Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Dan the Man

Aside

Years ago I was captivated by a Titania (Midsummernight’s Dream) with the most amazing facial bone structure. Decades later I saw the same face but this time it was a young man in a strange film- ‘My beautiful Launderette’. The young man was Daniel Day Lewis and I discovered that the girl was his mother Jill Balcon, who in turn was the daughter of Michael Balcon, who owned and ran the Ealing Studios in their hey day. Daniel’s father was Cecil Day Lewis – poet laureate, and Daniel’s wife is the daughter of the late Arthur Miller – distinguished Playwright.

You’d have to be pretty special to live up to a family of that ilk and Dan is – pretty special. So one would expect nothing less than the bravura performance he gives as Daniel Plainview in ‘There will be blood’ and today I hear he has received his well deserved Oscar. Yes - this was the film we chose to see on our disappointing Saturday. My first choice was ‘La vie en Rose’ but it was the wrong day. I still wish we had seen it; I didn’t really enjoy ‘There will be blood.’ It wasn’t just the violence – ‘No country for old men’ was even more so and I rated that highly.

Daniel plays a vicious monster dominating every frame and most of the characters are liars, cheats and hypocrites. MTL thought he sounded like Sean Connery but to me it was pure (if you’ll pardon the expression) John Huston. Close your eye and listen – if you are old enough to remember. The film moves along at a reasonable pace although there was one long close up on the beach when I found myself trying to distinguish between the character’s nose hair and his moustache. There is some beautiful orchestral music along with a weird angry bees buzzing sound which made me think of the yelping music Hitchcock used ‘Psycho’ so maybe it will catch on.

One thing puzzles me. When I was a teenager I read ‘Oil ‘by Upton Sinclair and all I remember of it was when I read the babies were thrown, by the Reds, into the scalding water. I even mentioned it in a blog a year or so ago. Did I imagine it or am I muddling it with something else. Certainly there was nothing like it in the film. Thankfully. Well done Daniel!

11 comments:

kenju said...

I have not read it, Pat, nor have I seen either movie you mention. Jill Balcon was very attractive and so is her son, although more so in this photo than on the Oscars last Sunday.

PI said...

Judy: I deliberately chose one showing his youthful beauty to illustrate the likeness to his mother around the same age. He can look quite ravaged - can't we all?

OldOldLady Of The Hills said...

The Heritage of these two people...DD Lewis and Rebeccca Miller, is quite extrordinary. She is very very talented, too...A very gifted Actress, Writer and Director....! They make quite the couple, don't they?
I didn't realize that his Grandad started Ealing Studios....I Love That! And I had heard about his father, but not his mother! So thank you for that, Pat.

Why did I think that "There Will Be Blood" was about The Doheny Family?? I need to read up about this to see where I got that from....!

R. Sherman said...

Yet another movie I have to see. Instead, I'm too busy with end-of-season girls basketball tournaments. Oh well. There's always DVD.

Cheers.

Shane said...

On Saturday, a friend suggested that DDL had over-acted in the final 20-30 minutes of 'There Will Be Blood'. I haven't seen the film.
On Sunday, DDL won the Oscar for 'TWBB'.
So life goes.

PI said...

NAOMI: I think we are all a bit confused about 'There will be blood.'
Not least myself having misremembered 'Oil' and the director has added to the confusion by changing the story, but that's his prerogative I suppose.
Dan also has a very talented sister who is a chef or at least writes cook books.

PI said...

Randall: Oh I haven't put you off? I much preferred 'No country for old men.' If you see them both please let me know what you think.

Shane: IMO your friend is not a million miles from the truth. Bravura type acting, as in Olivier, doesn't always touch the heart. Now John Gielgud could make my hair stand on end - on stage that is.

Kath said...

I will admit, I had the biggest crush on Daniel Day when Last of the Mohicans came out. Sigh...

PI said...

Kath: I won't tell Royal:)

Nea said...

The Last of the Mohicans...
still makes me cry. I didn't realise until today that Dan was from this side of the pond, I must get out more!

PI said...

Nea: looks like you and Kath have something in common - but I do wish he wouldn't wear two gold earrings.