Guard that Herring!
- Spring and Port Wine review by CH
That phrase could sound like an order given by one of the Marx Brothers or Basil Fawlty - but in fact it marks a pivotal moment in this drama set in 1969 Bolton, adapted by Bill Naughton from his stage play. Much of this takes place around a dinner table over which presides the strict, God-fearing James Mason, whose wife (Diana Coupland) is caught between him and the looser spirits of their four children. Among these is Susan George, whose short skirt and long legs are redolent of a changing world outside a small terraced house which, a few years earlier, would have been filmed in shadowy black and white but comes across equally well in bleached colour.
Throughout, with salty remarks along the way (we learn of a fine coat "that'll keep your knees and other bits warm"), one is kept in suspense: will all this take a tragic turn (there is a moment when one even fears for the cat). Watch it and keep guessing. Of course it is now a period piece in some ways - mini-skirts and Mini vans, as well as, of all things, a bright-yellow Land Rover involved in a notably passionate smash - but the film also turns upon eternal insecurities (and reveals that bowls games can conceal some gambling).
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