Saturday, 2 May 2015
We did watch a couple of other films during my stay: 'Carry on Nurse' and 'Le rayon Vert' by Eric Rohmer. We are nothing if not eclectic in our tastes.
The second in the series, 'Carry on Nurse' is a good ensemble piece. Most of the familiar cast are there: Hattie Jacques, Charles Hawtrey, Joan Sims and Kenneth Williams. And there are cameos from the likes of Leslie Philips and June Whitfield, who would later return in 'Carry on Abroad' and 'Carry on Girls'. The film does, however, lack a bit narrative drive and comes across really as a series of sketches. It is though rather funny at times - the comedy being much 'cleaner' than in later films. And Marianne Stone makes her first 'Carry on' appearance.
'Le Rayon vert', (1986), is another kettle of fish all together - a product of a completely different cinematic out look. Though it does have in common with 'Carry on Nurse' a certain interest in ordinary lives. Briefly it is the story of Delpine, and her attempts to find a fulfilling holiday. Watching it I was reminded of two things: firstly there is the strong similarity to 'Céline et Julie Vont en Bateau' by Jacques Rivette, 1974, which I watched at the bf's several weeks ago and didn't like. 'Le Rayon Vert' I liked very much. It had a wonderful charm to it, and at points I was quite moved. 'Le Rayon Vert' I should explain is not only the title of a novel by Jules Verne (reference was made to that in the film), but a rare optical phenomenon connected to the setting and rising sun. Both films feel improvisatory; they both come at the end of the Nouvelle Vague; they were made on limited budgets. The camera work was also quite similar, and both are set, partially at least, in a Parisian summer. Secondly I was put in mind of the work of the English novelist Barbara Pym, and her concerns are, perhaps, not so far from either 'Carry on Nurse' or 'Le Rayon Vert'. Again there is the interest in the ordinary, of lives where, really, nothing much ever happens. And like the heroine of 'Le Rayon Vert' the main protagonists of Pym's novels, invariably women, fail to recognize the opportunities presented to them, for they are alienated from the serendipitous. The only difference being that in 'Le Rayon vert' Delphine learns finally to find happiness.
Carry on Nurse 1959
Dir: Gerald Thomas
Producer: Peter Rogers
Cinematographer: Reginald Dwyer
'Le Rayon Vert' 1986
Dir: Eric Rohmer
Producer: Margaret Menegoz
Cinematographer: Sophie Maintigneux
I also talked about:
Céline et Julie Vont en Bateau 1974
Dir: Jacques Rivette
Producer: Barbet Shroeder
Cinematographer: Jacques Renard