Sunday, 01 September 2013 18:10

The Man Who Haunted Himself

/The Man Who Haunted Himself 1.
©Words Matteo Sedazzari

Made in 1969, released in 1970, this film was written and directed by Basil Dearden (The Blue Lamp, Violent Playground, Victim) a seasoned and talented director, a great story teller of the screen with many of his features focusing on outsiders and people alienated by society, who began his career directing the great comic genius Will Hay. Anyone familiar with Will Hay, the British comedian of the 30’s and the 40’s, will recall that much of Hay’s comedy is him struggling in the world, whilst keeping a smile on his face.
Published in Film Archive
The Perfect Friday Stanley Baker.2.jp

© Words Matteo Sedazzari
The Perfect Friday (1971 Directed by Peter Hall, co-produced by Stanley Baker)

Friday is a nice day, the week draws to a close, and many of us plan a pursuit of happiness and excitement, away from the mundane routine of work. And that is certainly the case for Mr Graham (Stanley Baker), a deputy bank manager, in a pin striped suit and bowler hat, with a sergeant major type moustache working at a plush branch in London’s Hyde Park, single and on the surface dull and happy to oblige his employers and clients.  
Published in Film Archive
Cliff Twemlow  The Orson Welles of Salford .j

© Words - CP Lee

In 1993 a man called Cliff Twemlow passed away. When he died at the age of 55 a whole mini-film industry died with him. But Cliff didn’t only just make films, he wrote the plots, scored the music for them and starred in them too. Oh, and he wrote paperback pulp novels as well. And before he made his own movies he wrote a couple of thousand tunes that were recorded and put out by DeWolfe Music. And he was a night club bouncer.
Published in Film Archive
Good VibrationsTerri Hooley ZANI 1

The cinema release of Good Vibrations is perfect timing in many ways. With the UK struggling economically and creatively, coupled with the British gangster film which has seriously run its course.  Please, no more films with the thug narrative telling us a tale of greed, blood etc. etc.  So it is refreshing to have a film that focuses on a man, his passion, his achievements and failures and his sanity against a harsh political and social backdrop. All based on the life of Northern Ireland’s Godfather of Punk, Terri Hooley ,founder of the Good Vibrations record shop and record label in the late seventies.
Published in Film Archive


                                                                      The Early Years

When critics discuss the movies James Fox starred in during the ’60s and early ’70s, his co-stars often seem to overshadow him. This is somewhat understandable since Fox’s greatest films from that period feature amazing talents from the decade such as actor Dirk Bogarde and musician Mick Jagger, but James Fox is an extremely talented actor who possessed the uncanny ability to brilliantly portray young men of various backgrounds wrestling with their sexual identity and social class as the sexual revolution of the ’60s was still taking shape.
Published in Film Archive


Brian Clemens is quite possibly Britain's greatest screenwriter. The man behind TV classic like The Avengers, Thriller and The Professionals and movies like Captain Kronos Vampire Hunter, The Tell Tale Heart and a firm ZANI favourite And Soon THE Darkness.

Read the full interview on

http://www.zani.co.uk/brian-clemens-creator-of-the-professionals-and-much-more-talks-to-zani
Published in Film Archive
Monday, 15 October 2012 20:26

Slade in Flame.



At the height of their popularity in 1974, their then manager, Chas Chandler (former bass player of The Animals and former manager of Jimi Hendrix), suggested Slade do a film. Perhaps trying to emulate the success of The Beatles with A Hard Day's Night and Help at the height of Beatlemania, it seemed a logical step that The Black Country's answer to Merseyside's Fab Four should follow suit.
Published in Film Archive
/brian clemens sedazzari zani 44.

It is one o'clock in the morning, you are restless with eyes wide open and your once familiar and safe bedroom now seems like an unknown place as the shadow of the wardrobe towers over you. Suddenly the silence of the night is broken when you hear a creak on the stairs, it startles you, but you reassure yourself that it's the water pipes, and then hear it again but this time it's louder. Like a scared child you pull the duvet over your head, as the anxiety kicks in, as the creak becomes thunderously loud drawing nearer.....
Published in Film Archive
Monday, 06 August 2012 19:49

Dixon of Dock Green

dixon of dock green matteo sedazzari zani 1

Acorn Media UK has released six episodes of the hugely successful BBC's TV show Dixon of Dock Green. Prior to becoming a TV series, PC George Dixon (Jack Warner) was a character in an Ealing Film, The Blue Lamp (1950), where Dixon was shot and killed by the distressed and naïve criminal Tom Riley (Dirk Bogarde). Dixon was a kind hearted and conscientious copper, patrolling the streets of Paddington London, and just about to retire from the police force, before his murder. A subplot used by Hollywood many times. It was paramount that the British public had warmed to Dixon and his demonstrative ways. Yet he was shrewd and did not suffer fools gladly. Hence his own TV show with a move to East London; which ran from 1955 to 1976.
Published in Film Archive
/sex and drugs and rock and roll dave cairns zani 2.j

I first saw Ian Dury as Kilburn and The High Roads back in 1975 at the North East London Poly in Walthamstow, which held regular gigs in the main hall from the hippy acts of the day; Gong, Soft Machine, Hawkwind, String Driven Thing to pub rock scene favourites Ducks Deluxe, Ace, The Kursaal Flyers, Brinsley Schwartz and Dr Feelgood with John Peel as resident DJ.

I remember thinking how good his band were but what a strange character he was, dragging himself across the stage in a leg calliper dressed in his trademark  Crombie and silk scarf and using the mike stand as a crutch, and thinking ‘this bloke can’t really sing but he’s got some serious attitude’.

A lot has been made of the 70’s pub rock scene, but it’s no wonder Punk Rock wiped it out, because there were so few bands with any real balls or passion. Only Dr Feelgood would fall into that category and I guess Ian Dury and a few others.

After Malcolm McLaren had dreamed up and  launched The Sex Pistols and his mate Bernie Rhodes did the same with The Clash- featuring of course Joe Strummer from the pub rockers The 101’rs- a lot of the  clever muso bands or simply older good players (successful or otherwise) ran for cover. Whilst others donned the motorbike jackets and plastic trousers, dyed their hair peroxide blonde giving us the excellent Stranglers, The Only Ones and The Vibrators, followed by the likes of Elvis Costello, Nick Lowe and Ian Dury & The Blockheads on Stiff Records. So I was delighted to see him crack it with the album ‘New Boots and Panties’, in fact I recall being in a Brighton hotel overlooking the seafront, drinking into the small hours with The Jam, and drummer Rick Buckler wouldn’t stop playing the album until the sun came up, so I got to know it rather well. Dury was truly London’s original Punkfather.

The film is a bit of a sad affair to be honest, and a real warts ‘n’ all, but highly stylised and brilliantly directed by  Mat Whitecross .Having read extracts of the new biography and interviews with his son I could see how cleverly this had been scripted and with great casting and performances all round. A lot centres around Ian’s miserable institutionalised childhood stricken with Polio and how it coloured his life, the early chaotic days of the band, the fights, the sackings, his strained relationship with his first wife and how life on the road and his music made him an errant and rather selfish father to his son. We see some creative moments of genius between Ian and his long suffering right hand man and co-writer, Chas Jankel, and some live performance moments faithfully recreated-but not nearly enough for me. His clever blend of simple word play and rhyming, cheeky chappy cockney slang and hilarious observations on working class life spoken in a rap style, put to a soft funk backing, was unique then-although Chas ‘n’ Dave had made their name doing much the same but in a music hall ‘knees up mother brown’ kind of way-and you hear his influence in so many acts these days; think Blur and the ‘posh mockney set’ Lily Allen and Kate Nash.

But as he continually yo-yos between wife and lover, and drags his son through the mire, Ian appears to let success get to his head, hits the self destruct button and let’s his lynchpin and musical partner Chas walk off in frustration. Of course the music slips as he tries to go it alone and by the time Chas comes back the moment, sadly, has gone.

There is a priceless segment on his involvement with the International Year of The Disabled and how splendidly he pisses everyone off with the song ‘Spasticus Austisticus’ a cathartic trip back to the institution that robbed him of his childhood, which the politically correct were appalled by and it was subsequently banned by the BBC . What did they expect- a soppy ballad?

The film then seems to end rather abruptly and doesn’t attempt to cover his decline into ill health and his untimely death from cancer at the age of 57. Nor does it touch on his extensive charity work for UNICEF, which was a bit puzzling and a little unfair I thought, but I’m sure there were reasons for that.

This stylish biopic comes across as a very honest portrayal and doesn’t pull any punches (borne out by comments from his son Baxter) but a little too hard on the man, as I’m sure anyone who suffered the way he did could be forgiven for being more than a little bitter at the cards he’d been dealt in life.

I wondered off down the Holloway Road humming Ian Dury’s ‘What A Waste’ -a sad omission from the soundtrack.

How apt.

© Words - Dave Cairns/ ZANI Ltd
Published in Film Archive
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ZANI was conceived in late 2008 and the fan base gradually grew by word of mouth. Key contributors came from those of the music, film and fashion industry and the voice of ZANI grew louder. So, when in 2013 investor, contributor and fan of ZANI Alan McGee* offered his support to help restyle and relaunch the site it was inevitable that traffic would increase dramatically and continues to grow. *Alan McGee co-founder of Creation Records and new label 359 Music..

 

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ZANI is an independent online magazine for readers interested in contemporary culture, covering Music, Film & TV, Sport, Art amongst other cultural topics. Relevant to modern times ZANI is a dynamic website and a flagship for creative movement and thinking wherever our readers live in the world.