SHERDOG MOVIE CLUB: Week 234 - The Long Good Friday (1980)

Discussion in 'Mayberry Lounge' started by europe1, Nov 4, 2020.

  1. europe1 It´s a nice peninsula to Asia

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    NOTE to NON-MEMBERS: Interested in joining the SHERDOG MOVIE CLUB? Shoot me a PM for more info!

    Here's a quick list of all movies watched by the SMC. Or if you prefer, here's a more detailed examination.

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    Our Director

    John Mackenzie
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    A solid and reliable filmmaker with frequent flairs of brilliance, Mackenzie gave up a career in acting because of a desire to control what he was doing. He assisted Ken Loach on his classic early TV plays such as The Wednesday Play: Cathy Come Home (1966), which inspired him and gave him the best training a TV director could dream of. It also taught him how to work with local people when filming on location and how to work quickly. But his interest was more in storytelling than political filmmaking and he began directing himself, with fabulous results.

    He made three features early in his career, the best being Unman, Wittering and Zigo (1971), a superb Hitchcockian thriller which proved his skill at suspense, something his no-one seemed to remember for another ten years. He returned to TV to enjoy the golden age on Play for Today (1970), and formed a fruitful collaboration with Scottish writer Peter McDougall for four brilliant films. The first, Play for Today: Just Another Saturday (1975), won the Prix Italia. Mackenzie also directed Dennis Potter's Play for Today: Double Dare (1976) superbly and produced a huge body of work including Play for Today: Red Shift (1978), Play for Today: A Passage to England (1975) and Play for Today: Shutdown (1973).

    He always showed a brilliant ability to draw honest and natural performances from his actors, and frequently cast comedians or singers. He moved to features decisively with The Long Good Friday (1980) but a decade spent in Hollywood proved unfulfilling, artistically. Although he never achieved the recognition he richly deserved, Mackenzie was one of Britain's finest filmmakers.
    Our Star

    Mario Mario
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    Film Overview




    Premise: An up-and-coming gangster is tested by the insurgence of an unknown, very powerful threat.

    Budget: $£930,000

    Box Office: $???

    Trivia
    (courtesy of IMDB)


    * Bob Hoskins' voice was dubbed over by a Wolverhampton actor, for fear Americans wouldn't understand his London accent. After Hoskins threatened to sue Jack Gill and British Lion (the original producers before HandMade bought the rights), the dubbing was removed. He was supported by Richard Burton, Sir Alec Guinness, and Warren Beatty.

    * Credited theatrical movie debut of Pierce Brosnan (1st Irishman). His part was supposed to be completely silent, but he improvised one word of dialogue, "Hi".

    * In her 2008 autobiography, "In the Frame: My Life in Words and Pictures", Dame Helen Mirren claims that it was at her insistence that her character "Victoria" was made into a more complex character than just the stereotypical mob moll.

    * For his performance, Bob Hoskins received a fan letter from notorious London gangster Ronald Kray.

    * In the car at the finale, Bob Hoskins was told that the camera would be on him for five minutes non-stop.​

    Members: @europe1 @MusterX @Scott Parker 27 @JayPettryMMA @Yotsuya @HARRISON_3 @Bubzeh @CHUTE_BOXE78 @the ambush @SalvadorAllende @The Big Babou @HenryFlower @Zer


     
  2. Rimbaud82 Black Belt

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    Oo ah up the 'RA
     
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  3. KnightTemplar Halloween Belt Platinum Member

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    Best line, "The Mafia? I shit 'em!":)
     
  4. europe1 It´s a nice peninsula to Asia

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    You know, knowing that The Gentlemen took its best scene from this movie kinda makes that flick seem less impressive in comparison.

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    At it's core premise, The Long Good Friday is quite a familiar movie. It stars the underworld-kingpin who is on the cusp of turning himself into a legit business-tycoon (Godfather much?). Hoskins plays a ruthless gangster who still hates drugs and cares for his community (Godfather much?).

    Hoskins was pretty great in this. Even though he remains calm throughout most of the proceedings, you can tell from his intense stare and poised energy that he was once a streetwise thug with brutish power. The reason why he suppresses this is because he wants to make himself fine with high society. He wants to transcend the street. He puts on the air of an 80's yuppie. The yatch. The fancy car and clothing. His wife is definitively a Tory.

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    Much is made in The Long Good Friday about the new age. Internationalism has come to England. The UK is no longer an island but a part of Europe and poised to be its capital. All this translates into a lot of money. This is the zeitgeist Hoskins wants to conquer. And he feels very emboldened that he will succeed.

    Throughout the movie, Hoskins is often linked to England itself. He's not so much a gangster as a vital "firm" within London society which keeps things in check. His remarks towards the Americans often posits "us versus them" thinking. He speaks about his love for English history. He uses phrases like " touch of the Dunkirk spirit". He's very "english" in his persona.

    However, ultimately, the film is about how Hoskins and England can't adapt to this new world which they wish to conquer.

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    Hoskins tells the American mafioso that in England, men such as himself are used to a bit more vitality, ingenuity, balls, again the: "Dunkirk Spirit" as he so neatly summarizes it as. He's confident that his English cunning will see him triumph. However, his action shows none of this. When confronted with a new threat (the IRA) he applies the same "one solution fits all approach" that he learned growing up as a hoodlum gangster.

    In the gang-world, you kill the boss and then win the war (Cut off the head of the snake and all). He's repeatedly warned that the IRA do not work like this yet fails to adjust accordingly. The IRA are not crooks -- they're ideologues, they're zealots for a cause, not criminals who make money by serving some boss. The film often points out that "there are ways of doing things in London" and the IRA do not respect that. But Hoskins can't think outside the box.

    So, even though he killed the IRA boss, its membership don't yield and get their revenge. Ideologues can act independently without a leader. Murdering their chief isn't going to stop them from believing in their cause.

    It's a film about hubris, basically. Hoskins thinks he can conquer a new world using old tactics. He's proven wrong.

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    Even that said, I didn't like The Long Good Friday as much as I thought I would. The last third definitively saves it (the ending and Jeff's murder being real top-quality stuff). But up until that point it feels kind of ambling. One of those film that talk about little-seen character which the audiences barely know.

    But more importantly... the film just lacks the raw nerve of other British crime films like Get Carter, Sitting Target, McVicar, etc. Those films freely indulged in the fact that their protagonists were reprehensible shitheads. Here, Hoskins is all "these people deserve better!" when driving past a slum. For all his thuggish ruthlessness he also comes across as to empathetic with his anti-drug stance and stuff like that.

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    Also, slicing a guys buttocks with a machete is pretty damn gnarly :D
     
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  5. HARRISON_3 Steel Belt

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    Where can you find this flick?

    I tried to rent it on Amazon but no dice.
     
  6. europe1 It´s a nice peninsula to Asia

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    I watched it on Conspiracy-tube.;)

    A ton of movies are uploaded over there.

    https://www.bitchute.com (can't link site without embedding a video it looks like. But just search Long Good Friday and it'll come up.)

     
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  7. HARRISON_3 Steel Belt

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    Gracias, dude
     
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  8. Yotsuya Purple Belt

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    Not much else to say as you covered most of it, but even though I agree that the movie really comes together during the last third, I also think that when you start getting the whole picture the first two acts start to make sense more. The overall style of the movie goes very well with the posh upstart gangsterism and the shaky old world arrogance that goes with it. Last shot of Harold taking it all in is just brilliant as his illusion of his crime empire as one of the bastions of old British greatness crumbles, but he's keeping it stoic as a true Englishman non the less.

    It was actually "these people deserve better than having dogshit on their doorsteps", with "people" referring to the white folks like the kids he nostalgically paid off and the "dogshit" to the immigrants he got agitated about earlier.
     
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  9. moreorless87 Straba

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    Part of the reason the film is relatively well known is that its pretty significant, it didnt just launch Hoskin's and to a lesser degree Mirren's careers it was also a bit of a rebirth of native british funded cinema(by George Harrison's Handmade films also behind the likes of Life of Brian, Time Bandits, Mona Lisa and Withnail and I) which was on its knees in the 60's and 70's with the british film industry basically becoming an extension of Hollywood.

    it was pretty perceptive as to the future as well, Margret Thatcher had only just become PM when it was shot yet it picks up on that ambitiouis but classless nouveau riche mindset of the 80's and indeed predicts the redevolpment of the London docklands which at that stage was I'd imagine mostly just at the planning stage.

    Its a bit different to The Cook, The Thief, His Wife and Her Lover at the other end of the decade though in that its the nouveau riche character as the protagonist. Whilst he obviously isnt morally white Harold is alot more likeble than Gambon's Albert(although I spose I'd struggle to think of someone less likeble) and the story does end up as more of a tale of a mans inability to rise above his background, that the bright shining 80's future isnt ultimately for the likes of Harold Shand.

    I'd agree its not really the tighest plot you will see, mostly interesting in setting the scene and leaving little hints as to whats going on before we actually find out. Really good cast all the way though for me though as with alot of british films of the era there was so much talent waiting to be picked up on.
     
    Last edited: Nov 10, 2020
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  10. Yotsuya Purple Belt

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    I thought there was something cooking with the swimming hall manager. Maybe he was Irish or at least been paid off/threatened by IRA?
     

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