Sunday, 28 August 2016

Capital Celluloid 2016 - Day 258: Thu Sep 15

The Magic Christian (McGrath, 1969): Cinema Museum, 7.30pm

This is a Scalarama event. Here is the introduction:
Join Roz Kaveney and friends for an experimental broadcast on London’s arts radio station, Resonance FM, a recorded ‘live’ DVD commentary for the Peter Sellars and Ringo Starr starrer ‘The Magic Christian’.

With streaming online services becoming the way that most of us watch films, DVD commentaries are becoming, if not a thing of the past, then certainly increasingly rare. That means there are thousands of movies – some obscure, some not so obscure – which won’t benefit from having people talking, gossiping, showing off and occasionally making salient cultural observations over the top of them.

That’s where ‘Music for Films: Box Set’ comes in. Resonance FM’s flagship show of tangential and digressive conversation (often about film music) plans to make DVD commentaries for every single one of them, starting with ‘The Magic Christian’, partly scripted by Terry ‘Easy Rider’ Southern from his comic novel, with Pythons Graham Chapman and John Cleese also having a hand in the screenplay (Cleese makes a cameo as a snidely smooth auctioneer).

It’s a film depicting the other side of the swinging Sixties, not the love and peace version but the one where people all wanted to get filthy rich and screw the other fellow, damnit. ‘The Magic Christian’ is old fashioned in some of its attitudes yet oddly prescient of modern, hypercapitalist London.
Be part of starting our ‘Box Set’ by watching the film and commenting along with us.

(When we’ve run the film once, we’ll show it again without people talking. This is a special service for people who actually want to see the film).

Film Comment review:
“Everyone has their price,” Sir Guy Grand (Peter Sellers) assures Youngman (Ringo Starr), the hirsute vagrant he’s plucked out of a park and made his heir. Establishing an instant rapport, the pair play increasingly complex pranks upon London’s unswinging posh set, culminating with the launch of The Magic Christian (a supposedly transatlantic luxury liner whose sham maiden voyage is afflicted by choppy seas, a drunken captain, and Yul Brynner in drag) and their inviting people to fish pound notes from a vat filled with feces, blood, and vomit. Though in Terry Southern’s original novel Sir Guy was more interested in “making it hot” for the middle class and lampooning prim bourgeois taste, Joseph McGrath’s movie version remains an acerbic, late-Sixties dark comedy classic.

Violet Lucca

Here (and above) is the trailer.

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