Bedtime Story

Lawrence and a wealthy widow

Bedtime Story is one of a string of movies produced by Marlon Brando’s Pennebaker Productions, a company run by Brando’s father, Marlon Sr, and named after his mother, Dorothy Pennebaker. They didn’t all feature Brando Jr. 1961’s Paris Blues was a vehicle for Paul Newman, Joanne Woodward, Sidney Poitier and Louis Armstrong. 1959’s Shake Hands with the Devil starred James Cagney. 1964’s Man in the Middle was a courtroom drama set during the Second World War and handed a lead role to Robert Mitchum. You’ve probably not heard of any of them, and apart from One Eyed Jacks, Pennebaker Productions’ hit rate wasn’t astonishing, though the films they turned out did generally feature … Read more

King, Queen, Knave

John Moulder-Brown, David Niven, Gina Lollobrigida

Here’s the sort of film King, Queen, Knave is – one where a pratfall is accompanied by a sound effect, in case the pratfall wasn’t obvious enough. One where a woman’s breasts appear primed for a fondle, as if they came with a homing device for wayward male hands. One where an attractive women at a certain point in the evening must make a deal of slipping into something more comfortable. One where bed springs are noisy. It’s from 1972, it might be no surprise to hear, and stars David Niven, Gina Lollobrigida and John Moulder-Brown – Niven plays German department store magnate Charles Dreyer, Lollobrigida is his lusty younger wife, Moulder-Brown is Dreyer’s … Read more

A Matter of Life and Death

Marius Goring in A Matter of Life and Death

A movie for every day of the year – a good one 29 December UK pays off Second World War debt, 2006 On this day in 2006, the last working day of the year, the British Government made the last of 50 payments to the US and Canada, money it had borrowed off them in 1945 at the end of the war, when the British economist John Maynard Keynes had been dispatched to Washington with the begging bowl. With the national debt standing at 180% of gross domestic product, the government had expected, or hoped for, a grant. Instead it was offered a loan, on terms of 2% interest annually, a rate that … Read more