My original plan had been to watch and review Neecha Nagar, and follow it up by watching and reviewing Kurosawa’s Donzoko (also based on The Lower Depths). By the time I’d read Gorky’s play and seen Neecha Nagar, that plan had changed a bit—because I was feeling sorely in need of a funny film. La Grande Guerra was what I chose, because it had come highly recommended by friends whose judgment I trust.
We’ve been on a spate of tributes all this month. First, it was a farewell for Dev Anand, the man who embodied ‘leading man’ for so many Indians across generations. Then, there were birthdays – for the ‘hunkiest of them all’, Dharmendra, and then for one of Hindi cinema’s greatest thespians, Dilip Kumar. Somewhere amidst all those tributes, another great birthday got left out. Kirk Douglas turned 95 on December 9, 2011. So, here’s wishing Mr Douglas a (rather belated) happy birthday, and here’s looking at one of his best-known films.
Strangely—considering that Errol Flynn is best known for his swashbuckling roles—the film I most vividly remember of his is this one, an unusual war film. I first watched it years ago as a teenager, and ever since—in spite of having notched up The Prince and the Pauper, Captain Blood, The Adventures of Robin Hood and other blockbuster Flynn hits—this remains my favourite Errol Flynn film. Touching, thought-provoking, and utterly memorable.
I am an unashamed romantic—but I have some stipulations. The romance mustn’t be the type that pops up out of the blue, just by two people looking at each other. It mustn’t consist of just staring, pop-eyed and with a silly grin, at each other. Most important, it must end happily. The ride into the sunset, or the fadeout on a heart-and-soul smooch, is of paramount importance.
That said, here’s one utterly lovely romance I saw a few weeks back. And then again yesterday, just because it was so wonderful.