Thursday, June 18, 2009

Getting Hitched

Ah, the silver screen...

Last night was a rare chance to experience cinema as my grandparents did, and I can only envy them. Hitchcock's Notorious (1946) is a movie I'm quite familiar with, but watching it "full-size" feels like seeing it for the first time. Swansea's Taliesin Theatre was encouragingly full, too, although the age range of attendees was skewed a little too far towards the movie's original release date for comfort!

Ingrid Bergman is sensational in this flick, where she is given a far wider range to explore than in some of her other roles. The love scenes with Grant could strip wallpaper, and some of her close-ups suck at one's soul like blotting paper. Cary Grant is in cruise control here, but then effortlessness is his hallmark; and Claude Rains makes a great baddie, flawed and sympathetic, yet ultimately evil.

One thing I've always loved about Hitchcock movies is his trick for deriving tension from the most unlikely and mundane situations. Notorious contains perhaps the best example of this art; we suffer a full five minutes of knuckle-munching unease on account of.... the champagne slowly running out! The murmurs of delighted apprehension from the audience proved that this simple magic hasn't worn off after 63 years. Stepping out of the theatre, I felt the need to take Hev by the arm, pull up my collar, and could only wish I had brought my hat...

Tuesday, June 16, 2009



Real, actual money.

One fewer houses, several more pounds.

The 15-month process may have seen off the very last of my youthful energy... but it's actually over. And so, then, is my latest residency in the city of my birth. The Cardiff that I leave is utterly unrecognizable from the city I moved to in 1999, almost entirely in good ways.

But I don't expect thanks...