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Thursday, May 22, 2008

THE KINGFISHER (1982)

Dismissed as a facile relic during the ‘angry young men’ era of Brit theatre, William Douglas Home lived long enough to see his own critical resurrection. This adept stage-to-tv adaptation (smoothly helmed by James Celan Jones) of a late, minor vehicle for 3 aging stars shows how deceptively sly his quiet craft could be. Rex Harrison’s confirmed bachelor is about to see the love of his youth (Wendy Hiller) after 50 years. She’s stopping by after burying her unloved husband. They seem well matched after all this time, but Harrison’s comfy routine with valet Cyril Cusack may get in the way. There’s a love match here, but between whom?, and just what is the nature of (this) love? Home opens with the expected fatuous tone, but things turn randy, funny, tipsy & surprisingly touching. Harrison was made for Home (see THE RELUCTANT DEBUTANTE) and doubly spurred here by reuniting with Hiller 40 years after they filmed MAJOR BARBARA.

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