Home > Feeling this, Uncategorized > “Portobello Road”, from Bedknobs and Broomsticks (1971)

“Portobello Road”, from Bedknobs and Broomsticks (1971)

Because it’s Bank Holiday Monday, and this is probably the finest Bank Holiday movie imaginable. It was also the favoured flick of IchLugeBullets between the ages of seven and twelve, when Pulp Fiction overtook it in our affections. Realest of talk: Bedknobs and Broomsticks, despite its obvious failing (ie, the eldest son from the movie, with the mod haircut and market stall accent, is an unlikeable prick), smokes the hell out of all Tarantino movies ever, and there’s a strong argument for it being the best non-Pixar movie in history. This was always my favourite scene from it. Further thoughts after the jump.

  1. I appreciate that nothing is lamer than trying to “read subtext” into children’s cartoons or television shows, and the “haha, they were all on drugs/having sex with each other/were paedos” style of comment on these shows is a style of comedy best left to student-focused irritants like Russell Howard, but… those are two prostitutes approaching him at 1:14, right? I totally missed that subtext as a kid.
  2. I mean, I dunno if this film had that great an impact on me, as, to this day, I’ve never got a bone-on over Angela Lansbury. Maybe my proud socialist beliefs make it impossible considering who her grandfather was.
  3. Fantastic comedy Jewish accent from the “waddya thank ay am, a raddy wast papper machant?” dude who, as you’ll probably recognise from his voice, later went on to find fame and fortune in professional football and now currently manages Fulham.
  4. Wait, is that Bruce Forsythe? I think that’s Bruce Forsythe.
  5. It’s always nice for a swing band of GIs to turn up, but it’s vaguely annoying seeing them in a movie set in London, as it deprives one of the classic ability to mention to people from Norfolk that their grandmother spent the entire 1941-1945 period on her knees in front of a man called “Chip” or “Buck”, swallowing cum for gravy granules. Apparently, these antics were not just marginalised to mustard country, but rather the the entire UK. Why not trying bringing it up with nan at the next family dinner get-together?
  6. Gay dancing sailors, always good.
  7. I think Bedknobs and Broomsticks may actually be the first movie, or at least the first mainstream one, to have acknowledged the great role Indian soldiers played in World War II. Indian soldiers fought at some of the most important WWII battles, including both scraps at El-Alamein and the barney at Monte Cassino, and 80,000 Indian troops lost their lives. Indeed, no country outside of the UK received as many Victoria Cross medals in WWII as India, with 30 being taken home. Admittedly, the movie pays them tribute by showing them dancing like twats, but take what you can get says I.
  8. Gay dancing Scotsmen, always good.
  9. I do love how the Jamaican women, who are somehow in this scene despite there being absolutely no history of Caribbean emigration to the UK before the Windrush, are dressed like bog-standard 1960s Motown types, presumably as the directors couldn’t be bothered to find out how black women dressed during the war. Is that a young Patrick Trueman playing one of the drums? He’s a sly one.
  10. I actually went to the real Portobello Road a few weeks back. There was no entertaining singing and dancing from a wide variety of ethnic cultures and some cheeky but lovable Cockney scamps, but instead, a large number of Japanese art students. Well done all involved.
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