Sunday, November 13, 2011

How to Deep Six Your Own Movie

So how was your weekend?  I watched DVDs.

Bill Nighy turned some more heads in the U.S. last weekend with his starring performance in the David Hare directed and written Page Eight, seen here on PBS.  This was his best starring role-- better than the also political TV film, The Girl in the Cafe, which was more brilliant in part perhaps but uneven.  Nighy is best known however for his scene-stealing smaller roles, notably in Love Actually but he's added unique moments to films well known ( in the Pirates of the Caribbean and Harry Potter series) and not so well (Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.)  One of my favorite of his performances was in a Richard Curtis film called Pirate Radio over here, and The Boat That Rocked in the UK.

The subject is pirate radio in the late 60s in the UK, a fascinating bit of history that seems incredible now--(yes, Virginia, rock music wasn't allowed on Brit radio and was played only from ships broadcasting from outside the territorial limit) and it's done with high 60s Richard Lester style and reverence for rock music. It's not for everyone but  I loved it when I first saw it on DVD.  The DVD also offered the Deleted Scenes--the longest set of deleted scenes I've ever seen, accompanied by the director's doleful commentary on what he cut out and how maybe the movie would have been better received with these scenes in it.

Apparently the movie didn't do well.  And now that I've seen it for the second time, he's right to be doleful.  This is the only case I know of where the deleted scenes are the most memorable. Literally, they were the ones I wanted to see again. There are at least three sequences that are as good or better than what's actually in the movie (actually more like five or six), and a couple of them are classic. There are even a couple that pay off a running joke (one with Bill Nighy.) It's just stunning.

It occurs to me that among these photos from this movie, I should include one of Bill Nighy. Here it is.

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