved by borrowing tens of thousands of troops from the Soviet Army (who, having not gotten mired in Afghanistan yet, were at loose ends) and training them in early 19th century drill and maneuvers.

I was also frequently struck by how much Christopher Plummer looks like Peter Cushing. I kept expecting a formation of Draculas to wheel across someone’s flank.

Today’s pen: TWSBI Classic
Today’s ink: Jentle blue-black


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Alarmed Vision of the Future

Posted by Dirck on 17 November, 2017

This is probably because I’m on a Nigel Kneale kick.  And because of the star.

Nothing to do with current events.

Today’s plusgood pen: OMAS Arte Italiana
Today’s doubleplusgood ink: Diamine Bilberry

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Bonus Birthday Edition

Posted by Dirck on 27 May, 2016

Just a little vignette from some lunch-proximate errand-running, which I find I have a moment to relate.

While standing behind the person being served at a store, I find the clerk addressing me thus after taking in my houndstooth sport coat, snap-brim fedora (not a Trilby, although I favour a c-dent), and horn-rims:  “Hey, man, you look like a villain!

I have no problem with this.  Apart from the fact that he’s smiling and happy as he says this, I’m well aware that villains have a loads of agency in the story in which they appear, that apart from the very last moments of that story’s climax they tend to have a lot more fun, and that the villain is usually a good deal more interesting than the villain.  You don’t see a lot of films entitled Johnny Harker and His Polite Victorian Chums, right?  I therefore smile myself and, in dramatic fashion, say, “Uh-oh!  I’m found out!”

“Yeah, you know, like those guys in the old Hollywood movies…”

…at which I feel myself inflate slightly…

“…like from the ’80s and ’90s!”

I believe my smile may have become a little rigid at that point.  I will not tar all Millennials because one of their number views as much as 36 years ago as “old”, but I will shake my head over the folly of the individual.

It is not my birthday.  It is the birthday of villains.  You know.  From the old Hollywood movies.


The back row’s birthdays are 27 May 1922 and 1911, with the odd man out being 26 May 1913.  A damn good season for villains, and head-shaking aside, an auspicious day to be labeled as one.  Thanks anyway, kid.

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Force Majeure

Posted by Dirck on 27 March, 2015

A confession, which doesn’t reveal much inky blackness of my past:  I was a serious Star Wars freak when I was a kid.  I was at just the right age when the first film came out, and already inclined to the genre.  I use the past tense because I’m also one of those accuse George Lucas of taking our childhood memories by surprise and beating them into unrecognizability with his egregious “first” trilogy; I still like Star Wars, but the passion has cooled substantially.

Today’s film brings on another, slightly darker confession; I kind of liked the Empire.  I think it’s just because their kit looks cooler, because I certainly didn’t want them to win.  In fact, once I started looking into history properly, this early fondness helped me to formulate a baseless correlation between how good a uniform looks and the underlying wickedness of the regime it served (the Waffen SS had really  good looking outfits…).  Having James Earl Jones and Peter Cushing on side helped a lot, too.

All of which is by way of explanation of the presence of today’s film.  I’m letting the me of 1977 have control of the board for a few minutes.

What this needs for perfection is some voice acting provided by too few people, based on a script that’s more concerned with justifying mouth-movement than the action surrounding it.

Today’s correct-to-period pen: Parker 180
Today’s sort-of-thematic ink, if you translate the name: Herbin Pousièrre de Lune

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Mystery of the Quivering Detective

Posted by Dirck on 10 September, 2013

In the past few weeks, my wife and I have, along with a friend who regularly visits, been squeezing our money’s worth out of Netflix (which is a relatively juiceless variety here in Canada) by rewatching Sherlock.  We all three of us enjoy it, and it bears more than one watching.  The end of “The Reichenbach Fall” put us into a renewed flurry of speculation and a great torment of anticipation of what the next season will reveal.  It also left the question of what to watch next, and I proposed we continue delving in Doyle via our set of DVDs of the Jeremy Brett version from the 1980s.

The credits ended, “A Scandal in Bohemia” began, and a few minutes later, our friend made a noise of wonderment.  Holmes was so different!  It was not the sort of subtle difference that needed Holmes’s amazing powers of deduction to notice, either, but without watching Brett and Cumberbatch at the same role (more or less) in close proximity I don’t know I’d have spotted it myself.  Sherlock Holmes is not the man he used to be.

Jeremy Brett’s Holmes, which I have always thought of as definitive, is a somewhat eccentric person to be sure, sometimes drawing his feet up into the armchair he’s sitting in and making the occasional wild statement.  However, he is also an example of immense self-control.  There is a volcano there, to be sure, but is a volcano being held in check by an astonishing power of human will.  Brett distills the notion of Holmes offered previous, at least by Basil Rathbone and Peter Cushing (and the former is held as definitive by almost everyone older than me) of someone who has his own reins firmly gripped.

Looking at Holmes today, though, we find a much different creature.  He’s quirky.  He’s twitchy.  He’s given to high-speed patter as a primary means of communication, rather than reserving it for moments when time is short and need presses.  He flouts all civil convention.  I’m not only looking at Cumberbatch, but also Robert Downey Jr.   The former is Holmes in the modern world, but the latter is a modern portrayal of the period character, and they are very similar beings.  Jonny Lee Miller, to a somewhat lesser degree (and also in a modern setting), is the same beast, and this is suggestive.

It suggests that we in the modern world are so driven by frantically-paced media that we can’t accept a Holmes who sits quietly with his fingers steepled in front of him while a solution coalesces, but insist on one who mutters and flaps his way to the conclusion.  That’s a troubling development, although having observed it I can’t say I’m totally shocked.  Attention-span shrinkage is hardly a new discovery.

When I decided to examine this publicly, I though I should see whether either manifestation is more true to the source.  A quick skimming of Doyle offers this:

Sherlock Holmes was transformed when he was hot upon such a scent as this. Men who had only known the quiet thinker and logician of Baker Street would have failed to recognise him. His face flushed and darkened. His brows were drawn into two hard black lines, while his eyes shone out from beneath them with a steely glitter. His face was bent downward, his shoulders bowed, his lips compressed, and the veins stood out like whipcord in his long, sinewy neck. His nostrils seemed to dilate with a purely animal lust for the chase, and his mind was so absolutely concentrated upon the matter before him that a question or remark fell unheeded upon his ears, or, at the most, only provoked a quick, impatient snarl in reply. Swiftly and silently he made his way along the track which ran through the meadows, and so by way of the woods to the Boscombe Pool

Somewhat ambiguous, and like most descriptions of Holmes in action it would support either depiction.  There is “Swiftly and silently”, though.  “Silently,” not, “mumbling a constant stream of half-intelligible patter.”  Perhaps Brett and his precedents were on the right line after all.

Today’s pen: Parker “51″
Today’s ink: Herbin Vert Empire

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