Wednesday, 8 February 2012

Happy Days Are Here Again

The Boy Friend (1971)

Isn't Ken Russell amazing.
No other director has that power to surprise, I love the way he walked the fine line between sophistication and vulgar pantomime.
I watched The Boy Friend again last night and I think its a wonderful film.
Its even more wonderful as Ken released The Devils in the same year.
I can't comprehend how much talent Ken Russell had.
I can't imagine a (British) director now releasing such diverse films as these in the same year.
The film is a real revelation its charming and magical. And charming isn't usually the first word that I think of when I think of Ken's work.
Its Ken Russell's loving homage to 30's Hollywood musicals and I really don't understand why its not that well known, Its not even available in this country on DVD!
It features a fantastic ensemble cast including some Russell regulars.
Twiggy blew me away.
She gives a magical performance.
She plays Polly as an awkward young innocent and really shines.
Its hard not to fall in love with her.
She can sing and is an amazing dancer and comes across very well.
I have never been that keen of Twiggy before but this performance has really changed my opinion of her.
She even gets to sing "All I Do Is Dream Of You" from Singing In The Rain.

Ken avoids some of the over the top parts of his usual work and manages to mostly avoid the grotesque. But certainly finds humor and can be quite silly in places but that where the charm lies.
Ken often has the camera far from his cast as if we are in the theatre audience watching from there perspective.
He intercuts this with some kinetic camera moves that really involve you into the excellent dance pieces. The tap routines are stunning.

The set designs and costumes are faultless, you will want to wear tap shoes,dress in 30's glamour,wear a massive fur coat,have a pencil moustache/beauty spot and cover your living room in mirrors and pearls...maybe just me!
It really is such a pleasure to watch such a beautifuly designed film, shot with real attention to detail.
You will constantly have the internal monolougue "Wow, that looks beautiful".

Where Ken really shines are in his fantastic Busby Berkley inspired dance set pieces.

They are fun, light hearted, dazzling, spectacular, loving and technically brilliant.
Lots of refelective higly polished surfaces add to the illusion.

My favorite set piece has to be the dance routine on a giant gramophone with spinning record.

I actually think this may be one of his finest films, Its certainly his most accessible work. One to watch with your mum without the fear of seeing Roger Daltrey's monster penis!
Its the kind of film that will find a home in your heart.
It also has an intermission too, I am such a sucker for films with intermissions.

I am in love with this film...might even try some Tap Dancing.

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