Baz Luhrmann directs The Scarlet Pimpernel

The Scarlet Pimpernel (musical)

The Scarlet Pimpernel

If I were friends with Baz Luhrmann, I would tell him for his next film, he should direct The Scarlet Pimpernel by Baroness Orczy.

This melodramatic and wonderfully romantic novel, which was also written as a play, would be perfect for Baz. The novel is about romance, fashion, adventure and over blown situations and characters.

Don’t you dare cast Leo again Baz! I think Mathew Goode or Rupert Penry-Jones  should be the Scarlet Pimpernel and Marguerite, his wife, should be played by Marion Cotillard. James McAvoy could be Chauvelin. He’d have the perfect level of intensity.

When I was a teenager, The Scarlet Pimpernel was my favourite book – I couldn’t resist the romance. Sir Percy Blakeney, who disguises himself as the Scarlet Pimpernel, is an irresistible character. He seems all powerful like superman, broods like Mr Darcy, dresses as well as James Bond and has this carefree attitude to life that was dangerously charming to a 15 year old reader. I would trust Baz to bring The Scarlet Pimpernel to life in all its theatrical glory.

Baz Lurhmann was not the right person to direct The Great Gatsby. Fitzgeralds novel is subtle and full of ambiguity. Lurhmanns film completely trashes every hint of subtlety. Toby Maguire, as the narrator, explains away every ambiguous line and every symbol in the film. The film leaves nothing up to audience. I felt Lurhmann had taken the advice to heart that an English teacher might tell her students: “Assume the reader knows nothing.” The film assumes we know nothing and it also assumes that without visual and verbal explanations, we are unliky  to understand. Give us some credit.

I actually enjoyed Lurhmanns film – how could you not? It’s beautiful to watch, fun, exciting and vibrant. The acting was fantastic; Joel Edgerton was perfect. However this film just didn’t do justice to the novel. The novel made me think, or ponder, if I can use such a word. The film left me with a ringing headache.


Love is Easy – It’s a Wonderful Life

800px-It's_A_Wonderful_LifeMcFly and Jimmy Stewart were making me get a bit teary the other day.

I was driving home listening to the radio and the McFly song came on – Love is Easy.

And then I heard this…

“You want the moon? Just say the word and I’ll throw a lasso around it and pull it down. Hey. That’s a pretty good idea. I’ll give you the moon, Mary.”

The voice in the song is James Stewart from Its a Wonderful Life. Maybe that movie is the ultimate in corny but I still love it. James Stewarts  character George. always wanted to achieve great things. Without really wanting to he stays in the same town his whole life. He marries a local girl, Mary and he tells her he will give her the moon.

When things get very tough for him and his family he feels like a failure: he wonders whether the world would be better if he didn’t exist.

And that’s what he sees. His guardian angel lets him see the word as though he was never born.  Naturally he realises the true value of his life.

It’s a Wonderful Life often makes the list of best movies of all time. I think it’s so loved because it speaks to all our private failures. Who hasn’t worried whether they are achieving all they could, whether the world would even miss them if they just disappeared.  The movie shows us that love and family really do make a wonderful life.