Favouritest Grabs Ever – Almost Halloween Edition

Halloween is fast approaching, so Fearless Admin and I thought it would only be appropriate to do another installment of our Favouritest Grabs Ever – this time with a Halloween (or Halloween-ish) theme.  Again, these are grabs we found especially intriguing, striking, or just plain fun (or in this case, scary) to look at.

RF’s Picks:

Sir Francis Walsingham plays host to a would-be assassin

Sir Francis Walsingham plays host to a would-be assassin

What’s Going On in This Picture?

RF:  It’s from the two-part miniseries “Elizabeth I” (2005), in which Mr. Malahide played spymaster Sir Francis Walsingham to Helen Mirren’s Queen Elizabeth.  The unfortunate gentleman on the rack was bold enough to try assassinating the Queen on Sir Francis’ watch, so he’s now enjoying the hospitality of Sir Francis’ rack until he gives up what he knows.  Playing Good Cop, Sir Francis comes in with a bowl of water and rag, gently sponges the prisoner’s face, and asks in a deceptively quiet, kind voice, “Who sent you to take the Queen?  Hmm?  The French?  The Spanish?  The Pope in Rome?”  When the prisoner refuses to answer, Sir Francis bows his head as if genuinely regretful at his foolish stubbornness and signals for the torture to begin again.  When the prisoner then cracks, Sir Francis becomes immediately jovial and friendly:  “Good!  You have something to say.”  If we didn’t realize it already, we now know this guy is incredibly ruthless!

Why Is This One a Favourite?

RF:  I love the Dutch angles in this shot, which make it look like something out of “Batman” circa 1966.  The shafts of light coming in, combined with candles and a brazier (for heating torture instruments, of course) provide stark contrast between light and dark, giving the scene a classic horror movie appearance – that is, if the creaking rope and wood of the rack and the prisoner’s screams weren’t enough.  I also like the incredible incongruity of Mr. Malahide’s gentle, soft-spoken demeanour and almost fatherly concern about his prisoner’s welfare, compared to the horror of the surroundings.  Sir Francis looks and sounds like an unassuming clerk, but the circumstances reveal he decidedly isn’t; he’s actually the most dangerous man in the room.  We’re also uncomfortably aware that if this doesn’t work, Sir Francis doubtless has “more persuasive methods at [his] disposal“.  And yet, Walsingham isn’t the villain here!  He’s just a bit ruthless when it comes to preserving his queen’s throne.

Admin:  It is beautifully shot and lit which works perfectly with the horror of the scene.  Notice how that angle makes the prisoner’s arms and torso look much, much longer than his legs.  That is really unsettling, and I’m sure intentional.

The Most Fiendish Grandad Ever

The Most Fiendish Grandad Ever

What’s Going On in This Picture?

RF:  It’s from episode 3, “Hourglass“, of the 2012 series “Hunted“, which is a gold mine as far as grabs are concerned.   Jack Turner (Mr. Malahide), Mobster Grandad Extraordinaire, has just arrived at a four-star hotel with his son Stevie (Steven Campbell Moore), grandson Eddie (Oscar Kennedy), nanny Sam Hunter Who Is Really a Sooper-Seekrit Spy (Melissa George) and assorted entourage to attend the bidding process for a dam Jack wants to buy for nefarious purposes.  When Eddie notices a sign in the lobby advertising fireworks for Guy Fawkes Day, Jack says that they’re “especially for [him]” because “Grandad had a word with the manager” – adding one of the most sinister, fiendish grins and evil little chuckles ever.  But, as Jack goes on to tell us, he never had anything so posh as fireworks growing up.  With wistful nostalgia, he tells Eddie the story of how one of his little friends got caught in a paint factory fire (which the little friend and some other kids had set) with “flames as tall as trees”, when he, Jack, was just a wee, wannabe little mobster.  “Eddie doesn’t need to hear that story, Dad,” mutters Stevie in resigned exasperation, while Jack shrugs in bewilderment.  Who doesn’t like a good paint factory fire story??  They’re ideal for Halloween!

Why Is This One a Favourite?

RF:  It may not look that scary to start with, but everything Jack says just builds the scene.  He starts by implying the hotel manager is terrified of him (probably true), then adds “people always do what Grandad tells ’em” (also true, one way or another) with one of the best nasty little chuckles ever.  But what really makes the grab is the conspiratorial evil grin he directs at Stevie; they both know exactly why “people always do what Grandad tells ’em.”  And then, to top it all off, he recounts the paint factory story. I love that it doesn’t even occur to Jack that such stories (arson!  death!) might not be appropriate for his grandson.  However, from Stevie’s resigned tone and Eddie’s complete lack of surprise, Jack seems to have told these sorts of stories many times before.  Regardless of his other failings (not that I think he has that many), Jack has got to be not only the Most Fiendish Grandad Ever, but also the Most Entertaining.  😉

Admin:  I like the way Jack is very much the central figure in the shot, and he is certainly the most commanding.  He absolutely looks like the kind of guy who would have dozens of great stories to entertain the grandkids with.   Whether they would be able to sleep or not after hearing them remains to be seen.  😉

Admin’s Picks:

Patrick Malahide as Uncle Ebenezer : Kidnapped

“Hey, baby.  Want to go to the Porridge House?  I’ve got a two-for one coupon!”

What’s Going On in This Picture?

Admin:  It is from Kidnapped.  Uncle Ebenezer (Patrick Malahide) is in the process of selling his nephew Davy to pirates because of pesky inheritance issues.  In order to do this, he has lured his nephew (who he’s already tried to murder via a faulty staircase) to town.  Ebenezer has put on his “best” wig and wardrobe and is being very charming.  Well, charming for him at least.  He is clearly nervous and feeling the heat, so he fans himself with his wig.  Just imagine all those dust mites flying around.  Wheeeee!!

Why Is This One a Favourite?

Admin:  Well, first of all, I can’t think of many folks more suitable for Halloween than dear, old Uncle Ebenezer.   Secondly, it totally looks like he’s flirting.  Trust me when I say that there can’t be many things scarier than a flirtatious Uncle Ebenezer.  If there is anyone’s whose sensibility doesn’t need rousing, it is his.  Pity the poor damsel who catches his eye!

RF:  Besides shaking out the dust mites (eeeewww!) I bet Ebenezer had to evict a nest of mice before putting that thing on.  But you’re right that the horror of his wig pales in comparison to the potential horror of his flirtatiousness.  Yikes!  😮  He’d probably invite the lucky damsel over to Shaws for a home-cooked meal of delicious porridge and cold water (no wine or ale, too expensive), then if she was really lucky, he’d read her some of his poetry – and warn her not to go up the stairs, because they need a bit of fixing.

If Dickens and Poe had collaborated.

If Dickens and Poe had collaborated.

What’s Going On in This Picture?

Admin:  This is from the hidden gem The December Rose.  Patrick Malahide plays the oh-so-sinister Mr. Hastymite, colleague and chum to the idiotic but equally malevolent Lord Horbart, pictured left.  They are a right pair of bent politicians and are tricking an Inspector Creaker, a genuinely good man, into doing terrible things (murder and theft) in the guise of national security.

Why Is This One a Favourite?

Admin:  Perhaps it is obvious to choose someone who looks *exactly* like a vampire for a Halloween themed post, but he totally works.  He deserves a mention for those sharp sideburns alone.  Swooon!  But what I really love here is the contrast of villains.  Both are wicked, but Hobart is so blustery, fat and red while Hastymite is cool, thin and pale.  They really do look great together.   Just perfect.  They are so Dickensian, and The December Rose is a clear Dickens pastiche, and a good one at that.  Oh, and It should come as no surprise that the series made it clear that Lady Hobart was having a fling with Hastymite.  Can’t blame her!  This might not be the best quality grab, but it is hardly my fault that the BBC haven’t done the right thing and remastered it for DVD! 🙁

RF:  Hastymite is perfect for Halloween.  😀  As you say, both he and Hobart are amazingly Dickensian, and he does look remarkably like a vampire – or what most ladies hope a vampire looks like.  But I don’t think that would put them off; married, unmarried, widowed, or divorced, they’d still come flocking.  Mrs. Hobart would have some competition on her hands.  And not only was he irresistible to women, Hastymite was also immune to churches – very handy for secret trysts.  He could really be quite charming provided you weren’t a penniless orphan.

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