GeneralMartin's Close TWR

 

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 From:  Manthorp  
 To:  ALL
42531.1 
Loving, faithful Gatiss adaptation misses out James' best two shivers

https://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/m000cr9v/martins-close

"We all have flaws, and mine is being wicked."
James Thurber, The Thirteen Clocks 1951
 
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 From:  Kenny J (WINGNUTKJ)  
 To:  Manthorp     
42531.2 In reply to 42531.1 
I thought it was OK, although I've no recollection of the original story. It was certainly better than Channel 5's Susan Hill's Ghost Story which was rubbish on all counts, and the sound was so mumble-y that I had to delve into the deepest settings of Gaynor's television (nj) to try to wring some clarity from the speakers.

Kenny
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 From:  william (WILLIAMA)  
 To:  Kenny J (WINGNUTKJ)     
42531.3 In reply to 42531.2 
I thought the Susan Hill thing was a tad shit too. It did have a few genuinely scary moments (and I mean "a few"), but some of those that could have been really frightening, such as when the child ghost attacked adults with adult force, were poorly staged. Also crap story and weak well-signposted ending.

Ah, Mr Smith. You've given me a dilemma. I'm a sucker for anything M R James but ever since Mark Gattiss departed the League of Gentlemen, in which I thought he was good, I haven't really enjoyed anything I've seen that he's written, directed, acted in or otherwise had a go at. I see it's on offer for another 3 weeks, so I'll probably give it a try.
never trust a man in a blue trench coat, never drive a car when you're dead
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 From:  Manthorp  
 To:  william (WILLIAMA)     
42531.4 In reply to 42531.3 
Don't you be blaming that Smiffy. He's responsible for enough as it is.

"We all have flaws, and mine is being wicked."
James Thurber, The Thirteen Clocks 1951
 
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 From:  CHYRON (DSMITHHFX)  
 To:  Manthorp     
42531.5 In reply to 42531.4 
Also: you posted in wrong folder.  (fail)
“It’s just a roster of nuts, angry people shouting about things.”
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 From:  william (WILLIAMA)  
 To:  CHYRON (DSMITHHFX)     
42531.6 In reply to 42531.5 
He did and I am also totally mistaken. More haste less speed. I apologise profusely Mr S and redirect my statement of a dilemma at Manthorp.
never trust a man in a blue trench coat, never drive a car when you're dead
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 From:  Manthorp  
 To:  william (WILLIAMA)     
42531.7 In reply to 42531.6 
Have you resolved your dilemma yet? I worry for you at your age. Also, I'm intrigued to know what you thunk of it.

"We all have flaws, and mine is being wicked."
James Thurber, The Thirteen Clocks 1951
 
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 From:  Manthorp  
 To:  Kenny J (WINGNUTKJ)     
42531.8 In reply to 42531.2 
For a cheap quantum increase in the quality of Gaynor's telly sound, can I commend the Goodmans Base if you can find one? I know, I know, Goodmans... but, I researched before I bought and it was consistently reviewed high among the economy solutions and I've been happy as Larry with it for the last year-and-a-half. I'm not sure they're still being manufactured, but I know you can pick up 2nd hand & refurbs for buttons.

Really helps the clarity and it's as loud as you like. The controls (through a remote) are a bit wanting: volume, treble & base but with no indicators, but enough to bespokerise it to taste.

"We all have flaws, and mine is being wicked."
James Thurber, The Thirteen Clocks 1951
 
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 From:  william (WILLIAMA)  
 To:  Manthorp     
42531.9 In reply to 42531.7 
Haven't watched it yet. It takes a while for me to get round to things these days. 

I've taken a copy from the Beeb in case the "while" it takes me is longer than the 17 days of availability.
never trust a man in a blue trench coat, never drive a car when you're dead
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 From:  william (WILLIAMA)  
 To:  william (WILLIAMA)     
42531.10 In reply to 42531.9 
Watched it last night. Quite nicely done and everybody acted well, especially Peter Capaldi as the prosecutor. That said, it didn't have a single moment that I could honestly describe as chilling - or even a bit eerie for that matter. The script looks to be based on the text and where there are additions, such as Martin claiming that there were thirteen jurors, these did nothing to improve matters. The story itself is not one of James' scarier offerings and I suspect for best effect needs to be read aloud to a small gathering suitably mellowed by much passing of the Port leftwards.

Slightly daft bit of directing: one of the witnesses, William Reddaway, is described in James' text as a child of around 13. Gatiss substitutes a black actor (who is 32) - with a thin moustache. No issue with the substitution, but totally bewildered as to why the script was not suitably modified. The judge and prosecutor address him throughout as "child" cautioning him not to be "frightened" which sounds ridiculous and only draws attention to Gatiss's liberal pretensions. Perhaps that's the point.
never trust a man in a blue trench coat, never drive a car when you're dead
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 From:  william (WILLIAMA)  
 To:  william (WILLIAMA)     
42531.11 In reply to 42531.10 
As a footnote to that Gatiss actor substitution: turns out it's Fisayo Akinade, a mate of Russell T Davies and I immediately suspect the hand of the Gatiss/Davies/Moffatt triumverate. I suppose we're lucky it didn't transform into a quasi-Dr Who episode halfway through as the BBC Dracula mini-series appears to be doing (I haven't yet seen the conclusion).
never trust a man in a blue trench coat, never drive a car when you're dead
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 From:  Manthorp  
 To:  william (WILLIAMA)     
42531.12 In reply to 42531.10 
I agree about the lack of scariness of the adaptation: though for me, Martin's Close is one of James' scarier tales. The two key scares - the ghost of Ann Clark scuttling out of the linen closet, and the 'boy' seeing her first emerge from the pond - both really work for me in the text version. Indeed, I'd rate the story in the top five James tales; which proves, should it need to be proven, that fear is as much in the eyes of the beholder as beauty is alleged to be.

Regarding the casting of Reddaway, I also agree. I've no beef with colour-blind casting: I think it's a positive thing to do, and more than desirable - a responsibility - for a public service broadcaster. However, age-blind casting is another matter completely. When he first appeared, I thought Gatiss was doing a clever and the character was going to be referred to by the racist and historically plausible 'boy' throughout. But as you say, he was called 'child' interchangeably, which I've never seen used as 'boy' was on black and Asian people in the past - to denote a service role and/or to patronise. I'm pretty sure there were other references to his youth, too.

"We all have flaws, and mine is being wicked."
James Thurber, The Thirteen Clocks 1951
 
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