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Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Charlie Bubbles (1967)

A popular and well known but disaffected writer (Albert Finney, who also directed) from a working class background leaves London for a weekend in Manchester in Northern England to visit his estranged wife (Billie Whitelaw, who won the BAFTA supporting actress for her work here) and young son (Timothy Garland). From a screenplay by Shelagh Delaney (A TASTE OF HONEY), this offbeat movie remains the only feature film directed by Finney which is a pity because he has a real director's eye. There's a wonderful sequence played out through multiple B&W screens simultaneously from a security camera watching all the rooms in a house as the characters enter and exit from different rooms as well as a bravado sequence at an all night cafe. Not all of it works. There's a silly scene in a post first class restaurant with Finney and Colin Blakely dumping food on each other that seems to come from another movie. The film is also notable for the film debut (excluding her cameo in IN THE GOOD OLD SUMMERTIME) of Liza Minnelli as Finney's American secretary. It's a plotless film, almost surreal in execution but engaging nevertheless. The superbly bleak photography is by Peter Suschitsky. With Yootha Joyce.

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