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At the Movies

Michael Wood: ‘The Taking of Pelham One Two Three’

6 August 2009
The Taking of Pelham One Two Three 
directed by Tony Scott.
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... to mind, but this one makes us want to rethink Grease entirely, and maybe the whole genre of the musical. This is a heist movie, but the caper itself gets a little blurred, because the director, TonyScott, is not very interested in the planning or execution of crime, only in the psychodrama of criminality, and its counterpointing with the travails of the good man, in this case Denzel Washington ...
20 July 1995
Pulp Fiction 
by Quentin Tarantino.
Faber, 198 pp., £7.99, October 1994, 0 571 17546 5
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Reservoir Dogs 
by Quentin Tarantino.
Faber, 113 pp., £7.99, November 1994, 0 571 17362 4
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True Romance 
by Quentin Tarantino.
Faber, 134 pp., £7.99, January 1995, 0 571 17593 7
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Natural Born Killers 
by Quentin Tarantino.
Faber, 175 pp., £7.99, July 1995, 0 571 17617 8
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... and released in 1992, is all about a botched diamond heist, and how arch-criminals are chronically unable to spot the cop in their midst. True Romance, Tarantino’s first script, directed by TonyScott and released in 1993, has a big drug deal that ends in a massacre because too many people show up at the party. There is a marvellous three-way stand-off here – drug-buyer’s bodyguards against ...
22 May 1997
Citizen Lord: Edward Fitzgerald 1763-98 
by Stella Tillyard.
Chatto, 336 pp., £16.99, May 1997, 0 7011 6538 3
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... its aristocracy already on the verge of impotence and extinction. No wonder Yeats’s instinct was to turn him into a Bonny Prince Charlie figure, and lament romantic Ireland dead and gone. Scott did much the same, with enormous profit to his sales, by celebrating the past glories of Scotland, glories safely past thanks to the unromantic prosperity of the Union. Tom Moore was to follow suit ...

Facing South

Alistair Elliot

23 June 1994
... for Tony Harrison Happiness, therefore, must be some form of theoria. Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics, X.8 Theoria: ... a looking at, viewing, beholding ... ‘to go abroad to see the world’ (Herodotus ...
9 July 1992
Devolving English Literature 
by Robert Crawford.
Oxford, 320 pp., £35, June 1992, 9780198112983
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The Faber Book of 20th-Century Scottish Poetry 
edited by Douglas Dunn.
Faber, 424 pp., £17.50, July 1992, 9780571154319
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... mostly, is supposed to be deeply satisfying to the English themselves. Robert Crawford, who pursues the argument on behalf of the Scots, avoids this mistake, detecting in a provincial Englishman like Tony Harrison a fury and resentment not surpassed by any Scot. But this is hardly a novel perception, for Harrison has achieved fame on the strength of it. In fact, it’s hard to find any English writer ...

Scaling Up

Peter Wollen: At Tate Modern

20 July 2000
... Festival of Britain, which established this stretch of riverside as a public space, and brought in its aftermath the Festival Hall, the National Film Theatre and, on the other side of Giles Gilbert Scott’s Waterloo Bridge, the new National Theatre. The next came in 1977, with the foundation of the Coin Street Action Group when, reacting against a decline in public housing and the proliferation of ...
5 February 1987
Jane Austen 
by Tony​ Tanner.
Macmillan, 291 pp., £20, November 1986, 0 333 32317 3
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... been to move their own special machinery into place on him. But it has happened with Swift, with Richardson, with Dickens and the Romantic poets, and it is now happening with Jane Austen. Not that Tony Tanner’s study is wilfully abstract or – except for his use of the unnecessary term ‘discourse’ – filled with modern jargon. It is, on the contrary, one of the most readable books yet to ...

Shakers

Denis Donoghue

6 November 1986
Write on: Occasional Essays ’65-’85 
by David Lodge.
Secker, 211 pp., £12.95, September 1986, 0 436 25665 7
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... in Birmingham. The second part is mostly reviews: of Norman Mailer’s The Prisoner of Sex, The Complete Uncollected Short Stories of J.D. Salinger, a book about the ‘Catholic sensibility’ of F. Scott Fitzgerald, Blake Morrison’s The Movement, Martin Amis’s Success, Tony Tanner’s Adultery in the Novel, Graham Greene’s Ways of Escape, Mailer’s The Executioner’s Song, Truman Capote’s ...

Blame Robert Maxwell

Frederick Wilmot-Smith: How Public Inquiries Go Wrong

17 March 2016
... draft of a report are given an opportunity to respond. Chilcot hoped to begin this process in 2013, but negotiations over the publication of minutes of cabinet meetings and the correspondence between Tony Blair and George W. Bush delayed things by a year. In 2014 it was agreed that a ‘small number of full extracts from the minutes of [Cabinet] meetings’ thought to be ‘most critical’ could be ...

Per Ardua

Paul Foot

8 February 1996
In the Public Interest 
by Gerald James.
Little, Brown, 339 pp., £18.99, December 1995, 0 316 87719 0
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... James is proud of his membership of Unison, a gang of mainly military hotheads who in 1975 talked openly of overthrowing the Labour Government. James’s contribution was an ingenious plan to impeach Tony Benn (he does not reveal what for) – a plan which, to James’s disgust, was peremptorily turned down by Monday Club MPs. By 1988 Astra had snapped up two mighty subsidiaries, the Walters group in ...

On the Beach

Peter Campbell: Untucked

5 September 2002
... France where members of the English middle class take their summer breaks and have their holiday homes, I have no memories of big florals: no surfboards, boats, fish and dancing girls (the pin-up on Tony Blair’s cuff was surely an anomaly), but the British on holiday have learned to untuck. The T-shirt, perhaps, or the dress of an Asian cornershop-keeper, has taught us how to accept that down south ...

Short Cuts

Philippa Hetherington: Canberra’s Coups

27 September 2018
... used for the declaration that the leadership is vacant – and this time Turnbull declined to stand. He initially supported the foreign minister, Julie Bishop, in a three-way contest with Dutton and Scott Morrison, the treasurer. Bishop bowed out after receiving only 11 votes, despite having served as deputy leader of the party for 11 years. At press conferences following the coup, she described the ...
21 January 1988
The Crisis of the Democratic Intellect 
by George Davie.
Polygon, 283 pp., £17.95, September 1986, 0 948275 18 9
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... identity fuelled the urge to collect and tabulate cultural materials which is central to the Scottish tradition, whether in the anthologism of Burns, the encyclopedia-makers, the lexicographers, or Scott. Scott’s finest novels exemplify Davie’s ‘comparative method’. Waverley passes its protagonist through a succession of cultures and languages – England, English-speaking Scotland, Scots ...

Diary

David Bromwich: President-Speak

10 April 2008
... the imposition of slavery – not only on black people but on the manners, the morale and the laws of a society based on ‘certain inalienable rights’ – had to be resisted. And when the Dred Scott decision by the Supreme Court in 1857 denied negroes all the rights of citizenship (and claimed that the constitutional founders had always intended to deny those rights), he made a speech against ...

Diary

Karl Miller: Football Tribes

1 June 1989
... reputedly the son of Henry VIII, he was also, I notice, the keeper of the woman claimed by A.L. Rowse (after Fraser’s book came out) as the Dark Lady of the Sonnets. The ballads collected by Walter Scott contain wonderful praise – together with much that is more wonderful – of reiver exploits, of their boldness. But Fraser is sharp with Scott’s worshipful view of his ancestors. Scott and his ...

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