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Home > Film

Robin Ince's Top 30,000 Films Of All Time

#29,998: The Bellstone Fox

25 April 2003

Being the kind of person who is lucky enough to spend time in the company of top film critics such as Alexander Walker, Derek Malcom and Paul Ross (who has asked me to remind you that his desire to 'work for food' has not gone down since he gained fame as the host of Endurance on some cable channel or other. So if you've got a quiz show, a drama or maybe a televisual guide to kettles that requires a whore, Paul may have some time between producing Lorraine Kelly's Strangest Soap Coincidences and appearing on It Shouldn't Happen to a TV Cocksucker - the Crossroads year), I have had the opportunity to ask their advice, and they have all said one thing: picking your 29,998th favourite film is the hardest decision ever in film criticism and whoever says it is easy is surely Nick Fisher.

So how did I choose that most difficult of positions in my comprehensive catalogue of the greatest films? Well, I cursed myself, but I decided that Michael Winner could never be any less than 29,950 (you know, with that Chris Rea film about the assassin that Felicity Kendall and Oliver Reed were in, Christ, when I went to see that at the Plaza there were other people in the cinema I thought I must have walked into the wrong screen, then moving on up via the one about the lady vigilante till we get to Hannibal Brooks, the best elephant movie ever apart from Dumbo) and Steven Seagal has done too much work for Eskimo charities to be so far down. So I decided instead to pick on the first film I ever saw: The Belstone Fox.

I was three at the time and very well behaved and so I was taken to the Gerrards Cross cinema. I sat, I watched and I never fell asleep. I remember the basics, it was about a man with some hounds that liked eating foxes (possibly in Wales), but the huntsman (played by Eric Porter who you remember best from Hands of a Ripper - you know the one where Jack the ripper's child goes crazy apeshit, he's the one that pulls the big sabre from his innards with a door handle) found a fox cub, possibly the offspring of a fox he killed (don't remember that bit either) and brings it up, and the hounds and the fox get on so well. This is a bit like Fox and a Hound, the Disney movie, but it's not exactly like it because if I said that I would get sued by the corporation as they are known for being litigious (like gypsies can be).

Anyway, my dad said it was based on a true story, but this was the same time that he said that all food that was blue was poisonous and all of the queen's guardsmen had pigeon toes (both lies I think). There are lots of shots of hounds and foxes and eventually Eric Porter (who was in the original version of The Forsythe Saga) loses most of his hounds when a fox leaps over some railway track and the hounds that followed are crushed by a train (steam possibly). Boy oh boy, Eric is furious, and eventually tries to kill the fox but has a heart attack, and we are left with a fox and a hound looking each other in the eye as the credits roll.

Frankly, I don't know if this film deserves the brilliant 29,998th slot, but it's too late now. I never fell asleep despite being only three, and unlike my young nieces when I took them to Spiceworld the Movie, I didn't keep going on about my 'best bit' afterwards until I nearly shoved their hot chips in their face.

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