11/30/03

The Singing Detective

Am going through "The Singing Detective" again. I first saw it on PBS on a tiny 14 inch set with dubious color (it was secondhand), and I thought it was fantastic, maybe the best TV I've ever seen. Seeing it on DVD on a big screen, oh wow...

Ashamed to admit I'm using close-captioning, but Potter's words are such lovelies, I can't help not wanting to miss any of it...

Oh, Michael Gambon is a great actor. Absolutely. Up there with De Niro, Pacino and what have you.

When I finished the first disc (three hours), I ran through the commentary. A few gems:

Jon Amiel mentions Patrick Malahide's pithy summation of "Singing Detective:" "It's a psychological case study told as a detective thriller, then set to music."

Amiel also says of Gambon that the producer wanted Nicol Williamson (who's brilliant as Merlin in "Excalibur"), but that he insisted on Gambon because Williamson would have gotten Marlow's (the protagonist) sarcasm and eloquence and anger, but he'd never have broken your heart. Which Gambon does without the least sentimentality.

Finally, Amiel says of their first read-through of the script with the cast that, after the last line of dialogue was uttered, instead of the usual congratulations or compliments there was complete and utter silence. Amiel turned to look at Dennis Potter who was white as a sheet. Then Potter muttered: "Christ, I never realized how close I cut to the bloody bone."

4 comments:

cutefurrybeast said...

I know you already posted this in our forum but have you or will you see The Singing Detective with Robert Downey, Jr.? I know David E. wrote about liking it ... somewhere (The Atlantic?) so I'm very intrigued now. I also just saw RDJ on The Wayne Brady show talking about it and they sang a Steely Dan song together. RDJ can sing! Killer voice.

noelbotevera said...

Hi cute, is this your name too at peoplesforum?

Just saw Singing Detective the film. Disappointing, but what's interesting is where Downey fails and Gambon succees and how Pennies from Heaven succeeds where this one failed. May be the basis of another article...

I do like Downey, nevertheless...maybe if they gave him the same amount of time as Gambon...

cutefurrybeast said...

Cutefurrybeast is me, Tonya. My boyfriend and I used to use Trillian, an instant messaging service to play around. Anyway, I may still see it for Downey but I also haven't watched all of the Gambon version either, which I need to do. I'm weird though. I need to be in a certain mood to see a certain genre of film, even when I'm bored - so I had started the Gambon version and then left off for some reason.

noelbotevera said...

Cute furry beast, huh?

Well, if you miss the film version, no great shakes. But you have to have to have to watch this version. I would rate it even higher than, say, Angels in America...