It’s not that Where Eagles Dare was a family favourite, one we all sat down to watch together. My mother never much cared for action films; my dad fancied himself a bit of an arthouse buff – the films I recall watching with my family were the old seasons that BBC Two used to show: Hitchcock, Chabrol, Malle and so on. (I just tried thinking of sitting in the living room with my whole family, and the film that sprang to mind was Lacombe, Lucien. Pretentious, moi?) Maybe I loved Where Eagles Dare because it was mine, my solitary pleasure. … [Read more...] about My favourite film aged 12: Where Eagles Dare
But what a script it must have been! What a plot! How do people dream up twists and turns like that? The key turnaround comes in the castle's Great Hall and involves Burton crossing, double- and triple-bamboozling everyone in sight. In the script the dialogue was divvied up more evenly between Eastwood and Burton, but it ended up with Eastwood doing more of the shooting and Burton more of the talking. Good call. Burton admired Clint's "dynamic lethargy", but in this scene calls him a "punk – and a pretty second-rate punk at that". It's a devastating bit of verbal jujitsu since, effectively, Burton takes Eastwood's signature line – "Ask yourself one question: Do I feel lucky? Well, do ya, punk?" – and turns it back on him, before Clint's even landed the part of Dirty Harry. … [Read more...] about Geoff Dyer on Where Eagles Dare
The Democratic proposals on automatically enrolling workers into pension schemes is classic Nudge. The policy leaves it up to employees to leave their pension schemes if they insist, but it bets that inertia means most won't lift a finger either way. By leaving people the option of making bad choices Thaler and his cohort can deny the charge that they want the return of the nanny state. Their vision could be described as the au pair state: a more informal, less heavy-handed but still ever so slightly intrusive creature. … [Read more...] about From Obama to Cameron, why do so many politicians want a piece of Richard Thaler?
The first five minutes of One Man, Two Guvnors seem quite deliberately as if you’re in Carry On-land. What I remember most vividly is those first minutes in the first preview, feeling the audience’s jaws on the floor, as if they were asking: how can they be doing this? The moment they got it is in when James comes in, throws a peanut in the air and does a kind of dazzling thing that he and Cal worked out – falling backwards over a chair, catching the peanut in his mouth and springing straight back up again. There was a kind of collective decision in the audience: Oh, it’s this kind of show! … [Read more...] about One Man, Two Guvnors: Nicholas Hytner on the joy of farcing around
By now, you probably know all about David Cameron and his penchant for nudging people. You dimly remember how a couple of years ago the Tory leader got excited by this book Nudge – with its anecdotes about how the staff at Amsterdam's Schiphol airport etched flies into the urinals to help men with their, um, aim, and its central message that sometimes people need a gentle push to eat better and save more money. And you read about how, just a few weeks after he got into No 10, Cameron set up a Nudge Unit to apply the thinking to public health, personal finance and the rest of government policy. … [Read more...] about Cameron’s hijacking of Nudge theory is a classic example of how big ideas get corrupted