peteg's blog

This Sporting Life

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A William Hartnell segue from Brighton Rock. Richard Harris is pretty good here, but probably better in his late-career effort with Jim Sheridan, The Field. It's all a bit too violent for my tastes; on the rugby league field is one thing, domestically quite another. I guess it captures the postwar restlessness, and ambition of the British film industry.

The Great Escape (1963)

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It's about time I found out what's so great about Steve McQueen. Here he is the all-American tough guy who can escape from anywhere at any time; I don't know why the Germans didn't execute him on sight. Charles Bronson puts in a fairly typical stony performance as the claustrophobic tunnel digger. I prefer his efforts in the spaghetti westerns. This was a Richard Attenborough segue from Brighton Rock, and he does indeed look fifteen years older.

The movie makes out that an Australian made it to safety by bicycling and walking to Spain. According to Wikipedia Bram van der Stok was a Dutch pilot in the RAF. Oh well. I didn't think much of the actors' Australian accent anyway.

Overall it's not bad as a bunch of vignettes about how the POWs got stuff done, their bravery and all that glorification of war stuff.

Parked at #111 in the IMDB top-250.

To Have and Have Not

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Captain Bogart gets the girls, all the girls in a bar on Martinique. Not much really happens but the quick repartee makes the movie, and Bacall shows she can keep up. It is something of a dry run for Casablanca, replete with the good French and the bad French, the Nazis/Vichy as a backdrop and the semi-doomed romance. A Howard Hawks classic.

Out of the Past

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Noir from 1947. Robert Mitchum in the lead, pulls it off pretty well, but not as well as he did in The Night of the Hunter. I lost the thread around the two-thirds mark; it wasn't clear to me why he was allowed to come and go so freely. Good to see Kirk Douglas (Spartacus) in a relatively youthful role; he does smarmy about as well as his son. Jane Greer smolders more than she acts, for her character is an outmoded femme fatale with not much of an inner life. The palaver is quite good.

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Another perfect late-autumn day for bicycling around Canberra. Flatmate Amanda told me that Canberra does have a train station and it is in Kingston, so today's mission was to find it. It's tucked away behind a fairly sizeable electricity substation.

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The ride wasn't very taxing, though it does get a bit rural out along Dairy Road, amongst the wetlands on the banks of the Molonglo.

Afterwards I had a Vietnamese coffee with Nguyen at ANU. My trusty Trung Nguyên number five has gone sour because I packed it with the condensed milk. Still drinkable, just not awesome.

Brighton Rock

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Noir from 1947, based on a Graham Greene novel. I prefer his more recent colonial A Quiet American. Richard Attenborough is suitably psycho in the lead role of Pinky, but the credulity of Rose is too much of a stretch (for a modern audience). It was strange seeing a moderately youthful William Hartnell (the first Doctor) as Pinky's last loyal enforcer.

I saw this on the strength of Paul Byrnes's review of the recent remake.

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I trekked out today to the Canberra Glassworks on the bike, after driving to the Royal Australian Mint to pick up some Royal Wedding coins. (The bloke in front of me bought about $500 of coins, seemed knowledgeable and rated the design of those coins "meh".) I stopped at the Carillon expecting there to be a café; it must be the only touristic thing in Canberra without one.

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As you can see, the ride was almost entirely flat and untaxing. I was aiming for a coffee somewhere in Kingston but got waylaid by the Glassworks (some guys making an indescribable ornament, strangely bland but complex to construct) and the Old Bus Depot Markets. There are loads of black swans in Bowen Park.

The weather was pretty much perfect after a completely overcast morning.