Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|TWENTY THOUSAND STREETS UNDER THE SKY |
Actors: Bryan Dick, Zoe Tapper, Sally Hawkins
Director: Simon Curtis
You Can't Be Too Weak
Liam Wilshire | Portland, OR | 06/28/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Although this plays continuously as a single film, it was adapted from a trilogy of novels by Patrick Hamilton. Its subject is unrequited love, as played out amongst three characters. Each section is identified first by the title of the novel, then by the character whose perspective we are seeing. Be that as it may, this is not RASHOMON, or anything like it.
I have not read Hamilton's books. However, the sections play out like novels written by authors with entirely different perspectives on the human condition. Their progression is Hegelian: thesis, antithesis, synthesis.
"The Midnight Bell" is from the point-of-view of Bob, a romantic young barman. He is infatuated with Jenny, a fresh-faced prostitute who at times seems to love him, and at other times seems only to want to drain his bank account. In Bob's view of her, she is a victim of society, a woman without options. The episode is like a novel by Zola or Dreiser, in which humans start out free of iniquity, but then have it imposed upon them by their social circumstances. This is, after all, the Britain of the 1930's, and women don't have a lot of options.
In "The Siege of Pleasure" we see Jenny's progression into prostitution. As a matter of fact, she started out as a bold young woman with a good job and a lot of promise. She made some bad decisions. The moral perspective of this episode is like that of a Graham Greene novel: you make a wrong turn into sin, and everything follows causally from there. It is indeed the opposite of "The Midnight Bell's" point-of view.
Finally, "The Plains of Cement" shows us Ella (the indelible Sally Hawkins), a timid creature who inconspicuously tends bar and lives in the same boarding house as Bob. She is tormented by an unspoken love for Bob, made worse by the fact that she is witness to his slow ruination over Jenny. In a trilogy where human will is the theme, she exists as its weakest possible vessel. Buffeted into an engagement with a possessive older man, she seems, at times, to have no idea of how to act on her own. Yet, even with the smallest allotment of willpower, she manages to extract herself from those much stronger than her, making a melancholy peace with what is gone and what remains.
This is a BBC production. It is literature competently transformed into moving pictures. That may sound like faint praise, but to have imposed a more "cinematic" style on it would only have made it unnecessarily fussy. It is perfect as it is."
Florida Reader | 06/22/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Superb performances by the leads, Haygarth, Tapper and Hawkins. Evocative and gloomy, but can't-take-your-eyes-off-it great. Please make this available for U.S. DVD."