Arabella DVD Review

a4Arabella (Virna Lisi) has just arrived back at her grandmothers( Played with wonderfully over the top relish by Margaret Rutherford). Said Granny is broke and has not a dime to rub together or split apart. Enter the absurd hotel manager (Played while also in four other roles by Terry Thomas) and his insane calamity of life and Italian excesses. He cant quite make her out but as she tries to seduce him and his money it becomes clear what we think she is after. Then along comes into the picture a hunky and brazen young buck Giorgio (the one dimensional acting talent James Fox). The film is a satire on the Englishness of the English and the Italian way of the Italians. About fortunes and the unfortunates that are those with nothing but need to have everything.

A3I have always had a problem with farce as a genre. I guess I am not built to understand them as say I would a film noir or western. That said this film is quite funny in places and does enjoy a great standing because it has Terry Thomas in dual roles. Well he is in many roles. All of which he does quite well and with a sense of charm. He is one of those actors that suffered due to stereotype and because he did it so well. People cast him as a rogue and a rough cad but he was a great comedian. He understood and shows here how he understands the audience are driven by visual expectation. We see and we assume, which later cognitive film theorists would suggest is how we understand and experience film. I disagree but love what Thomas can do with this visual construct. He is helped by a very funny Lisi and a dull but watchable Fox. Sadly Rutherford is very old and though tries to give us the old ham queen, fails a little on this film. All told the film is worth your time if you like satire, Farce or OTT cinema of the absurd kind. If like me you like dark satire and hard laughs, then I would suggest to give it a miss.

A1The disc…well I can only say to my friends at Simply….Sort it out…. More empty than the bank after the bail out in 2008… Now that is  a farce…

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