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Which film did you think was a curate's egg?

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  • Which film did you think was a curate's egg?

    There are films you watch that are brilliant in parts but are marred by awful bits - like the curate's egg, which was "good in parts".

    For me, "A Clockwork Orange" is just such a film. The scene where villain Alex breaks into the house of the "cat lady", played by Miriam Karlin, is laboured and has painfully poor dialogue. I cringe when I watch it.

    There are parts of the film that remind me that director Stanley Kubrick was living in England at the time he filmed it. I imagine that one day some student will write a thesis on the influence of Benny Hill on Kubrick. It's there in the speeded-up scene in which Alex chases the three naked teenaged girls around his bedroom. It's there when his probation officer carelessly picks up a glass of water and drinks from it, only to discover that Alex's mother's dentures are at the bottom of it.

    Yet in its totality, I know of no other film like A Clockwork Orange. Malcolm McDowell was superb in the part, and the film contained some nice cameos. The film convincingly and unforgettably portrayed the shoddy style of a dystopian society that was clearly modelled on 1970s Britain.

    Now, which was YOUR curate's egg of a film?

  • #2
    'Apocalypse Now' is very much a curates egg - its sort of works, and is often brilliant, until Brando appear, at which point you can see why they wanted him dead.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by Bonekicker View Post
      its sort of works, and is often brilliant, until Brando appear, at which point you can see why they wanted him dead.
      You are so wicked. (Incidentally, where does your Bonekicker name come from?). I saw the film on its release and was not at all sure what to make of it. I understand that it was in part inspired by Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness, which was set in a different continent and different century, of course. Anyone who saw the film remembers the phrase, "I love the smell of napalm in the morning!"

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      • #4
        I love the Truffaut film "Fahrenheit 451", based on Ray Bradbury's novel. However, it ends with the same anti-climax as the novel. The refugees mill around learning books by heart. That is poetic enough in its way, but it doesn't displace the dystopian regime and never could. Only a proper revolution could do that. So from that point of view I regard the ending as disappointing and unrealistic - so the film itself could scarcely be regarded as realistic. Apparently Bradbury was disappointed that the film didn't include the mechanical hound that tracked down the dissidents. Truffaut probably didn't have the budget to come up with such a gadget and make it seem convincing.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by garth View Post
          There are films you watch that are brilliant in parts but are marred by awful bits - like the curate's egg, which was "good in parts".

          For me, "A Clockwork Orange" is just such a film. The scene where villain Alex breaks into the house of the "cat lady", played by Miriam Karlin, is laboured and has painfully poor dialogue. I cringe when I watch it.

          There are parts of the film that remind me that director Stanley Kubrick was living in England at the time he filmed it. I imagine that one day some student will write a thesis on the influence of Benny Hill on Kubrick. It's there in the speeded-up scene in which Alex chases the three naked teenaged girls around his bedroom. It's there when his probation officer carelessly picks up a glass of water and drinks from it, only to discover that Alex's mother's dentures are at the bottom of it.

          Yet in its totality, I know of no other film like A Clockwork Orange. Malcolm McDowell was superb in the part, and the film contained some nice cameos. The film convincingly and unforgettably portrayed the shoddy style of a dystopian society that was clearly modelled on 1970s Britain.

          Now, which was YOUR curate's egg of a film?
          Excuse my ignorance, but I had to look up the meaning of the term 'Curate's egg', (good and bad elements mixed together)

          I've never been keen on correcting anyone, but it was two girls in the 'Benny Hill' type chase around the bedroom.

          I've not really thought the dialogue in the Cat lady's scene was laboured, after all Alex does play with the 'art' on display, which infuriates her madly, and calls him a 'f*****g little bastard' as she is swinging the bust of Beethoven around, though I will have another viewing and make a reassessment.

          it's the second part of the film, after Alex's imprisonment, that drags a bit in some scenes, the paperwork signing, etc;

          Though not a 'Brit' movie, 'Towering Inferno' is my favourite film of the 1970's, the dialogue a little sickly and meaningless in some scenes "Mummy doesn't go to parties anymore since Daddy died", and the Mayor and his wife talking about their nameless daughter (referred to as 'she', not even the term daughter is spoken) about where the key to the safety deposit box is, etc;

          Though the effects are good, and sincere performances from the major cast members.

          Farenheit 451 is another fave, the first question I asked on joining Britmovie is where was the location of Montag's bungalow (it was eventually revealed, and I've since visited the street).

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Mark O View Post

            Excuse my ignorance, but I had to look up the meaning of the term 'Curate's egg', (good and bad elements mixed together)
            I didn't learn it until my thirties. I think I made a big mistake using it in the title. Usually my topic would have gained two thousand views, 17 Nobel Prizes and an Oscar by now, but the obscure title doesn't attract visitors. Maybe I should ask Mr Dando to change it. "Which films did you think were great but flawed?"

            Originally posted by Mark O View Post
            I've never been keen on correcting anyone, but it was two girls in the 'Benny Hill' type chase around the bedroom.
            I remember this third very tall girl who looked just like you but dressed up as a nude. Must have been the Mandela effect, then. :-(

            Have never watched Towering Inferno, I must admit, Which woman did you dress up as in that one?

            Originally posted by Mark O View Post
            Fahrenheit 451 is another fave, the first question I asked on joining Britmovie is where was the location of Montag's bungalow (it was eventually revealed, and I've since visited the street).
            Wonderful! I remember such bungalows going up on our estate in the early 1960s. They looked the height of modern, back then.

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            • #7
              I reckon 'A Matter of Life and Death' (1946) is an excellent curate's egg!

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              • #8
                Originally posted by jamal.nazreddin View Post
                I reckon 'A Matter of Life and Death' (1946) is an excellent curate's egg!
                In what way? I reckon it's just Excellent

                Steve

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                • #9
                  The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes (1970)

                  I film I really want to like, but can't.
                  Some parts are ok, but it's truncated nature, I think four stories originally then compressed to two, torpedo it below the water line.

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                  • #10
                    Re #7 and #8


                    The ‘A Matter of Life and Death' curate's egg contained the excellent Roger Livesey, excellent ideas and scripting, excellent music score, excellent decor, excellent supporting players.

                    The rotten part of the egg was Niven. He was a Samuel Goldwyn contract player who may have assisted ticket sales in America. But he was too much like that weird, epicene character Leslie Howard played in '49th Parallel'. Therefore, insufficient sex appeal to carry a million dollar movie.

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                    • #11
                      '2001: A Space Odyssey'

                      Beautifully crafted, a thing of pure brilliance, but as for the ending, IMHO, you might as well swap the last reel for the last reel of 'Eraserhead.'

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                      • Bonekicker
                        Bonekicker commented
                        Editing a comment
                        Or go and make yourself a cup of tea - it will still be on.....

                        Frankly, when I watched it last year again, it struck me that a lot of it was fairly 'ponderous'.

                    • #12
                      Originally posted by Anthony McKay View Post
                      '2001: A Space Odyssey'

                      Beautifully crafted, a thing of pure brilliance, but as for the ending, IMHO, you might as well swap the last reel for the last reel of 'Eraserhead.'
                      I never did get the ending. I think it was supposed to suggest something that was beyond our ken in any case.
                      Last edited by garth; 4th December 2019, 12:49 PM. Reason: Typo

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                      • #13
                        Originally posted by jamal.nazreddin View Post
                        Re #7 and #8


                        The ‘A Matter of Life and Death' curate's egg contained the excellent Roger Livesey, excellent ideas and scripting, excellent music score, excellent decor, excellent supporting players.

                        The rotten part of the egg was Niven. He was a Samuel Goldwyn contract player who may have assisted ticket sales in America. But he was too much like that weird, epicene character Leslie Howard played in '49th Parallel'. Therefore, insufficient sex appeal to carry a million dollar movie.
                        Sorry, I never see Niven as a Goldwyn character or as a sexy symbol. I just see him as a person. But who else do you think could have played Peter D. Carter?

                        Steve

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                        • #14
                          Originally posted by Steve Crook View Post

                          Sorry, I never see Niven as a Goldwyn character or as a sexy symbol. I just see him as a person. But who else do you think could have played Peter D. Carter?

                          Steve
                          A great pity we never got to see Niven in 'Man's Fate.' From the book, the character he was to play reads perfect for Niven to confront his own stereotype.

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                          • #15
                            Originally posted by garth View Post

                            I never did get the ending. I think it was supposed to suggest something that was beyond out ken in any case.
                            'Beyond out ken'.?.........

                            I think the Starchild means new birth, after Keir Dullea aged rapidly and died.

                            Whatever it meant, they are eerie scenes when he's having his dinner in that strangely illuminated room.

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                            • garth
                              garth commented
                              Editing a comment
                              I meant "beyond OUR ken", i.e. beyond our knowledge or ability to know.

                            • agutterfan
                              agutterfan commented
                              Editing a comment
                              You're right Mark O - rebirth. The monolith appears to the apes, and sparks the next evolutionary phase by 'implanting' the knowledge of 'tools' hence leading to Homo Sapiens. In the future the monolith appears to Homo Sapiens astronaut and triggers the next evolutionary phase where spacesuits & ships are no longer needed - Homo Stellas(?)
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