Monday, February 17, 2014

Midweek Matinee: Dean Spanley



"When the dream dreams you, rather than the other way around."

Let's see...how can I motivate you, get you to watch one of the most remarkable movies I've ever seen. A movie that opened in 2007, and slipped away, virtually unnoticed and unmentioned.

It's based on a tale by Lord Dunsany, who lived from 1878-1957, and published more than 80 books, plays, and stories. He's described as a Fantastist, and as I pretty much loathe fantasy, that description wouldn't have worked for me, and it may not work for you, either.

And to summarize the plot would do the wonder of it all a disservice.

The movie stars Peter O'Toole, Sam Neill, Bryan Brown, and Jeremy Northam, and explores the actual and emotional power and submission of masters, parents, servants, children and animals. Loss, humor, friendship, death, and future possibilities. The forces of freedom versus belonging, the equal beauty we find and wrenching price we pay whether we choose instinct over civilization, or civilization over instinct. And how, when an emotion is left, unaccepted, it will dominate a life.

The dialog is Britishfully witty -- you know, the way the best Brit artists blow both cool and warm. Be warned, the last third of the movie will break your heart.

The trailer doesn't reveal much, but here it is. (The movie streams on Netflix, maybe you can get it on Amazon.)

"It's only the closed mind that is certain."


41 comments:

  1. I missed this one! In fact, I've never heard of it. Based on your opinion of it, I will probably check it out.

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  2. Sold! It's queued up and ready to watch tomorrow while I await the next round of snow. I never pass up an enthusiastic recommendation ~

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  3. Yes, Sharon! And after you see it, circle back here so we can talk about it. So many things to say.

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  4. Your recommendation is all I need -- I'll add this movie to the top of my netflix queue and watch it pronto! Shocking that I haven't heard anything about this movie either. Thanks for spreading the word!

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  5. One of my all time favorites. You just know they enjoyed themselves during the making of.

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  6. Oh, excellent. I'm itching for a conversation.

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  7. Added to my list.

    How did you find it?

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  8. A friend suggested it. In fact, demanded that I watch it. The cast alone was reason enough, but the story and the words, totally unexpected. I think the only way this film gets around is word of mouth.

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  9. British drama, British writing . . . British ACTING . . .

    Seems the DVD's not available, but I'll just get the download. The trailer is compelling.

    Thanks for another mind-opener.

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  10. I've added it to my list, also; I'm another who's never heard of it. Are you getting commissions for all of these signers-up? Because you should, really, since we're all going on your say-so (except for Paula, who must have an inside track to British movies).

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  11. Nope, no commissions, I promise; more's the pity.

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  12. How did I ever miss this? I thought I'd seen everything with O'Toole in it. Guess not. Yay! something to look forward to.

    In return, here is my recent favorite….Nebraska. It's out on dvd.

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  13. Karin, I've never heard about this movie before that my friend Naomi, from Here in the Hills, did a review on her blog praising it. And now you also express admiration to "Dean Spanley". Then I will rent it for sure! Thanks for the recommendation.

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  14. I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this film. It is a True GEM! And everyone in it is superb---Particularly, Peter O'Toole, who should have won the Oscar for this amazing and fantastic performance.

    I discovered this film aver a year ago, purely by accident---i wrote about it on my blog, and like you, felt I couldn't say enough about it to tell people not to miss this beautiful experience.
    Why this film fell through the cracks is beyond my understanding!!!!
    I'm so happy you stopped by to tell me what you feel. I cannot express how special I think this film is....I repeat: A TRUE TRUE GEM!!!!

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  15. Incidentally...it is available on DVD. AMAZON.com....I have bought it three times---giving two as gifts to people who I knew would really love it and keeping one for myself. But it's good to know you can see it on Netflix, too!

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  16. Yeah, what you said about emotions denied. I can't give it away, but it may be obvious to some from the beginning if one pays attention. It should, for the actors collaborative skill and generosity alone. I'll just say it has a universal appeal - made me tear up.

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  17. The unfolding and unfolding of a story -- it was a revelation to me.

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  18. Today I intended to watch again just enough to capture certain quotes and instead watched it through until the end. Brilliant storytelling from which I gleaned even more the second time, most importantly to follow my instincts when connections are made, especially when the path is unfamiliar. I think now the younger Fisk showed courage in his intention to pursue the story. "It is a commonplace observation that remarkable events often have ordinary beginnings."

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  19. I suddenly have that urge to chase sheep...

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  20. What a great cast! Pity the Weinstein Brothers didn't adopt it. These smaller movies are so good, yet for some reason don't get distributed and promoted. The names may put people off seeing it, though. Any ideas for a better title?

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  21. Sorry, that should have been name. As in Dean Spanley. I would have mistaken it for a religious movie.

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  22. Yeah, Bellis, I was thinking they just couldn't figure out how to market it as the movie is so singular. But it seems the O'Toole factor alone should have sold tickets. (And I liked this far more than Venus.)

    I'm so glad you liked it, Sharon. Yes, and now I've seen it more than, er, once.

    Lock up the rabbits, Paula.

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  23. I watched Dean Spanley again last night and this time, watching O'Toole's body when he is saying goodbye to Spanley, the way he embraces his age physically even after he's been transported back to that tragic moment in his boyhood, well, I had to rewind and watch it again.

    I've always liked Jeremy Northam (who I always confuse with Julian Wadham) and is there nothing Judy Parfitt can't play?

    About the sheep: despite the fact that I'm far too familiar with the cruelty routinely inflicted upon house rabbits I still believe in the natural order of things in the wild - even though it did make me throw up in my mouth a little.

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  24. My dog had a Wag moment, ran after and killed a sheep when we were up in Northern California, walking on a bluff next to the ocean. Wrote about it somewhere, because it was such a primal moment, rather horrifying and beautiful at the same time.

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  25. And you're right about Judy Parfitt. In fact, as Bandit said, there is such perfect balance between all the actors.

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  26. I'm surprised I haven't heard of it before now. Must look it up and watch.

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  27. sweet sweet sweet, I fell in love with this movie and its promises a few years ago

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  28. My dear,

    Finally, this afternoon I was afforded the time to view this film. I did this via Google Play for $2.99. How silly I was to presume rental was the way to go when a recommendation such as this comes from you. I will now have to purchase this DVD, only because I cannot live without it.

    It has everything imaginable in the story and in every frame of absolutely stunning to the core in art direction. That is just the eye candy part for me, since I am a lover of perveyors and of the era... English furnishings and men's attire of the period, as well.

    Then there is Peter O'toole and grief. Grief. The film is categorized as a comedy and I suppose it is, to some. I wept. I wept at the face of openess in Peter O'Toole and the loveliness of it.

    Thank you, Karin, What a joy this is. Truly. It is a treasure. I must share it at the Castle Green. There are certain friends there whose hearts will surelly swell upon its viewing. Storytelling is healing.

    With great appreciation,

    Wag

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  29. Yes, owning is the way to go. Don't tell anyone, Dianne, but I've watched it five times in the past month. I can't get enough of it.

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  30. What is going on? I can't find a NTSC format DVD only Brit PAL or in Scandanavian or in Italian.

    I found one for USA. The $14 list price is crossed out and the new price is $82.

    Push on, Young Fisk.

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  31. I see it for 9.99 on Amazon. http://www.amazon.com/Dean-Spanley-Jeremy-Northam/dp/B0088B9X88/ref=sr_1_fkmr1_1_vod_1_pur?ie=UTF8&qid=1394384761&sr=8-1-fkmr1&keywords=conversations+with+dean+spanley

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  32. 00:56:18 Well, frightened things smell frightened.

    00:56:22 I've smelled many frightened things.

    00:56:25 Cats, elderly ladies, children, rabbits.

    00:56:28 They all smell of being frightened. It's a wonderful smell.

    00:56:32 You mean... old ladies smell the same as rabbits when they're frightened?

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  33. I barked my most enormous bark, and made myself very huge, but he was not afraid, and said so.

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  34. Watched the movie last night and LOVED it! The cast was amazing, the language delightful, and the story was so very unexpected and moving. Yes bummer that it wasn't marketed better when it came out, but thank you so much for doing your part and getting word out to us. Looking forward to watching it again soon!

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  35. You dirty dog!
    Had me bawling on a mid-week eventide.
    Hugs from the anteroom of eternity.

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  36. Lovely movie, thanks for suggesting it. I am an avid movie watcher but didn't hear about it. Indeed, it fell through the cracks.

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  37. So glad you liked it. Guess the best we can do is get the word out, to one movie-lover at a time.

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