Thursday, November 08, 2018

The Enduring Car

Ah, to cruise from London to Brighton in the 50s in a car from the turn of the twentieth century. I wouldn't have been opposed to the idea before but now it seems irresistible thanks to 1953's Genevieve. Not that the central characters of the film seem to appreciate it, constantly arguing and making up and arguing again. But the writers find amusing pretexts for their disagreements and sweet solutions for their coming together again.

The film follows two couples but primarily the married Alan and Wendy McKim (John Gregson and Dinah Sheridan, respectively). She's tired of riding along every year in his 1904 Darracq for a rally held by a veteran car club. The two have a silly argument but she finally gives in when she's discovered he's bought her a new hat for the occasion. Well, it is a nice hat.

Their friend and Alan's rival is the demurely named Ambrose Claverhouse (Kenneth More) who's driving a 1905 Spyker with his girlfriend, Rosalind (Kay Kendall in her breakout role). The two are just a bit snootier than the lovably dysfunctional McKims, except for one odd but entertaining scene where Rosalind gets drunk and plays a trumpet.

There's surprisingly little rear projection for the driving scenes, as evidenced by this shot accidentally incorporating the shadow of a boom microphone:

So there's plenty of footage of London and the countryside from the time. Watching the crowds is fun, too; they don't seem to be hired extras and clearly have their eyes on the film's stars and the camera crew.

It's a pleasant film, the climax surprisingly getting explicit about the otherwise implicit love for the past in a very sweet way. The main plot involves a car chase but I don't recommend watching this movie for the action.

There is a cameo by the TARDIS:

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