Tuesday, 1 July 2008

Under Milk Wood

Just finished watching Under Milk Wood directed by the not overly successful filmmaker Andrew Sinclair who was better noted for his biographies and other such merits lying in literary capacities, however with his adaption of Dylan Thomas's Under Milk Wood featuring Richard Burton and Peter O'Toole he comes up trumps, as the faithful representation of Thomas's language and humor expels itself brilliantly from this film. It also features Elizabeth Taylor but her role is so insignificant it doesn't warrant putting it on the billing, as apparently she herself thought also. Her primary position is lolling about on a bed with a crew of sailors, one being a lanky black-bearded O'Toole with a Pirate's ear-ring. These moments however are produced by way of the reminisces of Captain Tom Cat, so it actually works fine.

The cast has some other good players including David Jason as Nogood Boyo, Mark Jones as Evans the Death, and Victor Spinetti as Mog Edwards. Interesting fellow players especially Mark (The Empire Strikes Back), and Victor, especially Victor considering after such career highlights as appearing in Pink Panther films, Beatles movies etc, he opts to play Triar Fuck in Boobs in the Wood (1999), but also Mark who in 1975 appeared in The Sexplorer except it kind of makes more sense that Mark Jones was staying true to the period, the age of Aquarius.

Anyway, back to Dylan. The beauty of this rendition is the vignette patchwork of small Welsh town goings on. There is enough grace here not to over-ham the acting but you still get all the benefits of a film just out of the 1960's curb of classic cinema except instead of a wild and manic chase scene at the end, you get a surreal dance in the village square with everyone wearing pajamas. I think the scenes are also nicely controlled by Dylan's text, and it is important to remember that much of Dylan's writing is written like screenplays for films, and if you ever get the chance to read "The Doctor and the Devils", an actual Dylan Thomas screenplay, you'll see what I mean. They made a film of it in 1985, although starring some familiar and likable actors as far as I am concerned, I have never seen it.

So I recommend "Under Milk Wood" the movie, I haven't read the book nor seen the play, although I have the radio version on LP narrated by Dylan Thomas.

I will now leave you with an image from the film, point-of-view David Jason about to get his fantasy whilst he snoozes in his fishing boat with a wet corset he managed to catch on his hook.

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