Tuesday, 26 January 2010

Mad Max in Midlife

My dear daughter #1, newly 4 years old, is in a phase where Her Absolute Indispensable Favourite Film has passed seamlessly from Mary Poppins to The Sound of Music. As such, her cinematic tastes have reached 1965, and she has learned why Julie Andrews – nee Julia Wells of Walton-on-Thames – was in her heyday the world’s biggest box-office draw: namely, because she was clean-limbed and fresh-faced, apparently unsullied, she sang well, and could even manage to act a bit while singing. Perhaps one day I will be forced to explain to Cordelia why Julia from Walton-on-Thames then married the increasingly vulgar Blake Edwards, watched her career decline none too gracefully, and felt the strange need to disrobe in a dismal picture called S.O.B. Eh bien, I guess that Cordi and I might yet manage to sit together through a viewing of Julie's one other hit, Thoroughly Modern Millie...
Before Cordi met Julie, i.e. last summer, she had a big thing for Babe The Pig, and this Christmas she seemed to approve of Mumbles the Penguin in Happy Feet. It was with great surprise that I discovered these works to be the brainchildren of Australian director George Miller, the affable and cerebral ex-doctor who did the boys a big favour by packing in medicine, getting some mates together in 1979 and making Mad Max.
Now then, when I was 10 years old my own Absolute Indispensable Favourite Film was Mad Max, and by the time I turned 11 it was Mad Max 2 (or The Road Warrior, as it was known in the US where few people outside of drive-ins had turned out for Mad Max.) Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome duly followed in 1985, a let-down that showed Miller was a mite too inclined to the Jungian analysis of mythology popularised by Joseph Campbell.
Now the internet churns daily with reports of progress on Miller’s fourth Max picture, Fury Road, due for our screens in 2011, Tom Hardy taking the wheel from that villainous old soak Mel Gibson. Is Miller too old for this sort of thing now? Am I?

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