Something Neat XXXIII: Two Quick Reviews

"What do you mean, 'obtuse single-mindedness'?" Two Quick Reviews of War Movies Fearuing Patrick Malahide

“What do you mean, ‘obtuse single-mindedness’?”

I recently happened across a couple of interesting reviews of two war dramas featuring Mr. Malahide while surfing around late one night.  These reviews aren’t new, but they’re new to me and I figured they’re worth mentioning since they highlight lesser-known works that deserve a little more attention.  First, a review from the from 2009 of “Into the Storm“, in which Mr. Malahide plays Major-General Bernard Montgomery opposite Brendan Gleeson’s Winston Churchill:

The film, in general, handles Churchill’s supporting cast excellently. Iain Glen is King George, and Patrick Malahide is excellent as the impossible and obnoxious Major-General Bernard Montgomery, whose obtuse single-mindedness must have struck a chord with Churchill. When Monty makes histrionic demands to his leader, Churchill agrees then decides it’s time for lunch. “I’m sure you could do with a drink,” he says to the soldier. “I neither drink nor smoke and am 100pc fit,” says Monty. “I both drink and smoke and I’m 200pc fit,” Churchill replies.

Monty proving he is 100% fit.

“[I]mpossible and obnoxious” and “obtuse single-mindedness” sums Monty up nicely. Mr. Malahide obviously made a vivid impression on the reviewer in only a minute and a half of screen time.  😀  He also proves how fit he is by briskly trotting up some stairs while Churchill follows behind a bit more slowly.  However, I don’t know that I’d describe Monty’s demands as “histrionic” so much as “peremptory”; I thought he was being quite restrained, for him.  The scene did make me want to see more of what Mr. Malahide could do with the role, but alas, a minute and a half was all we got.  Embedding has been disabled by request, but you can view a clip of the entirety of Monty’s appearance here (until it gets taken down, of course) or read my full review here.

“All the King’s Men”

Frank Beck (left) and Claude Howlett:<br>The Old Order and the New at Gallipoli

Frank Beck (left) and Claude Howlett:
The Old Order and the New at Gallipoli

The second review is of the World War I drama “All the King’s Men” in New York Magazine (2000), which singles out David Jason and Mr. Malahide for specific praise:

Frank Beck (David Jason), the middle-aged estate manager who trains these boys to be men and then, abetted by the Queen Mother, leads them into disappearance, embodies the stouthearted values of the old order. Claude Howlett (Patrick Malahide), the battalion doctor who has actually experienced combat as well as concentration camps during the Boer War, is a self-hating cynic bereft of illusions. This is shrewd casting. Both are familiar to those of us who watch too many British mystery movies on public television — Jason as Inspector Jack Frost, the sad sack whose domestic life is such a shambles; Malahide as Inspector Alleyn, the melancholy aristocrat with a traumatizing (First World War) wound. When at Gallipoli Howlett says to Beck, “You’ve always trusted the judgment of your betters,” he is speaking as a “better” already aware that they don’t know anything. Of course their maps are useless. It is the old order that vanishes into the mist.

A "self-hating cynic" who discovers a heroic core

A “self-hating cynic” who discovers a heroic core

I’m not entirely sure I’d describe Alleyn as a “melancholy aristocrat with a traumatizing (First World War) wound”; as far as I know, that little bit of characterization was only used for Simon Williams’ version of Alleyn in “Artists in Crime” and was dropped by the time Mr. Malahide was cast in the role, when “The Inspector Alleyn Mysteries” became a full-fledged series.   However, I would agree that Howlett represents the New Order of things while Beck represents the Old.  Howlett is indeed a “self-hating cynic” with a far better grasp of what’s about to happen in Gallipoli than his superiors, but he also finds a core of heroism and altruism within himself amidst the chaos, perhaps surprising himself most of all.   Both Admin and I were very moved by Mr. Malahide’s performance in “All the King’s Men”, finding it tragic, poignant, and touching, with Howlett a startlingly real and sympathetic character.  You can read our joint review of “All the King’s Men” here, but it’s well worth trying to find on DVD to see it for yourself.

*Animated gif courtesy of Admin.  Thanks!  🙂


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