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IdleRich
15-05-2012, 12:11 PM
After re-watching The Singing Detective recently and concluding that it's still the best thing I've ever seen on telly (making a post-modern musical that is so emotionally affecting is an incredible achievement) I wondered why I had never checked out his other stuff. So we watched Lipstick On Your Collar on 4OD - also great fun but doesn't quite have the same multi-stranded depth that makes TSD such a masterpiece.
Yesterday I started on Karaoke which looks promising so far if quite similar to TSD in that it stars a playwright (as opposed to a novelist) who is having trouble separating his real life from his plays, possibly due to illness causing him to hallucinate. As usual the weird bits provide the excuse to get in Potter's trademark rock n roll songs without necessitating the same kind of suspension of disbelief which a musical usually requires.
Any other Potter fans here?
Also, this seems particularly relevant somehow


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lnVrK38xI-A

Bangpuss
15-05-2012, 12:38 PM
I was in a school production of Blue Remembered Hills. That was a TV show where a bunch of kids in wartime Devon lost their innocence. The kids were played by adults. Not great. During rehearsals my plea to include a musical interlude where the cast sung this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HlSWvveLi14
was repeatedly vetoed.

blacktulip
15-05-2012, 01:59 PM
The final interview he did with Melvin Bragg (during which Potter was constantly smoking with clawed fingers and sipping liquid morphine) changed my life fundamentally.

IdleRich
15-05-2012, 04:58 PM
"The final interview he did with Melvin Bragg (during which Potter was constantly smoking with clawed fingers and sipping liquid morphine) changed my life fundamentally."
My flatmate says pretty much the same thing.

IdleRich
15-05-2012, 05:03 PM
"I was in a school production of Blue Remembered Hills. That was a TV show where a bunch of kids in wartime Devon lost their innocence. The kids were played by adults. Not great."
So what was not great, your version or the tv one? I reckon that eventually I'll check everything out - I think Karaoke and then Cold Lazarus cos that's related. I found a screenplay of that for sale when I was on holiday in a charity shop but I thought I'd hold out to watch the tv series.

jenks
15-05-2012, 06:25 PM
Always been a big fan and in the four channel 80s any new Potter was a big deal indeed. Unfairly scrutinised cos of the chance of seeing a bit of smut but always visceral and exciting - proper acting!
I think that CL and Karaoke are the final playing out of key themes from earlier in his career (same with Lipstick - he certainly had an eye for a telegenic actress who could wear a pair of stockings)- good but not TSD level good. Blackeyes as well - has some fine moments as i recall but the stuff that still sticks in my mind are the Nigel Barton films and Blue Remembered Hills which have a similar power to TSD.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RQzbS7oG43Y

And this is a bit of a lost classic

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RTKHvJsJJcU

This seems like the perfect primer:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r02qm80q-YI
And, of course, Pennies From Heaven which really was groundbreaking for the way he used music - Hoskins a really watchable actor.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k089jzXgmpw
Finally, if you can get a view of Brimstone and Treacle, it is pretty vicious and a touch over wrought but destroys most current TV.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oWPMZNNNOJU

blacktulip
15-05-2012, 07:10 PM
Also the one with a young Gary Oldman blew my head off late one pre-teenage night.

jenks
15-05-2012, 09:18 PM
Is that Track 29 ?- directed by Roeg, written by Potter and with Gary Oldman and Teresa Russell. I remember thinking it had all the right people but was a dog's breakfast of a film.

blacktulip
15-05-2012, 09:30 PM
That's the one. Yeah, I can well believe it's a piece of shit but I was probably 9 or 10. =)

Bangpuss
16-05-2012, 10:42 AM
The script for Blue Remembered Hills wasn't very good. The TV show wasn't great (it had John Bird, he of Bremner, Bird... fame playing a nine-year-old). But our version kicked ass. If only they'd let me throw some D12 into the mixer...

IdleRich
13-06-2012, 05:40 PM
"I think that CL and Karaoke are the final playing out of key themes from earlier in his career (same with Lipstick - he certainly had an eye for a telegenic actress who could wear a pair of stockings)- good but not TSD level good."
OK, finally watched the eight episodes which comprise that double-series and... it was very strange. Surprised to hear you say that they are the final playing out of key themes - certainly with Cold Lazarus; to me that seemed the total opposite of The Singing Detective (say) in terms of theme. While the one was inward looking and personal Cold Lazarus seemed to take on lots of the "big" themes such as consumerism, corporatism, how media control is reducing us to idiots. Politics in other words.
Potter proved not nearly so deft in handling these ideas - or maybe it was just that he was trying to cram in too much to a relatively short series and that this, combined with all the sci-f stuff, meant that the whole experience had loads of strange things happening without any solid base to anchor them in. So much stuff needs a lot of explanation it turns out "oh no we're being attacked by the terrorist group called RON who object strongly to the way that we are not allowed to freely wander the streets" kinda thing.
Very brave idea to make the two hugely different series part of one mongrel whole but I almost think that Karaoke - which was much more similar to TSD - was undermined by the second part. As I said, the experience of watching the series was strange, enjoyable but not satisfying in the way of some of the others. A kind of equivalent of experimental cookery which hasn't quite paid off I'd say.
Gonna have a look for Brimstone and Treacle next I think.

IdleRich
09-07-2012, 04:55 PM
Just bought the film of the Singing Detective with Robert Downey Jr from a charity shop, don't have high hopes but I'm gonna watch it this evening... weird how the protagonist is renamed Dan Dark or something, I don't think that is the name of a famous noir detective is it?

IdleRich
11-07-2012, 09:21 AM
Talking to myself here but never mind....
OK, watched the Robert Downey Jr version. Not as bad as I had feared (or partly hoped I must admit). Of course there is a lot missing - there's no way you can cut something down from six hours to one hour forty without losing something - and it's the decisions on what to cut and what not to cut which really decide how well this works. Disappointingly, they remove a lot of the breadth from the hospital scenes by moving the patient to a single room and managing without all the characters who form what is effectively the chorus. Disappointing but probably for the best as, despite their charm, these conversations do little to advance the story and I guess you could say that if you must cut something then maybe it's this.
A much worse decision is to greatly shorten the back-story which features Dan Dark/Philip Marlowe as a child. Without this background and explanation the story fails to make the emotional connection which is what lifted the series from a post-modern experiment to a genuinely powerful artwork. I guess they had a big star in Downey Jr and they wanted him on screen as much as possible but there was no chance my girlfriend was gonna start crying at the end of this film. Also, why make Dark's dad a mechanic? Surely part of the reason that his alter-ego in the novels was a singing detective, along with the hallucinated singing scenes was some kind of homage to his unhappy singing father. I don't see the point of taking that away.
Apart from that a lot of the differences are cosmetic. You might find Mel Gibson annoying as the psychiatrist or you might not etc It's quite strange when a scene which is pretty much word for word the same pops up - in a way that serves to emphasise the changes.
Anyway, worth checking I guess but it's not a patch on the original of course. Potter himself did the screenplay apparently although I don't know what that means in terms of how many of the decisions I just mentioned actually came down to him.