Langrishe, Go Down (1978) from Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy; Greg Wroblewski)

This is a Harold Pinter teleplay that was first broadcast on the BBC in 1978.

Pinter, the husband of Lady Antonia Fraser, may be the most famous living English playwright, and has been celebrated as a giant of the theater since he was in his twenties. He's not that old now (74), but has been an established playwright for nearly 50 years. He's an author whose oeuvre is the power of implication, whose characters always mean something quite different from what they say and demand that you and the other characters figure out what they really mean.

When his style works, it can be very effective. Mysterious threats appear in the form of ominous visitors. They don't do or say anything threatening, and yet they are - sinister. Tension is created with pauses, glances, silence. People seem to exist only in the present. Characters are more symbolic than filled in. Real communication rarely happens. Dialogue often consists of non-sequiturs or ironic filler like "oh, have you really?"

Frankly, I don't know what The Great Pinter was driving at with with this script, but I found it impossible to appreciate this film in any way.

A lonely Irish spinster meets and falls in and out of love with a pretentious Bavarian graduate student who is studying Irish folklore. They ramble about the way-too-quiet Irish countryside in the vicinity of Dublin, circa 1930. The Bavarian makes speeches. Guys in pubs make speeches. There is endless pontificating followed by pompous digressions about various uncinematic matters like the reproduction cycle of bees and the Irish theatrical tradition.


Dame Judi Dench shows T&A. Judi was just born too soon. The J-Lo, Beyonce, Winslet giant booty look was not in fashion in Judi's day. If she could come back with that jumbo ass now, she'd be a love goddess.

It would be a complete waste of time without two of the greatest actors in film history, Jeremy Irons and Judi Dench.

No, check that. That isn't precisely what I mean.

That sentence should read: "It is a complete waste of time, despite the presence of two of the greatest actors in film history."

It is a complete snoozefest - lifeless, tedious, and unfocused. I would also say "pointless" if it had been written by any ordinary mortal, but I have to grant that The Great Master Pinter must have had some point. Unfortunately, he managed to keep it a secret from me.

The technical aspects are just as flawed as the script. It was made for television in 1978, so it is in a 4:3 aspect ratio, and the quality of the print is not even mediocre. There are some suggestions and hints that the original cinematography may have been quite good, but it's difficult to say that with certainty because this print bears the same resemblance to a movie that a faxed sixth generation Xerox of an Ansel Adams photo bears to the original photo. If you see that multi-generation fax, you might think that Ansel was probably a helluva photographer, but you would not know for sure. Same problem exists here.

DVD info from Amazon

  • no features, no widescreen

Besides its historical value (it was not seen for decades), the only interesting thing about Langrishe is a significant amount of nudity from a woman I would like to think of as my personal sex slave, Dame Judi Dench. You haven't lived until you have seen Judi Dench putting whipped cream on her nipples. Well, at least until you've seen a faxed sixth generation Xerox of Judi Dench putting whipped cream on her nipples.

The Critics Vote ...

The People Vote ...

The meaning of the IMDb score: 7.5 usually indicates a level of excellence equivalent to about three and a half stars from the critics. 6.0 usually indicates lukewarm watchability, comparable to approximately two and a half stars from the critics. The fives are generally not worthwhile unless they are really your kind of material, equivalent to about a two star rating from the critics, or a C- from our system. Films rated below five are generally awful even if you like that kind of film - this score is roughly equivalent to one and a half stars from the critics or a D on our scale. (Possibly even less, depending on just how far below five the rating is.

My own guideline: A means the movie is so good it will appeal to you even if you hate the genre. B means the movie is not good enough to win you over if you hate the genre, but is good enough to do so if you have an open mind about this type of film. C means it will only appeal to genre addicts, and has no crossover appeal. (C+ means it has no crossover appeal, but will be considered excellent by genre fans, while C- indicates that it we found it to be a poor movie although genre addicts find it watchable). D means you'll hate it even if you like the genre. E means that you'll hate it even if you love the genre. F means that the film is not only unappealing across-the-board, but technically inept as well. Any film rated C- or better is recommended for fans of that type of film. Any film rated B- or better is recommended for just about anyone. We don't score films below C- that often, because we like movies and we think that most of them have at least a solid niche audience. Now that you know that, you should have serious reservations about any movie below C-.

Based on this description, this is a C-. Only for fans of melancholy British and Irish drama, even even then a tedious experience. (I majored in British drama, and found this film unrewarding.) Two great actors, not much else.

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