Saturday, 12 May 2012
This is one of those great British films of the 1940s (directed by Powell and Pressburger) that I'd never actually seen.
It is long ... very long. And 10.30am isn't my ideal time for seeing a movie. The lights went down, I hadn't had time for my second cup of tea, let alone the third cup that gets me almost semi-functional ... and it had barely started before I was snoozing just resting my eyes.
Luckily I perked up, because it was well worth seeing. If Mrs Miniver (1942) was the film that Churchill credited with winning the war, Colonel Blimp (1943) was the film he tried to suppress.
It is about what it means to be English, through two world wars when England was facing up to the need to fight dirty. It has Deborah Kerr looking lovely in three different roles. And a mad comedy opening sequence years ahead of its time. (War starts at midnight ....)
But mostly it is about old-fashioned honour and ideals in a world that has irrevocably changed - and Brigadier-General Wynne-Candy, a gallant young VC during the Boer War, who has become a red-faced, fat and balding Blimp by WW2. It is timeless in that it is about age and experience feeling redundant in a young world and old men taking a back seat to give youth its day.
And when it was over, I stepped out into the sunshine - for the first time in weeks - and went for an amble through Borough Market for the best cheap lunch in London. Which is a £3.75 chorizo, pepper and rocket sandwich from Brindisa, followed by a stroll around the free samples. (At your own risk. I'm fine with the chorizo/Turkishdelight/Thaicurry/chocolatetruffle combo. But maybe you're not.)
Then I stood for a few minutes under the Shard, with all the other people looking up and marvelling ...
This feels unnerving as it seems to tilt towards you.
It is extraordinarily beautiful and delicate as reflections of clouds and planes pan across its surface.
And I can't wait to go up to the top. In 2013.