Kind Hearts And Coronets – UFO – Space 1999 – tape 2109

First on this tape, from Channel 4 as part of their Century of Cinema season, it’s the Ealing Comedy Kind Hearts and Coronets.

One interesting thing I noticed in the opening credits is that the Director of Photography is Douglas Slocombe. We was also, years later, the DoP on the Raiders of the Lost Ark and its two sequels. Talk about a career.

It’s a shockingly bad print that Channel 4 are showing. In these days, the TV companies would still show films directly from prints, doing their own telecine, and they were rather at the mercy of the film’s distributor as to the quality of print they would get. I wonder if this is still an issue for older, classic films. Are they still shown from film prints or do the distributors now provide a suitable HD digital image of the film. A quick look at a film from 1947 on iPlayer shows a fair amount of film dirt, and a little damage on the ocasional frame, so it might be from film still. If anyone knows for sure, do let me know.

Film Damage

The film opens with the arrival of the hangman to a prison, where a Duke is scheduled to be hanged for murder. He inherited his position after waiting for the deaths of twelve more immediate heirs to the title and, eventually, arranging the deaths of those who didn’t die of natural causes.

All the members of the family are played by Alec Guinness.

Kind Hearts And Coronets - UFO - Space 1999 - tape 2109

And Joan Greenwood plays Sibella, the Duke’s longtime love, whose intrigues lead him to be sentenced to death for the one murder he was innocent of.

Joan Greenwood

There’s a tiny appearance by Arthur Lowe as a reporter in the very last scene.

Arthur Lowe and Dennis Price

Next, recording switches to Bravo, and there’s a slight presentation glitch as an episode of UFO starts. It looks like they mistimed the fade from the station logo to the VT, as we miss the Century 21 ident and the alien contact lens shot that starts the titles.

This is The Sound of Silence. A UFO lands, but Shado can’t find it. In the vicinity, a drifter has the least convincingly voiced dog I’ve ever seen. It’s almost literally a man saying ‘woof’.

Posh Michael Jayston is riding with his sister, and doesn’t like hippies trespassing on his land, so he chases him down on his horse. I don’t like him.

Michael Jayston

Their father is Richard Vernon, Slartibartfast himself.

Richard Vernon

After a lot of boring horse riding and a bit of creepy stalking from the hippy, Jayston goes missing, and Shado move in, looking for their UFO. They find it in the river and blow it up, leaving a strange capsule as the only remains.

Inside, they find Jayston, obviously ready to be taken back to the UFO’s home planet, or whatever it is they do with their captives. And Then he’s woken up, looks around a bit, is given (as is his sister) a drug to ‘help them forget’. It’s like Torchwood’s Retcon.

And then he’s back training his horse. Col Foster comes along and asks for riding lessons, and the sister doesn’t recognise him, so their amnesia drug is working.

And that’s the whole story. There’s so little plot in so many of these episodes. You’d never get away with such threadbare stories today. They barely got away with them in 1970.

After this, recording continues for a bit with the start of an episode of The Protectors. I love the theme tune for that. And I can’t think of Nyree Dawn Porter without thinking of the Morecambe and Wise joke. “I shall announce the winners in reverse order. Porter Dawn Nyree.”

Then, recording switches to Space 1999. It’s nice that the martial arts are still enjoyed on Moonbase.

Kendo

Paul Rutherford off of Frankie Goes to Hollywood appears to have a small part in this episode.

Not Paul Rutherford

The moon encounters a new planet, and some mysterious force slows the moon to a stop. So they send a landing party to the planet. I wonder if this Eagle exterior was a full sized set piece or a matte painting. Or a hanging miniature, possibly.

Eagle Exterior

They find some human looking skeletons, and an inscription which Bergman says is in Sanskrit.

 

Not Paul Rutherford and his partner, a philologist, translate the sanskrit, and come to believe that these people are in some way related to humanity, so they hijack an Eagle and demand supplies so they can repopulate the planet. In the portentous way this show often goes, they’re characterised as a new Adam and Eve, rather than the kidnappers and criminals their behaviour should warrant.

After this, there’s the start of an episode of The Prisoner at ehich point the tape ends.

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