Starring: Peter O’Toole, Beatie Edney, Jane Lapotaire, Charlotte Coleman and Barbara Shelley Writers: Don MacPherson (based on Uncle Silas by Sheridan Le Fanu) Director: Peter Hammond Price: £14.99 (Amazon price: £11.20) Released: May 30th 2011
Sheridan Le Fanu is something of a neglected author. Although influential in his day with classics of the horror and gothic genres, such as Through a Glass Darkly, Carmilla and Uncle Silas, he’s now overshadowed by the likes of Poe, Collins and Stoker. Movie and TV adaptations of his work are few and far between.
Back in 1987, the BBC adapted Uncle Silas as the three-part mini-series, The Dark Angel. Directed by Peter Hammond (who directed many of Granada’s Sherlock Holmes episodes as well as 18 episodes of The Avengers and a whole lot more), it faithfully sticks to the book in seeing young Maud Ruthyn (Beatie Edney) having to live with her uncle Silas (Peter O’Toole), a noted wastrel and alleged murderer, even though if she should die, he would inherit from her one of the largest fortunes in England.
Time for “What have you been watching this week?”, my chance to tell you what I’ve been watching this week and your chance to recommend things to everyone else (and me) in case we’ve missed them.
My usual recommendations for maximum viewing pleasure this week: Cougar Town, Endgame, Happy Endings, House,Modern Family, The Shadow Line and Stewart Lee’s Comedy Vehicle. Watch them (and keep an eye on The Stage‘s TV Today Square Eyes feature as well) or you’ll be missing out on the good stuff. Of course, it being May/June, most of them are ending, so I’ll have to come up with a new set of recommendations next week.
Now to the irregulars and new things, as well as a few thoughts on some of those regulars:
All Watched Over By Machines of Loving Grace: Adam Curtis’s latest documentary series, examining how technology has come to – quite literally – rule our lives. One of those documentaries designed more to make you think and examine broad trends rather than create a watertight argument. Well worth watching.
The Apprentice: Very creepy.
The Crimson Petal and the White: Obviously was on tele a while back now, but we put off watching it while lovely wife was still reading the original book. Very faithful to the book, says lovely wife, and quite disturbing in its visual style, like being on an acid trip for an hour while trapped in a documentary about poverty in Victorian London. I’m not sure I actually like it though, since it’s one of those ones where you can see doom spiralling down on characters right from the beginning because they behave incredibly stupidly. Also, I find it hard to imagine Chris O’Dowd as anything except Roy from The IT Crowd. He just doesn’t seem plausible as anything else.
Happy Endings: Not quite as funny as in previous weeks but still good. Just ambiguous enough that you know they weren’t sure they were going to get renewed or not.
House: Oops. Last week’s wasn’t the finale after all. Still, what a weird way to end the series. Feels almost like it should have been the last House ever, since it’ll be interesting to see how they come back from this. Not a great episode though.
Running Wilde: Not a great way to end the series – felt a bit like they’d given up at this point.
And since people have been mentioning movies they’ve been watching as well, which seems like a sterling idea to me, this week I saw:
Tangled: Animated Disney musical version of Rapunzel, with Mandy Moore and Zachary Levi (Chuck from Chuck). Actually quite nice, decent animation, nothing too offend, with a few good comedic touches. But nothing outstanding and a few major plot holes.
The Ward: Amnesiac Amber Heard runs around and tries to escape a lot from a mental asylum when it becomes clear that a ghost is trying to kill off everyone in her ward. A return in style by John Carpenter to Halloween/The Thing, with very little gore and a few solid shocks, but a bit loose in the middle and suffers from the usual Carpenter trope of the third and fourth acts turning into lots of running. But the ending’s really good, Heard does well, even if the other girls in the ward are beyond irritating, and Jared Harris from Mad Men excels as the psychiatrist who runs it all.
But what have you been watching?
“What have you been watching this week?” is your chance to recommend to friends and fellow blog readers the TV and films that they might be missing or should avoid – and for me to do mini-reviews of everything I’ve watched this week. Since we live in the fabulous world of Internet catch-up services like the iPlayer and Hulu, why not tell your fellow readers what you’ve seen so they can see the good stuff they might have missed?
Got a picture of David Tennant sitting, lying down or in some indeterminate state in between? Then leave a link to it below or email me and if it’s judged suitable, it will appear in the “Sitting Tennant” gallery. Don’t forget to include your name in the filename so I don’t get mixed up about who sent it to me.
The best pic in the stash each week will appear on Tuesday and get ten points; the runners up will appear on Friday (one per person who sends one in) and get five points.
You can also enter the witty and amusing captions league table by commenting on Tuesday’s Sitting Tennant photo, the best caption getting 10 points, everyone who contributes getting five points.