Cagney playing Rick… …and why not?
An excellent evening with Barry Norman.
Barry recently spoke at Reading Concert Hall supplying interesting trivia about four classic films, Casablanca, Gone with the Wind, The Adventures of Robin Hood and Dirty Harry. Trivia included casting preferances for key roles, why directors and screen writers were changed and cast members reflections. The ending of Casablanca was written while it was being filmed, writer and cast did not know how the film would end. The Atlanta burning scene in Gone with the wind was made by burning all the old sets on the studio lot. The Adventures of Robin Hood was filmed in California, the lush greeness of the grass in the film was a special effect, painting the film.
After an interlude Barry answered questions from the crowded concert hall audience. Two charming silver haired ladies mustered all their deft to pass microphones amongst the audience.
Barry’s answers to questions of the form ‘name your favourite [e.g. actress, director, film... ]‘ and ‘I know a lot about obscure film trivia[e.g. what the most expensive never-finished film]‘ produced a recognisable, normally unarticulated, analysis of recent cinematic trends including:
- praising the decade of the 1970′s as the last decade that produced a substantial proportion of films aimed more at a thinking audience, Easy Rider as an example, rahter than at the mass audience of cinema attendess, 18-25yrs, that seek light entertainment.
- mentioning that the 6 main film distributers that supply the UK are US distributers that naturally prefer to promote their own, US, products. The distributer for Cyrano De Bergerac called him to thank him for repeatedly mentioning the quality of this French language film because it helped get distribution in the UK.
- TV programs that review films are prone presenting available celebrity interviews, current film promotions, at the expense of balanced critical analysis.