A few weeks ago I watched The Ladykillers, one of the best known Ealing Comedies, starring Alec Guinness as the “mastermind”. I thought it was quite ingenious, and had that same streak of nasty humour I saw in Kind Hearts and Coronets more recently.
Guess what? After plundering Asian cinema in recent years, Hollywood has fixed its baleful gaze on Ealing. The BBC reports that the Coen Brothers ( Fargo, Raising Arizona) plan an all-star remake, set in the Deep South of the USA, featuring Tom Hanks in the “mastermind” role. On the one hand, I can’t see Hanks doing well here, he’s just not evil enough. On the other hand, the Coen Brothers are well up to this kind of oddball material, and can coax great performances from the most unlikely people. Mixed feelings about this one.
See if you can figure out this bit of Frasier dialogue:
Frasier (deflated): Anne Boleyn?
Niles: Catherine of Aragon.
It’s all about context. If the great unwashed American Public can appreciate this – and they do – there may be cultural hope for them yet.