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photography and film – facts, ideas, values

FILM DIRECTOR Alain Resnais : Married in Scarborough, Mocked in Steptoe and Son






FILM Alain Resnais [camera eyepiece]
Alain Resnais 1922-2014




Yet another case of why write about a film director who just died, when there are probably thousands of very good articles to enjoy and learn from of. Much better use of time. Whaddayaknow already? Night and Fog, Hiroshima Mon Amur, Marienbad. Careful, spell checkers tend to give marinaded..


Alain Resnais 1922 – 2014 by David Hudson March 2, 2014


was the first longish one I came across with lots of links that seemed might do the job of filling in the gaps.


So what’s with the Married in Scarborough, mocked in Steptoe and Son?


David Thompson in


Alain Resnais, 1922-2014 [BFI, March 2014]

–Married in Scarborough, mocked on Steptoe and Son: the most unpredictable of the French New Wave directors mixed high intellectualism and irreverence.


brought that to my attention. Hard to resist it. And a potentially tortuous explanation of Steptoe to a Frenchman in a bar. Even harder, Ayckbourn: “Resnais..”, “Aah, oui..”, “Scarborough…” “Et bah dis donc!”. For Brits, the Steptoe and Son Resnais gag is very easy to imagine (even if we never saw that one). Can’t find a video anywhere. Harold with cravat, smoking jacket of dubious origin, leaning against a fireplace, (which is perhaps itself just learning there..), doing his best to be refined (all in the hope of pulling of course..), but meeting with snarling mockery from Albert.

Scarborough might cause a momentary hesitation. But what else could it be but Alan Ayckbourn? Read Thompson and a lot is revealed.

This 2007 Guardian piece, J’adore Scarborough, by Stuart Jeffries, almost a Resnais meets Ayckbourn told by Alan Bennett, tells us even more. What it misses, as it would, is the final Resnais film based on Ayckbourn’s The Life of Riley, which ends up as Aimer, boire et chanter, released 3 weeks before he died, making it the third film he based on Ayckbourn plays.

Night and Fog is on YouTube. But not necessarily easy to find the bits. It’s only 30 minutes long. For those whose memory is a bit misty, it’s Night and Fog [Resnais 1955], The Sorrow and the Pity [Marcel Ophüls 1969] and Shoah [Claude Lanzmann 1985].

P.S. I’ve watched Marienbad twice and am still none the wiser, but it’s a work of art. [cop-out #36]



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March 7, 2014 - Posted by | Alain Resnais | , , ,

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