Thursday, February 04, 2010


As I've mentioned before, my old friend JC has a remarkable talent in selecting movies. If he thinks a movie looks good or interesting, it's a sure bet that it will turn out to be bad. If he thinks that a movie might be bad, it generally proves to be kind of interesting, or even, dare I say it, good. Over the years this dichotomy has gone far beyond being an amusing coincidence and become one of the immutable laws of the universe, like gravity, pi or Margaret Cho being unfunny.

So it was with some trepidation, at least on my part, that we approached the first of two Audrey Hepburn DVDs that he gave me for Christmas. He'd mentioned at the time that he'd thought we should perhaps watch some "good" cinema rather than our usual Cheap-Rubber-Monster-Versus-the-50-Foot-Bikini-Girls fare. After all, how can you go wrong with one of the 20th century's most celebrated actresses?

It seems that this question can be answered with one word: 'Bloodline'.

Based on a novel by Sidney Sheldon (a fact that should have most cinephiles recoiling like Ingrid Newkirk presented with a copy of 'Home Butchery for Beginners'), 'Bloodline' tells the story of Elizabeth Roffe, who finds herself heading a massive multinational corporation following the death of her industrialist father in a suspicious mountain-climbing accident. Her extended family, who are all members of the board, want her to sell up, but she decides to follow her father's wishes and maintain his empire. In the process, she finds that she's likely to have her own "accident" unless she can find out who among her extended family is a killer.

Meanwhile there's a subplot about some guy making snuff films. It bears no relation whatsoever to the rest of the story, but it does give the movie makers plenty of opportunity to show naked 70s girls slathering themselves with baby oil before a muscular bald man strangles them. And there you go; it makes no more sense here in print than it did in the movie.

'Bloodline' had a lot of money spent on it, from Audrey Hepburn's lavish Givenchy wardrobe to the hire of helicopters, Ferraris and French chateaus. And yet, as I noted about twenty minutes in, "They've spent a hell of a lot of money just to show nothing happening." Then about fifteen minutes later, after we'd leapt from a villa in Sardinia to an office in Zurich to an English country house all in the space of less than 90 seconds, I was moved to exclaim, "Sweet merciful crap, it's like this entire movie is being conducted in shorthand!"

I was convinced that 'Bloodline' was actually a much longer miniseries that had been edited down to movie length. That would explain the scenes that lasted for two lines of dialogue, the ambitious sets that were only used for thirty seconds of screen time, and the presence of old troupers like James Mason and Omar Sharif who were still a little too upmarket for guest appearances on 'The Love Boat'. After all, miniseries based on sprawling airport novels were a staple of the late 70s and early 80s, when Danielle Steele and Barbara Taylor Bradford were at their gaudy peak.

But no. Apparently there was a lot of footage removed from the theatrical cut of 'Bloodline', but there's no mention on or other sources of it being intended for miniseriesdom. Much of the edited footage appears to have been even more gratuitous dead boobie scenes, suggesting that the film was originally to have been a bizarre mashing together of feminised lifestyle porn and masculinised actual porn. However the bulk of the deceased naked chick ogling was removed so that the film could attain an R rating, rather than an X rating, in the United States.

So what was a classy dame like Audrey Hepburn doing in this bloated piece of euro-trash, riddled with soft core porn like a sideboard infested with borers? It seems that she was coming out of a difficult divorce, and, in her low state, was vulnerable to the flattery of director Terence Young. Never mind that she was more than twice the age of Sidney Sheldon's original heroine, and miscast for a role which really called for a flashy young starlet rather than an elegant and poised veteran. She was shoehorned into this aimless, convoluted movie to give it some undeserved credibility. Unfortunately rather than giving the movie credibility, she had hers smothered.

Hello, I'm Audrey Hepburn, and I'm too old for this crap.

At least JC's singular ability with movie choices remains unbroken.


Anonymous maxK said...

Oh, howhowhow to Get on the Blandwagon? !

You are one of the cleverest, funniest (and, let's face it...just plain oddest) Bloggists on the Internet!

My whole family (even the 6 year old) reads your Blog regularly and it is Laugh Out Loud Funny. Well, mostly. Stunned was hilarious!

How do we receive your Blog via email?

Where's that button that says "subscribe?"


I will link your funniness to Murchison-Hume if you ever get your button sorted, Mister.

Best Regards,

M. Kater

9:58 AM  

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