Sunday, September 13, 2015

Flickers (TV)

Directed by
Cyril Coke
Written by Roy Clarke
Starring Bob Hoskins, Frances de la Tour
IMDB Entry
As you can guess from seeing the topics on this blog, I’ve always loved movies, and also movies and TV shows about making movies.  And, even though I rarely watched Masterpiece Theater at the time, I was glad to catch Flickers.
The six-part series featured the story of Arnie Cole (Bob Hoskins), a small-time nickelodeon operator in 1910 who wanted to produce films in his own hteater.  He’s a lower class guy without much money, and when he’s introduced to Maud (Frances de la Tour), who’s rich and too snobbish for his taste, he realizes that she could help fund him.  But Maud, who is no beauty, gets pregnant and needs a father for the child, so the two reluctantly marry.
The series covers a lot of the clich├ęs of filmmaking of the era, but the true joy is watching the two leads.  Hoskins has always been an amazing actor and in this role, his blustery persona is the perfect foil for Maud.  Frances de la Tour* is an accomplished farceur and gives as good as she gets, but also shows a vulnerability that brings a lot of charm to the entire enterprise.
The series was written by Roy Clarke, who later became major success in Britcons, creating and writing Keeping Up Appearances and The Last of the Summer Wine.
The show was enough of a success to spawn a thematic sequel, Pictures, though with none of the same cast.  It was set about ten years later, as the characters tried to make it in the movies.  Though far less successful, the most amusing moments were provided by an actor playing the representative of a Hollywood studio.  The character was supposed to be Jewish, but the way he said “Oy Vey” – in a way no one has ever said the phrase – was a joy to behold.
Flickers had a release on VCR, but nothing on DVD.
*Currently chewing the scenery with Ian McKellen and Derek Jacobi in Vicious.


lmshah said...

There was indeed a DVD of FLICKERS released:

but unfortunately it is currently out of print.

Unknown said...

"Flickers" was a revelation for me. It was one of the funniest things I ever, ever saw. I mean painfully, tearfully, side-splittingly funny. When it repeated on PBS, I made a VHS tape recording of it so I could have it forever. When the DVD showed up (donkey's years later, sadly) I jumped on it.

I found this post because I was looking for contact information on Roy Clarke - I have always remembered something one of his characters in "Pictures" said, and I wanted to use it on my website, so thought I'd better get some approval: "Why burn the little candle of your life illuminating some corner wherein you have no interest?" But he doesn't appear to have a website of his own, so not sure how to go about it. I think I'll use it anyway, and hope for the best.

cmflash said...

I got it on DVD. Love love love it! It is a great series and Bob Hoskins was terrific!