I spent a lovely girly evening with ms_siobhan
last night. First, we went to Jino's for delicious Thai food and a good natter, and then we proceeded to the Cottage Road cinema for the latest in their series of classic film evenings.
As usual, we started with some pre-film vintage goodies. The Cottage must have bought in a job lot of Rowntree's chocolate adverts, as they were pretty high in the mix. We were tempted by the likes of Black Magic, Kitkat, Matchmakers and Smarties - and I'm afraid I shattered ms_siobhan
's childhood illusions by informing her that the latter no longer come in cylindrical packets topped by a brightly-coloured plastic cap with a letter of the alphabet on it. We also saw an advert for Nimble, one of the world's first really successful diet foods - in this case, a bread whose lightness was demonstrated by a lady floating off in a hot-air balloon.
Best of all, though, was a late '60s advert for an Italian sparkling wine called Gancia
. When the in-laws come round, the advert advised us, "Try to afford Gancia!". Apparently, it cost £1/6/3 at the time, which judging by this inflation converter
means it would now cost about £18.00 (depending on exactly when in the late '60s the advert was made). Can
we afford that, people? We'll try our best, anyway.
To round things off, we then had a Pathé news reel, featuring a youthful Prince Philip on a visit to Hollywood. He seemed not to be doing anything too
embarrassing, but ms_siobhan
did wince when we saw him being given a commemorative Wesson rifle! Luckily, no-one seemed to have lost any limbs as a result.
I didn't think I'd seen the film itself
before, but it turned out I had
seen at least the first part on TV. I was just confused by the fact that it is in colour - still pretty unusual in 1953, and the reason I'd assumed that the film which I remembered couldn't have been the same one. The producers were clearly making the most of the opportunities offered, too, as we were treated to lots of brightly-coloured clothes, make-up and indeed one bright yellow vintage car. It is well worth watching for those aspects alone, actually - although ms_siobhan
and I differed as to whether we preferred Dinah Sheridan's large circle skirts (me) or Kay Kendall's pencil-skirted suits (her).
The main plot concerns two couples participating in the annual London-Brighton vintage car rally
. One pair are a respectable married couple, and the other a loveable rake and his latest beau, with much of the plot concerned with playing their rather different lifestyles off against one another. Each couple has its own tensions, but they also end up sucked into a greater rivalry - the urge to beat the other couple in a race back from Brighton to London. Cue all sorts of adventures and scrapes (some of them rather literal) as they run their ancient and eccentric cars as hard as they can manage, getting into trouble with the police, herds of sheep and angry fellow-drivers along the way.ms_siobhan
and I were quite surprised to find pre-marital sex being referenced at one point, when the husband from the married couple began getting all jealous about the prospect that his wife might have been 'involved' with the loveable rake before they were married, and she retorted that surely he wouldn't have wanted to marry a woman with absolutely no experience! But it was also made fairly clear that she was really just trying to wind him up to serve him right for being jealous, though, so perhaps that was enough to make the reference acceptable. Other than that, though, the main tone was light-hearted comedy, revolving around slapstick antics with the cars, the ladies' exasperation with their male companions' car geekery, and the perils of the Worst Hotel in Brighton - run by a fantastically prim and pernickety Joyce Grenfell.
Touching, funny and replete with 1950s goodness, you can hardly go wrong with this film. Definitely another winner from the Cottage.Click here if you would like view this entry in light text on a dark background.