Robin Ince's Top 30,000 Films Of All Time
#29,992 - #29,989
13 June 2003
Any of you with a keen grasp of maths, or at least with a grasp of maths that means you occasionally beat the contestants on Countdown to making 126 out of 100, 25, 1, 3, 5 and 8, will have realized that with 52 issues of The Friday Thing a year, it will take 577 years to reach the conclusion of this top 30,000 films; in fact, even denting the top 27,000 will require me joining a gym, eating more bran and possibly dabbling with having monkey glands injected or grafted onto me (I am unsure of the monkey gland process).
Therefore, to speed the whole thing along a little we shall zip through the next four in one go. I realize that this means you will be deprived of the normal critical depth with which I attack these films, but heck, you can't have it all.
#29,992: The Railway Children
"It's only the rats!"
Who can't like Lionel Jeffries? And by implication, who cannot like 'The Railway Children'? - for Jeffries directed it and also gets to mutter the immortal line "It's only the rats!" when poor Dinah Sheridan and her family arrive in the dank cottage that will become their new home after their fall from London poshness. Surprisingly, Lionel Jeffries is only 77, a surprise because he has been playing old men since the 1950s.
There are many moments to savour in this film, not merely the crystal-cut accents of teen actors who would soon be replaced on our screens by those oiks of Grange Hill (whose gutteral accents wouldn't have even been permitted in the children's film foundation's work so often aired on Screen Test - prize for whereabouts of Michael Rodd, perhaps the Gregory's Two Girls DVD that still sits unclaimed in my sitting room). For example, there is the fine moment where Bernard Cribbens is brought a selection of fancies and pink buns but initially rejects them for fear he is being patronized as he is merely a working class stationmaster, and of course the famous petticoat scene which was later repeated with a bit more gusto by Jenny Agutter in Walkabout (and most of her 70s films before Amanda Donohoe took over the role of posh actress most likely to lose clothes - and occasionally gain an ivory dildo, see Lair of the White Worm).
I have been arguing with my friend Carolyn that the frantically waved petticoat was white, but Carolyn insists that it is red. I bow to her knowledge, but fear that my mind, in some kind of Stalinist purging of the true facts, has rewritten my memories so that the petticoat is white because I, a once tender youth, could not believe that the virginal Jenny would wear red undergarments (we all know what red garments lead to in Thomas Hardy novels).
NB. Lionel Jeffries also made the charming 'Victorian sprogs in ghostly trouble' film, The Amazing Mr Blunden, and Wombling Free, the big screen outing of The Wombles (I once had a Wombles lampshade) - who knows if they will venture into the top 29,990?
#29,991: Lair of the White Worm
Some idiots gave this movie bad reviews.How could they? It's full of over-the-top Freudian snake imagery, writhing nuns being attacked by warriors, hallucinogenic crucifixion scenes, Hugh Grant being a delightfully camp square-jawed British hero, Paul Brooke as a policeman (you don't know Paul Brooke? Of course you do, he's that wobbley-jowled actor with the laziest eye in Christendom, you know, who used to appear in the Kit Curran Radio Show with Ewan MacGregor's uncle) and Amanda Donohoe running around with snake fangs and an ivory dildo torturing ex-Dynasty star Catherine Oxenburg. This is the best Hammer film ever made (though they didn't actually make it). Hurray for Ken Russell! Let us have more mad white-haired eccentrics with faces reddened by Champagne abuse in charge of the British film industry (for every 'wallowing in the mire of our working class melancholy' film made by Mike Leigh let us have a Ken Russell, then the universe shall be balanced).
#29,990: The Seventh Seal
For its astounding influence on Bill and Ted's Bogus Journey
#29,989: Dancer in the Dark
I went to see this film and it gave me flu.