Fiddler on the Roof rack : Eddie The Eagle prepares for Winter Olympics glory….
Proper film critics (Mark Kermode, Danny Leigh et al) review flicks before they come out, the better to inform film-goers about the quality (of lack therof) of various newly-released movies. We here at HCA – always thinking outside the box (office) – scorn such practices, and instead offer ” The Last Word In Film Reviews” – haphazard analyses of months-old pictures, based on what Millman Street Community Centre members can recall about them a few days after the screenings. Under no circumstances does this reporter attend the films in person (due to irrational fears of both surly usherettes, and the words “key grip” among the end credits on a silver screen). That would simply be cheating.
In example, last Monday (31st October) was of course Halloween. So surely our members watched, through their fingers, a new hair-raising horror movie (designed to cash in on the day) ? Not a bit of: far too obvious. Instead, in the latest of HCA’s Tea & Talkies series, our members saw Eddie The Eagle (released in the UK way back in March), courtesy of our good friends at the Warner Brothers Cinema down the road. As ever, Steve, Carmen and Shirley took care of our members throughout the afternoon.
The Set Up
The story of Eddie The Eagle is that of Michael “Eddie” Edwards, one of Britain’s sporting ‘heroes’ (see also: every England team at every tournament, except 1966). A sickly child, Eddie overcame all manner of setbacks – including attempts by his own team-mates to nobble him – to represent Great Britain in the ski-jump at the 1988 Winter Olympics in Calgary, Alberta in Canada.
Directed by Dexter Fletcher, Eddie The Eagle stars Taron Egerton as Eddie; Jim Broadbent as a BBC commentator, Hugh Jackman as a ‘snow groomer’ (sounds dodgy, but some sort of skiing instructor, apparently), Christopher Walken as Eddie’s mentor, and Iris Berbin as a kindly lady sympathetic to Eddie’s Olympian aspirations.
So what did our members think of Eddie The Eagle? – Part One
“It was very good; Well done,” said Helena. “It was quite nice, I didn’t mind it. It was funny in parts,” she added.
“He was obsessed with becoming an Olympian,” Steve said. “He had bad knees as a youth. He started skiing but the British Olympic Panel didn’t like him and kicked him off the team, so he became a ski-jumper.”
Apparently, Eddie got the British record – 30 metres – in training. “The crowd loved him,” Steve resumed. “He had heart. He just wanted to prove he could do it, because he had so many obstacles in his way. Even the British team got him drunk, so he missed the opening ceremony!”
Margaret thought the film was: “Great! I was surprised he was so enthusiastic and determined. He carried on [after several accidents]. His courage was absolutely marvellous,” she said. “They never dreamed that he would be so successful,” she continued. “In the end he does this big jump and fell backwards on his skis but managed to get up again and finish the skiing. I thought it was good. That’s what made the film: his courage. His father wanted him to be a plasterer like him, but he was so determined to get to the Olympics. I think it was marvellous…!”
We shall return to our members’ thoughts on the movie after this brief intermission:
New Feature: Film Fact* and Fiction Fun**
[* “fact” used loosely; **”fun” not included]
Peter Mark Roget (1779-1869), the English physician and lexicographer, was one of the founders of the University of London. He is of course best known for his Thesauras (1852 onwards), but he is also credited as the first person to identify “persistence of vision” in a series of experiments (circa 1824). This is the odd trick of the human brain that allows it to ‘see’ still photographs move, at the ‘fusion frequency’ rate of 24 frames per second.
So is this true? While there are those who dispute his involement, often in vague and nebulous [same thing – Roget’s ghost] terms, generally speaking Roget gets the credit. As such, without him there would likely be no movies: no Citizen Kane, no Gone With The Wind, no Casablanca, and no, er, Holiday On The Buses. So now you know who to blame…
There is a rumour in film folklore (started right here, in the middle of this sentence) that Norman Wisdom contemplated coming out of retirement to play The Ace Face in Quadrophenia (1979). Furthermore, it is also rumoured (again, only here) that he turned down the role for fear that the movie’s success might inspire a mod revival, as he felt that he could not endorse helping the likes of The Merton Parkas, Secret Affair and The Chords to embark upon musical careers (however brief). And so it fell to Sting, then of The Police (the pop group, not the rozzers) to take the role of The Ace Face.
So, is this rumour based on any reality? Attempts to contact Quad director Franc Roddam in order to verify or disprove the rumour were not made. As such, it must be concluded that the entire topic is a complete and utter fabrication; something designed to pad out an otherwise threadbare article on the Millman Street blog.
We now return to our main feature:
So what did our members think of Eddie The Eagle? – Part Two
“It was good,” said Anne, who clearly enjoyed it, and said the film made her laugh. Ditto David, who said: “It was good; fantastic! He kept failing but got up again. He did it and got into the Olympics, he joined the team. He only drank milk, but the other team members got him drunk. He was fantastic. It was brilliant; amazing!”
“Excellent film,” said Ken. “I was surprised. I didn’t know he went through so much as a child; he had leg-irons. They [British Olympic Panel] did everything for him not to go, but he went in the end. He jumped 71 metres. His mum stuck by him.”
Tom said: “One of the best pictures we’ve had! This one was alright – he had trouble with his leg as a boy, which I hadn’t realised.” Tom was curious as to what became of Eddie, as his life after the 1988 Winter Olympics wasn’t dramatised. Maybe there will be a sequel – Eddie The Eagle 2: Back In Blighty – or some such at some point. We’ll see if Dexter Fletcher will direct again.
As ever, Warner Brothers Cinema provided our members with tea and cakes after the screening. “What a nice thing to do,” observed Margaret. “They do look after you,” Helena chimed in.
Holborn Community Association would like to thank our friends at Warner Brothers Cinema for hosting Tea & Talkies for us, at their own expense.
Report by Notes Smudger