Monday, October 15, 2018

Piccadilly Jim [2004]
Piccadilly Jim [2004]
Universal Pictures UK, DVD, 22 May, 2006
Director: John McKay
Actors: Brenda Blethyn, Hugh Bonneville
Features: Anamorphic, PAL
List Price: £12.99
New Price: £8.97
Used Price: £1.35
Third Party Price: £4.93
Availability: Usually dispatched within 24 hours
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Customer Reviews

Falls flat because of bad directing.
Its a P. G. Wodehouse story and it was a talented enough cast, so the director has to be blamed for this production falling flat.

I didn't so much as raise a smile throughout. Which is pretty poor for a comedy. The plot is full of colourful characters, but they all came across as dull and uninteresting. I suspect that there needed to be less, better scripted, better directed scenes.

I would recommend this to no-one. Perhaps 2 Stars is generous.

Lush, rollicking and rib-tickling
This is the first decent full-length feature film ever made from a P.G. Wodehouse novel. Remember now that Wodehouse is generally regarded as THE funniest writer ever to have written (not only my opinion, luminaries like Douglas Adams and Stephen Fry concur. For heaven's sake, Evelyn Waugh said Wodehouse was the best writer in the English language of their entire generation). Having gushed so effusively, however, it must be said that filming a Wodehouse novel is a daunting task. This is because a lot of his humour was contained in the narrative, so without an annoying voice-over you are cutting out a lot. The team who put this production together nailed it, however. The players are perfect - Frances O'Conner is a sublime Wodehouse pippin-worthy girl (surely the greatest compliment that can be paid to one of the gentle gender), Sam Rockwell is the ultimate rakish knut (Wodehouse's word for an unemployed young bounder generally getting up to trouble). Tom Wilkinson is his usual excellent self, and the Aunts (Wodehouse's greatest enemies) are, well, devestatingly aunt-like. Also spot the wonderful 'cameo's. Perhaps the best feature of the film, however, is the sets and other incidentals, this film may be the greatest celebration of 1930s art-deco and related style ever gifted to a dulled generation. The plot is brilliantly translated for the screen (although conservatives like myself might cavail at the greater sexual licence than Wodehouse might have liked). Altogether, this is a must-own cult classic, may the makers continue!

An unusual film, well worth adding to your collection.
Piccadilly Jim is based on a P.G. Wodehouse book. It is set in London and New York in the 1930's but with a modern edge. In the nightclub scene, for example, Emiliana Torrini brilliantly sings the 1980's classic `Tainted Love' in a wonderful retro version arranged by Adrian Johnston. On paper it sounds weird, but the decision was a stroke of genius and it really works. The film is worth the money for this scene alone.

The plot revolves around Sam Rockwell and his attempts to woo Frances O'Connor, both of whom give fine performances. Geoffrey Palmer gives a solid, believable, performance as the butler.

The film is beautifully shot and lit and I am sorry to only give it 3 stars. Some of the minor characters are too caricatured and sporting extreme hairstyles, with the result that the viewer can't engage with them. I realise that it is light comedy, but comedy works best when you can connect with what you are watching. The various minor characters and sub-plots are all squeezed into the 90 minutes, with the result that the viewer doesn't have time to get immersed and involved.

Re-cut the film to 110 minutes, add some extras to the DVD (e.g. interviews with the director John McKay and the adapter Julian Fellowes explaining their vision) and it could still achieve top marks.

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