Rossaland Russell meets Dawn French

Lyn and I spent yesterday at home, for the most part. I did some work on my thesis, and Lyn composed music in her studio. I did, however, get to watch some TV, and boy did I get a treat. At around midday, Howard Hawks’ ‘His Girl Friday’ (1940) was on. To me, this film is an exemplar of Hollywood of classicism: shot magnificently and highly efficiently, the dialogue almost crackles with greatness. There was one long scene where the whole film comes together – its almost totally dialogue driven, with almost no extra diagetic music. I only whish I could write a fraction as well as that. I’d forgotten how magnificent that film could be – no wonder Hawks was a favourite of the Young Turk writers of cahiers du cinema.

If that wasn’t enough of a treat, in the evening I stumbled onto another gem, this time in terms of comedy. I found a show called ‘Roger and Val have just got In’ on BBC2 (I think). It had Dawn French in. while I like French’s work anyway, I was amazed by this show. The entire episode was composed of just one scene with two characters. Again, it was totally dialogue driven, yet the dialogue was used to create an entire scenario, an entire world with characters who had discernable personalities. For the second time yesterday, I found myself very impressed.

It just goes to show there’s hope for telly yet. There is usually so much dross on, but there are still some gems which you can stand up next to the Hollywood greats.

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