Thursday, March 15, 2012
dean spanley

I stumbled upon this little "gem" of a film---I had never even heard of it before, let alone seen it---and it was released in 2008. Now, having seen it, I do not understand why it didn't get any attention back then---particularly by the Academy at Oscar time.....It is a wonderfully literate screenplay and the five principal actors are all, superb! And Peter O'Toole, who plays the cold detached and seemingly heartless father of Jeremy Northam in 1904 Edwardian England, just about steals every scene he is in.....His character is exasperating and funny and ultimately deeply touching.....Quite a 'hat trick', isn't it? But, in truth, it is no "hat trick". Peter O'Toole is still one of the finest actors, not just of his generation, but...ever...! And wasn't he amazingly beautiful in "Lawrence Of Arabia"? It was said that the great and talented Actor/Composer/ Writer/Raconteur, Noel Coward said to Peter O'Toole, back in the day, "If you had been any prettier, you would have been "Florence Of Arabia".......". Be that as it may----O'Toole's performance in this wonderful little film, grabs your heart in a really deep way and it is ultimately what the film is about. The resurrection and un-melting of a heart thought frozen......A true 'Artist', is this continually astounding and now elder, Peter O'Toole.Another performance that bares talking about is Sam Neill.....He, in a way, has the much more difficult challenge as an actor.....He has to convince us that he is much more than the eye can see without doing anything but "being" who his character is---and I must say---he truly pulls it off quite brilliantly. It is a performance of epoch proportions done in a very quiet and unassuming way.And, I want to talk about Jeremy Northam. I think he is a really WONDERFUL actor--mostly overlooked and underrated because he makes it all look so easy. In my opinion, he has incredible depth as an actor....I have loved him in so many films--The first one that comes to mind is "Gosford Park", (A truly fabulous film that I never tire of watching....) But because there is nothing particularly 'showy' about the characters he plays...Well, for me, in "Gosford Park"....I thought he was sublime in a performance that is just kind of taken for granted....And even here, in "Dean Spanley", his performance has been mostly overlooked...Make no mistake. Without Jeremy Northam, this would be a very different film. He grabbed my heart, too. And, may I say, I think he is a most attractive man as well as being so very talented.....You may have noticed I haven't said too much about what this film is actually about. There is a reason for that. I want you to discover it for yourself just as I did, never having even heard of it before, and as I said, having stumbled upon it....And, Oh My, what an amazing 'stumble' this was.....! I urge you to seek this film out. You won't be sorry....It goes places that are surprising and illuminating, too......I will quote what it says on IMDB:
Set in Edwardian England where upper lips are always stiff and men from the Colonies are not entirely to be trusted, Fisk Senior has little time or affection for his son, but when the pair visit an eccentric Indian, they start a strange journey that eventually allows the old man to find his heart.

And, to touch your heart in the process! My favorite kind of film!

More To Come......

had this to say:

This does seem like a dandy. It has dogs, gotta be good. Peter O'Toole really was a beautiful man. Those eyes!!
Thank you for the review. I would have normally passed this up as I hadn't heard about it. Back on Netflix now and catching up.

Thursday, March 15, 2012 at 4:48:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

You write the best movie reviews ever. First because you love movies, second because you know the actors and directors and all the rest. Your reviews are always about the performances and all the things in a film there are to enjoy and appreciate. You're a movie lovers' movie reviewer!! Thanks for this. I'll be sure to watch this one with Peter O'Toole as soon as I can find it.

Thursday, March 15, 2012 at 6:00:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

I will look for this one! Thanks,Naomi.

Thursday, March 15, 2012 at 7:02:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

Sounds like another fab pic from the talented Ms. N.
I love all those actors and Peter o t is a hunk no matter what age he is..
I got a funny email from you Naomi on Monday. You were peddling how to make money on the Internet! I think you been compromised . It happened to G as well a month ago. You just need to change your email password and that fixes it. love you Naomi and hope that life in your beautiful hills is full of light and blessings. C

Thursday, March 15, 2012 at 9:01:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

sounds fantastic! Can't find it on Netflix, but I'll look around more. Thanks :-)

Thursday, March 15, 2012 at 10:58:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

hmmm this does sound good! and I love Peter O' I will add this to my radar! Thank you Naomi! and by the way: wonderful review! :o)

Thursday, March 15, 2012 at 11:24:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

This sounds like a film we would love and I had never seen it anywhere. I'll definitely add it to my Netflix

Thursday, March 15, 2012 at 8:11:00 PM PDT 

Anonymous Anonymous
had this to say:

Thanks for the review. I've always loved O'Toole and think he's one of the several in pantheon of great British actors.


Thursday, March 15, 2012 at 8:18:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

Ahh...this does sound like a wonderful film!! Thanks for the great review Naomi. Hugs!!!

Thursday, March 15, 2012 at 9:30:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

I have never heard of this film either but I will watch it now! Peter O'Toole is a wonderful actor and I always thought Sam Neill was too but never seemed to get the parts that would push him into the major lime light. May be he preferred it that way?

~ Bobkat

Friday, March 16, 2012 at 3:58:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

Now this does sound like my kind of film. Not fluffy and with hidden depths. I've never heard it before but I will try and check it out now. I love your film reviews!

He was a very beautiful man, I agree. :)

Friday, March 16, 2012 at 12:06:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

I have never heard of it either, but I will look for it now.

Friday, March 16, 2012 at 1:05:00 PM PDT 

Blogger Pat
had this to say:

At least three excellent reasons for seeing this film.
I agree with you - particularly about Jeremy Northam. I have just ben watching him in an new TV series where he plays a father - a pillar of the establishment to a reprobate of a son. I think he has grown into an excellent actor.
'White Heat' is the name of the series.
Once more you have whetted my appetite.

Saturday, March 17, 2012 at 3:23:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

Sounds like my kind of flick too! On to my list it goes; thank you.

Saturday, March 17, 2012 at 7:35:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

I hope I can find it here in the world of limited rentals. It sounds like it would be right up my alley! Thanks!

Writing about O'Toole is fitting on a St. Patrick's Day. Even though he is British, his roots must be Irish too.

Saturday, March 17, 2012 at 8:58:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

Your review thoroughly whetted my appetite for this film – I’m writing it on my list of films to watch. Peter O’Toole has always been one of my favorites. We saw Lawrence of Arabia when we lived in San Francisco. This is one of my husband’s all time favorite – he must have seen it at least 15 times – Peter O’Toole was stunning in the role. I value your reviews as you are a good judge of actors.

Saturday, March 17, 2012 at 11:50:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

I've never heard of this movie either, but your description reads like it would be a story I would most enjoy. The actors are some that I, too, really delight in watching perform. They usually convince me they are their characters with such nuanced performances.

Yes, I agree, Peter O'Toole was magnificent as Lawarence.

Your movie revues are always enjoyable and informative reading. Your insights generally intrigue me in such a way as to motivate me to want to view the movie. I especially appreciate the way in which you discuss the story line without revealing too much about the plot. The pleasure of a first feature viewing for me often is the experience of having a relatively unknown-to-me story unfold on the screen before me.

Saturday, March 17, 2012 at 1:39:00 PM PDT 

Blogger VV
had this to say:

I have never heard of this movie either. I love most of the actors in it, so I'll have to put it on Netflix. Thanks for bringing it to our attention. Have you seen Sam Neill in his new series, "Alcatraz"? I am really enjoying that show.

Saturday, March 17, 2012 at 4:07:00 PM PDT 

Blogger MaR
had this to say:

Will surely look for it!!

Sunday, March 18, 2012 at 12:33:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

I just put it in my cart on I totally trust you because we just watched The Descendants tonight. I told my husband what you had said about it. It really was a great movie. (And for good measure, I went ahead and also put Gosford Park in my cart. I think that's a movie worth seeing again.

Monday, March 19, 2012 at 1:09:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

I adore Peter O'toole!
he's beautiful and more than a bit mischevious

I will check this out

Monday, March 19, 2012 at 9:30:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

Naomi, I love your movie reviews! I've never heard about this movie before but I will try to rent it.
I agree with Arkansas Patti, if it has dogs, gotta be good!
Thanks for the review!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012 at 3:39:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

Oh, my! I love all of those people and Edwardian times and I can't believe I haven't heard of this film! I doubt our video store will have it -- I must search about -- maybe it will be my first Netflix!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012 at 5:19:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

Definitely a film that I have never heard of, and probably would never hear about until reading your recommendation on your blog! I have always liked Peter O'Toole... saw him in a restaurant in London many many many years ago.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012 at 8:48:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

this sounds like such a wonderful film, naomi, and i'm so glad you've introduced it to us - what a find you made, for sure! what a cast! and an edwardian setting - what could be better!

oh, and i noticed a comment above from someone who said they had received a weird email from you - i did, too - so you probably do need to change your password immediately if you've not already done so -

have a wonderful remainder of your california day!!

Friday, March 23, 2012 at 11:21:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

I will keep Netflix just to watch this film! Thank you for the recommendation.

Sunday, March 25, 2012 at 8:40:00 AM PDT 

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