Friday, August 10, 2007

Sleuth

As most people who read this blog already know, I grew up without a television. When I was a young child, my parents would occasionally rent a television, or borrow the one at our church for a week (we went to an incredibly trusting church). We always tried to work it so that the television would stay for more than a week, and we became so good at it that we often succeeded in keeping the television for upwards of a month during the summer.

The trick was working it so that whatever movie our parents wanted to watch - there was always one or two movies they wanted to get around to watching - it just happened there would be "no time" to get them watched that first week. You know, something would always come up at the last minute, they'd lose their chance to watch the movie they wanted to, and so the television would stay for another week so that this parent could finally get a chance to watch the film.

Naturally, sometimes these films were for our own edification, a movie Dad wanted to watch with us, or perhaps something Mom wanted to experience along with her children. As a result, I once watched the A&E's 6-hour re-telling of "Pride and Prejudice" twice within a 48-hour period (boy, that Colin Firth was something, huh?). But it was all worth it.

One of these moments was during Family Movie Night. I don't think we ever had a family movie night outside of this one occasion, and it was a memorable one. We had rented Sleuth, starring Laurence Olivier as the bitter genius who invites his ex-wife's lover, Michael Caine, over and engages him in a life-or-death battle of wits, but the VHS tape was so poorly made that the audio couldn't be heard outside a one-and-a-half foot radius from the television. A normal family would've returned to the video store and traded the movie in for Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, but not us. We soldiered on.

We turned everything in our house that could possibly make noise off (fans, air conditioners, dishwashers, washing machines, killed the family pets, etc.) and huddled around the television. As I recall, we had Keith, our "Fresh Air Kid" from New York out with us that summer, who just stared in disbelief at our technological desperation and disappeared up the stairs for the evening - in fact, come to think of it, it's possible Family Movie Night was supposedly entirely for his benefit, not that this stopped us. We had spent good money renting a movie, and by God, we were going to watch that movie. We cranked the volume to maximum (Stage Whisper Mode) and breathed shallowly for two hours. And you know what? It was worth it. I was so engrossed that fifteen years later, I still remember details from the movie, all the way up to its exciting, barely audible finale.

So imagine my glee to discover that Kenneth Branagh has directed a remake of Sleuth, which will be premiering later this fall. Michael Caine returns to play Olivier's role, and his former role is being played by Jude Law, who - say what you will, tabloid hawks - is a tremendously talented, brainy actor, despite his mysterious penchant for cheating on arguably the most beautiful actress alive. Also, the adaptation is written by Harold Pinter, who has won a Nobel Laureate for Literature, though admitted for one of the shittiest poem collections ever written ("War"). Still, this is the guy they turn to for adaptations of Kafka and Proust, and he's written a number of Oscar-nominated and Oscar-winning screenplays (The French Lieutenant's Woman, for instance), which I think legitimately qualifies him to write a brainy enough thriller to satisfy the masses.

Check out the new trailer here.

While you're at it, check out the trailer for the original here.

Labels: , , , ,

2 Comments:

At August 11, 2007 1:35 PM, Anonymous Doug W. said...

That was me that disappeared upstairs while you Wyman's watched the movie. I remember not being able to understand a thing they said in the movie, and just thinking forget it. I actually watched the movie a couple of years later, its a great movie.

 
At August 11, 2007 7:00 PM, Blogger Wyman said...

Hey, that's right! I thought it was you, but then I couldn't figure out a reason you would've been around the house overnight, so I figured it was actually Keith.

 

Post a Comment

<< Home