Films With A Different View

Over the years I have perfected a way to get the maximum benefit from watching videos.

After you wack in the DVD and set it to play it is normal essential you stay awake if you are to watch the films as the director intended. But you can adjust things to suit yourself and in the process see a completely different films from that intended.

I first discovered this technique many years, in fact, many, many years ago whilst an engineer officer cadet at sea. One of the functions performed by cadets was to show the films to fellow crew members on precious ‘films night’. Way before DVD’s was spawned, the films were 16mm acetate monsters clattering from one reel to another through the projection gate. A feature film generally comprised of four reels each held in a circular tin. Apart from reel one which you can preload in readiness subsequent reels had to fed through the projector gate at some speed before the audience became arsey. 20 secs was the allowable maximum before the reel had the shown. It was like being in the army loading a field gun

Back in the day 16mm films had to be shown in a darkened room to be seen and herein lay the problem. Changing a film in the dark – at speed left very little room for error, and your honour, it was all too easy to grab the wrong film tin in the dark. Thus showing a mystery film in the order of reels 1, 3, 2, 4 added an extra and often much appreciated twist to the drama, although clearly it best to never let on.

Moving on few decades I happened to be recently subjected to the Mama Mia 2 (MM2) DVD. To an outsider, that is a person who missed Mama Mia the original, I struggled to get the complex interrelationship of the cast in any focus.

The gist of it is that Cher plays Meryl Streep’s mother although they are the same age. Meryl Streep doesn’t officially appear in MM2 and is played by a younger actress, although right at the end of the film Meryl Streep does appear playing herself- but at an older age than the younger actress. The granddaughter of Meryl Streep has three fathers which imply that Meryl Streep got v. busy in the MM1.

The three Dad actors played themselves both in MM1 and MM2 even though there were further flashbacks showing the dads as being much younger and played by younger actors although the rest of the cast didn’t appear to age forward or backwards as the film zipped back and forwards faster that Dr Who’s Tardis. You are getting the gist of all this?

The outcome, apart from incessant questions to clarify the plot, was quite bewildering. But as per the 16mm film reel mix-ups you are able to re-run the DVD many times to try and wprk the plot out, and thus get extrordinary vlue for mony.

Alistair Owens

The meandering thoughts of someone with too much time on his hands. Tending to see the obscure and irrelevant in most events I have been forced to record this by family members as a means of diverting attention away from them. But I see their plan.

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