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April 2019: Hereford

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The Italian Job
- favourite film

Few films have become such a part of our shared national culture as The Italian Job. England football crowds still sing “Self Preservation Society.” Anyone in the pub asked to quote a line from the film will impersonate Caine’s: “You were only supposed to blow the bloody doors off!” And the (literally) cliff-hanger ending has gripped our collective imagination so much that recently the Royal Society of Chemistry ran a competition to find what may have been in Croker’s mind when he speaks the last line in the movie: “Hang on a minute lads, I’ve got a great idea.”
Made in 1969 when London was still swinging and all things British were cool, the film featured iconic British actors from various eras and genres: Noel Coward ; John Le Mesurier ; Irene Handl; Benny Hill in a part that fitted him like a glove; a very young Robert Powell; and of course Michael Caine in one of his most famous roles as criminal Charlie Croker. A cast any director would give his producer’s right arm for. And no less iconic were the timelessly beautiful British cars featured: E-Type Jags ; an Aston Martin DB-4; and the Mini Coopers central to the caper plot. An artful film without arty pretensions. The stuff of genius.

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Current top 10
1: Oliver!
2: Zulu
3: The Railway Children
4: The Italian Job
5: Life of Brian
6: Trainspotting
7: The Third Man
8: The 39 Steps
9: The Cook, the Thief, His Wife and Her Lover
10: Local Hero

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A verbal art like poetry is reflective; it stops to think. Music is immediate, it goes on to become - W H Auden
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On this day:
Alfred Becomes King of Wessex - 0871, English order of knighthood founded - 1348, Birth of Shakespeare - 1564, Death of Shakespeare - 1616, Charles II is crowned - 1661, First Broadcast by British Monarch - 1924, Death of Blair Peach - 1979
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