With my convalescence in mind, I've been buying a number of DVDs to play on my widescreen TV, as one of the things I can do when I mustn't do anything else. I normally read a lot, and I devote a huge number of hours to my photos; but I anticipate that in the evening, after a hard day of scanning old transparencies and prints, or reading a book till falling asleep over it, I may want something else to turn to. That's also assuming that ordinary TV is devoid of interest, as it often is.
So here is my list of DVDs to watch, as bought so far:
Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring; The Two Towers; and The Return of the King.
Star Wars: IV (the original film); V The Empire Strikes Back; and VI Return of the Jedi.
The Clint Eastwood Collection: A Fistful of Dollars; For a Few Dollars More; The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly; and Hang 'Em High.
Gone With The Wind.
Singin' in the Rain.
The Indiana Jones Complete Collection: Raiders of the Lost Ark; Temple of Doom; Last Crusade; and Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.
The Philadelphia Experiment.
The Third Man.
The Manchurian Candidate (the original version).
Invasion of the Body Snatchers.
Riding Giants (a film about surfing and its history).
Back to the Future.
Toy Story 2.
British TV series
The Avengers (with Diana Rigg as Emma Peel).
The Likely Lads.
The Best of Dave Allen.
Civilisation (Sir Kenneth Clark on Art as a reflector of Civilisation).
No groans, please. And no apologies from me. I want to be amused and thrilled and moved and plunged into nostalgia in equal measure. It's my convalescence.
It was a lovely experience seeing what was available to buy. I did it in an actual shop. I had no idea that British TV series from the 1960s and 1970s were available. Danger Man, for instance.
This was the TV series that first made Patrick McGoohan well-known, in which he played a secret agent called John Drake, a role that inspired his later tour-de-force, the cult series called The Prisoner. Danger Man was first screened in 1960, and I remember it very well, even though I was only eight. I was much struck by John Drake's neat dapper appearance, his coolness, his humour, his ease in any situation, his perfect manners, and his compassion for the innocent victims he encounters. All tempered with quick-thinking action, political sophistication, detachment, and an understanding that the truth is relative to your point of view and the time and place. A dependable, resourceful man, who used his brain. A man you'd very, very much like to have as an ally. I was absolutely enthralled, and inwardly seethed with resentment when packed off to cubs, because I'd have to forego the frisson of watching Danger Man for mindless dib-dibbing. Here is McGoohan in a scene where John Drake presents his fake credentials to a corrupt police chief:
McGoohan himself was born in America, but brought up in the UK, and there was always something mid-Atlantic about him. In Danger Man he was apparently linked somehow to NATO, but did work on a one-man, independent basis for all sorts of important folk in the States and in the UK, private individuals as well as government people. The stories were well acted, believable, and curiously British in their flavour and ethos, even though as an Irish-American McGoohan might be expected to prefer a different way of portraying himself. For I'm certain that John Drake was very much how McGoohan would be, if really a secret agent.
Secret agents were very much my thing in the 1960s. In many ways I was doing what they did: maintaining a front, living an inner life under a cover that must not be blown.