Now usually, there’s absolutely nothing worth watching on the TV, but then just like the proverbial buses – TWO turn up at the same time lol! That’s not strictly true: I got to watch both films completely, they didn’t overlap. The films I am taking about though are pretty old films and I have seen them before, but that didn’t stop me enjoying them all over again.
Triple Echo was made in 1972 and stars Oliver Reed (yes HIM again) Glenda Jackson and Brian Deacon. Directed by Micheal Apted, the film is based on a H. E. Bates novel. Basically, the plot, set in World War II revolves around Jackson who plays a farmer’s wife whose husband is a POW. She encounters young soldier Deacon and they become lovers. After his leave is up, Deacon decides he doesn’t want to go back to the army. Jackson hatches a plan to pass Deacon off as her sister. So she dresses him up, applies make up and ties his long hair in a headscarf and no one thinks anything about seeing him/her helping out on the remote farm as he looks like a land girl.
Deacon though soon gets fed up with the claustrophobic atmosphere of the place and the emasculating way that Jackson is now treating him, so the arrival of army sargeant Oliver Reed is greeted with anxiety for Jackson and excitement for Deacon.
Macho Reed is very much attracted to Deacon (or ‘Cath’ as Deacon now prefers to be called…..) and is determined to have his way with her, finding her ‘shyness’ and quietness quite a challenge.
Despite Jackson’s over protectiveness (or perhaps because of it), Reed takes ‘Cath’ to a New Year dance at the army base, where ‘Cath’ soon realises that there will be no brushing off the persistent Reed. Inevitably, Deacon is found out by Reed in an excruciating way: chaos and tragedy ensue. This is not a ‘feelgood’ film: there are a lot of undercurrents which are very strange: lots of contradictions and contrasts which work very well. I’ve seen this film a few times now and it still fascinates me.
The other film ‘Midnight Cowboy’ is perhaps a more well known film. It stars Jon Voight and Dustin Hoffman (1969). Voight (Joe) leaves his small town in Texas to make it big as a kept man and gigolo in New York. Instead he becomes prey to every opportunist, including Rizzo (or ‘Ratzo’ as he becomes known), who swindles him out of the last of his money.
Crippled Ratzo and cowboy Joe become a double act, without much success in the cash stakes. They become dependant on each other and after spending the winter in an abandoned building, decide to go to Florida into the sun and hopefully, a better way of life. We never get to find out if Joe makes it big, I suspect not though. Poor Ratzo doesn’t make it, dieing on the coach: the Florida sun shining on his face. It is a sad and poignant film, and in places quite touching. The flashbacks are a bit disturbing. This film was the only X rated film to win a Best Picture Oscar, and no wonder! Voigt and Hoffman are outstanding.