More news from Stephen Fry on Dambusters remake

New Zealand TV reporter Kate Rodger caught up with Stephen Fry at the launch in London of The Lovely Bones, and received a 30 second update on progress on the Dambusters remake. (If you want to see the video you’ll need the latest version of Adobe Flash player, BTW.) Fry confirmed that the project is still very much going ahead, although the financing etc needs a little ‘finessing’. So, no sign of back burnering, at the moment, it would seem.

[Hat tip Dave Homewood, Historic Aviation Forum.]

BFI page on The Dam Busters

The British Film Institute is a treasure trove of material for anyone interested in the history of cinema, and much of it is now online. Check out, for instance, its page on Michael Anderson’s classic film, and you will find links to stills, other stuff about the cast and crew, and a wonderful, slightly sniffy, contemporary review from the BFI’s own Monthly Film Bulletin, which ends:

The film is over-long (the flying sequences include some repetition) and the music score is, regrettably, very blatant; but despite these drawbacks, a mood of sober respect is maintained.

Little did the reviewer know how popular the ‘blatant’ musical score would become.

My favourite piece of Dam Busters trivia derives from the scene shown above, showing on the left the great Robert Shaw, later to star in no less a movie than Jaws, where he ends up meeting a spectacularly gory end. Here he plays flight engineer Sergeant John Pulford, which means he gets to sit alongside Richard Todd, playing Guy Gibson, for a large section of the film but has very few words to say. Their on-screen interaction is thought to be a pretty accurate reflection of the real life relationship between Pulford and Gibson.

This could be serious. Jackson denies putting Dambusters on ‘back burner’

This could be bad news, folks. In a throwaway remark in an interview with the well-respected Hollywood Reporter, Peter Jackson and his Wingnut Films colleagues apparently let it be known that the Dambusters remake is now on the back burner, ‘fearing it might be “too English.” The (British) Independent’s LA correspondent, Guy Adams, has picked up on this serious news today and elicited a further comment from a Jackson spokesman:

Peter Jackson’s spokesman just returned my call. The film remains “in development,” but does not have a date to begin shooting. Mr Jackson denies saying that the Dambusters story was “too English” in his Hollywood Reporter interview. Instead he claims to have described it as “very English.”

Too English? Very English? Nearly a third of the aircrew who took part in the Dams raid were not British citizens, and Jackson himself is supposed to be consulting the last of the pilots left alive, his fellow Kiwi Les Munro.

This could be serious – or it could just be a way of pushing things back in the schedule a year or two.

(Hat tip George!)

Remembrance Day, 2009

Poem by Ann Stevenson in The Guardian, Saturday 7 November, 2009. I can’t find it in the online version, so I am reproducing it in full here.

After the Funeral
by Anne Stevenson
For Sally Thorneloe, in memory of Lieutenant Colonel Rupert Thorneloe, killed in Afghanistan, 1 July 2009
Seeing you lost in that enormous hat,
Your face rigid with grief, I thought of how
In love with life you used to be, so much that
“Happy” seemed to be a word kept warm for you.
Seeing you stunned there in the camera’s eye,
Forbidding your chin to undermine your lip,
I knew the knife in you was asking why?
Oh, ceremony couldn’t answer it.
Though they were trying desperately to give
History’s unspoken underside a face,
A frame, words and reason to believe
The afterlife is ordered – like the place
In which, beside his flag-draped coffin, you
Acted, like him, the role you’d been assigned to.