Sunday, 12 October 2014

Do you really think that's wise?

Left right, left right: John Le Measurier, Bill Nighy

The cast for the new Dad's Army movie was announced earlier this week. Tinkering with classics is always going to be fraught. Even when the original cast made the ubiquitous big screen version of their own TV show in 1971 it hardly set the world on fire. But this time, this time, it may just work. With big hitters like Bill Nighy, Tom Courtenay, Michael Gambon and Bill Paterson taking on the roles of Wilson, Jones, Godfrey and Frazer respectively, the project  certainly won't fail for lack of  talent. And hearing that it will all be shot on my doorstep*, almost literally, I'm warming to the idea more and more.

But it will be the script that makes it. Or indeed breaks it. It was an ensemble piece set during the war, but war was the very last thing it was about. It was about people. And people need natural scripts. If the writing is only half as good as that produced by David Croft and Jimmy Perry it will fly. If not, it will end up as soggy as the chips the U-Boat commander insisted on not having in that sketch.

* When the cast come to town they may well need to brush up on their pelican crossing etiquette:

2 comments:

  1. I'm not hopeful about this. I agree that the original was about people, but it was also about stereotypes and tensions that were recognisable in the 70s but perhaps not so much today (the gloomy funeral director, the bank manager, grammar v public school etc). What it may have going for it is the remarkable nostalgia there seems to be for the Second World War in the UK these days.

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  2. I, too, am seriously worried about what this might become. I'd rather they just left it alone, like they should have done with The Clangers. You can't improve perfection.

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