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I'd never even heard of this film when glitzfrau texted me late yesteday afternoon to say that she and biascut were going to see it that evening at the Cottage Road cinema, and did I want to come along? But I'm glad I went, because it was great fun.

Set on the eve of the Second World War, it's a bit like a female version of Jeeves and Wooster, right down to the slashy sub-text. The only difference is that the Jeeves-figure (Miss Pettigrew) is merely pretending to be an accomplished social secretary - but still does a great job of getting the Bertie-figure (Delysia Lafosse) out of all sorts of terrible scrapes all the same. Oh, and they both end up forging meaningful heterosexual relationships at the end - which very carefully never happens in Jeeves and Wooster!

There's all the humour and costume rompery of J&W, too, including some extremely beautiful bias-cut gowns, and an apartment which reminded me so strongly of some of the designer boudoirs featured in this book that it felt like stepping inside its lavishly-illustrated pages. Also, Shirley Henderson (Ursula in Who's 'Love and Monsters' and Moaning Myrtle in the HP films) and Ciarán Hinds (Julius Caesar, yo!). And the Bechdel test is an easy pass, since most of the film revolves around a female-female relationship - and although they certainly talk about men plenty, they do talk about frocks and parties and their own career paths, too. All in all, much to be recommended.

Afterwards, we headed back to my place and invented our own cocktail - vodka, Cointreau, pomegranate and blueberry juice and a dash of lime - which we named the Miss Pettigrew in honour of the film, and then stayed up late chatting and giggling. Then, under the influence of said cocktail, it seemed like a good idea to clamber up dangerous steps and across rotting wooden platforms in the pitch dark, to get huge wardrobe boxes out of the shed and send them home with Glitzy and La Bias in a taxi.

How'm I supposed to manage when they both move over to Manchester, eh?


( 18 comments — Leave a comment )
Aug. 24th, 2008 02:52 pm (UTC)
And I knew I'd seen her in an The Taming of the Shrew!

Thank you for boxes and cocktails galore! Pls come and see Mancunian Culchah with us soon.
Aug. 24th, 2008 03:03 pm (UTC)
You're welcome, and I certainly will!
Aug. 24th, 2008 03:32 pm (UTC)
This was one of the first Persephone books I came across - now I know the film has Ciaran Hinds in it, I'll definitely make an effort to go and see it! (Rome FTW!)
Aug. 24th, 2008 03:51 pm (UTC)
Oh, thanks for the link - that looks like a very interesting series. Any others you would particularly recommend? Fairly inevitably, since their aim is to rediscover lost classics, I've only heard of about 20% of their authors.
Aug. 24th, 2008 05:17 pm (UTC)
I've fallen a little behind on them recently, but of the earlier ones, I'd strongly recommend their very first reprint, William: An Englishman, by Cicely Hamilton. A genuine classic.

All that I've bought have been perfectly readable; ones I thought particularly good include The Home-Maker by Dorothy Canfield Fisher; either of the two volumes of short stories by Mollie Panter-Downes; and Little Boy Lost by Marghanita Laski.

You might also be interested in their single SF novel, The Hopkins Manuscript by RC Sherriff (he of the WW1 play Journey's End). They're also beautifully produced (each one has an inside cover selected from a fabric or textile from the period of the book), and they are a joy to handle and read.

BTW, thank you for recommending The Magic Toyshop: I waved it under mraltariel's nose following your rec (he's very picky about what he reads these days), and he's loving it.

Edited at 2008-08-24 05:17 pm (UTC)
Aug. 24th, 2008 05:33 pm (UTC)
Ah, thanks - that's a great little hit-list to have. Rest assured I shall be returning to it at some point. And glad to hear mraltariel is enjoyed The Moving Toyshop.
Aug. 24th, 2008 04:44 pm (UTC)
Oh, don't make me cry! I'm not sure what I'll do without you when I'm gone, either! But I will keep my upper lip stiff, flounce about in silk crepe de chine, and down a good deal of champagne from schooners, I promise.
Aug. 24th, 2008 05:41 pm (UTC)
Waaaiiillll!!! But we will survive, and the trans-Pennine train line will help us.
Aug. 24th, 2008 05:50 pm (UTC)
It was released a while ago here in the States but I never made it to see it - it's on my Netflix list, though. Apparently, according to the lovely Women's Hour program, it's based on a book by the same title, and has been adapted only a smidge - I'm feeling quite keen on chasing both the book and the film down after what I've heard!
Aug. 24th, 2008 07:08 pm (UTC)
According to altariel (see comment thread above), the book is available in the Persephone series.
Aug. 24th, 2008 06:58 pm (UTC)
That looks like a very enjoyable film. Shirley Henderson is great. Have you seen the Irish film Intermission (2003).? She and Colm Meaney have excellent roles in it, and Colin Farrell is even tolerable.
Aug. 24th, 2008 07:10 pm (UTC)
No, but have just checked it out on IMDb, and it looks like fun. I'm really getting to like Shirley Henderson (now I've found out who she is!), so thanks for the rec.
Aug. 24th, 2008 07:48 pm (UTC)
I heart this entry, and it makes me miss all three of you! xx
Aug. 24th, 2008 10:10 pm (UTC)
Aw, bless. :-)
Aug. 24th, 2008 09:29 pm (UTC)
right down to the slashy sub-text

Oh dear, I'm never going to think of the phrase "I endeavour to give satisfaction, sir" in the same way again.

But thanks for the rec.
Aug. 24th, 2008 10:11 pm (UTC)
Hehe - if the thought scares you, you might want to give the community indeedsir a wide berth! ;-)
Aug. 25th, 2008 02:28 pm (UTC)
I saw it last week and thought it was lovely though my aunt said it was sentimental nonsense. We're both right :-) There's a place for sentimental nonsense, particularly with such gorgeous clothes.

I have such a huge crush on Shirley Henderson! She manages to look vulnerable, sexy, sophisticated and bitchy all at once.
Aug. 25th, 2008 05:48 pm (UTC)
Yes, she does! I didn't know her name before I saw her in this film, but I'll be looking out for her now.
( 18 comments — Leave a comment )

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