“The Hearing Trumpet,” by Leonora Carrington

Novel, 1974 A blast of a novel, which promises a little more than it delivers, perhaps, although there are flashes of crazy playfulness and sinister goings on along the way. It’s hard to follow what should be a pretty easy thread of a narrative; of an old woman being committed to an old persons’ home-cum-asylum, but there are a number of asides which hang heavily, … Continue reading “The Hearing Trumpet,” by Leonora Carrington

“When I Whistle”, by Shūsaku Endō

Novel, 1974 The story of a moderately successful businessman and his ruthlessly ambitious son, who’s learning his trade as a doctor. This is a story of social power, ceilings and ambition, as well as a generations, love and loyalties. These grand themes are moved along with a skillful poise in extremely accessible, flowing writing, which builds and keeps delivering. A powerful, enduring read, in which … Continue reading “When I Whistle”, by Shūsaku Endō

“Spasmo,” directed by Umberto Lenzi

Movie, 1974 Partially successful Giallo in which some wooden acting and off-putting camera work just about comes off second best to some striking images and a twisting plot which seems a little bodged together, but is almost the better for it. Surreal touches and outdoor settings makes this perhaps a little less confined and bloody than other films of the genre. While this isn’t a … Continue reading “Spasmo,” directed by Umberto Lenzi

"The Prisoner of Second Avenue", directed by Melvin Frank

Movie, 1974 Comedy about power and work relations in a married couple suddenly exposed to economic hardship. Some excellent acting and a few decent scenes, although this film rather skates over some hefty issues in a way which suggests there’s no problem with, say, metal illness. Things feel a little rushed and insubstantial as a result, although the film’s perfectly entertaining if you can look … Continue reading "The Prisoner of Second Avenue", directed by Melvin Frank

"Young Frankenstein", directed Mel Brooks

Movie, 1974 Broad affectionate parody of Universal Horror films, with silly gags which feel both of their time and still worthy of a good chuckle, as Wilder, Feldman and co go through their paces. This is also a terrific looking film, wonderfully recreating the atmosphere of the setting of the original movies, nowhere more so than in the village and villager scenes, most ably led … Continue reading "Young Frankenstein", directed Mel Brooks

"Nada", directed Claude Chabrol

Thriller, 1974 Political kidnap thriller in which the politics are never really made explicit and are pushed out in favour of some fairly poorly realised relationships, particularly those involving the aging Epaulard. There’s lots of gloomy drinking in gloomy flats with gloomy furniture and unfinished baguettes. There are also lightly scathing views of people all round – while the police are clearly reprehensible, the Nada … Continue reading "Nada", directed Claude Chabrol