Film Review

Browse pages
Current page

1

Current page

2

Current page

3

Current page

4

Current page

5

Current page

6

Current page

7

Current page

8

Current page

9

Current page

10

Current page

11

Current page

12

Current page

13

Current page

14

Current page

15

Current page

16

Current page

17

Current page

18

Current page

19

Current page

20

Current page

21

Current page

22

Current page

23

Current page

24

Current page

25

Current page

26

Current page

27

Current page

28

Current page

29

Current page

30

Current page

31

Current page

32

Current page

33

Current page

34

Current page

35

Current page

36

Current page

37

Current page

38

Current page

39

Current page

40

Current page

41

Current page

42

Current page

43

Current page

44

Current page

45

Current page

46

Current page

47

Current page

48

Current page

49

Current page

50

Current page

51

Current page

52

Current page

53

Current page

54

Current page

55

Current page

56

Current page

57

Current page

58

Current page

59

Current page

60

Current page

61

Current page

62

Current page

63

Current page

64

Current page

65

Current page

66

Current page

67

Current page

68

Current page

69

Current page

70

Current page

71

Current page

72

Current page

73

Current page

74

Current page

75

Current page

76

Current page

77

Current page

78

Current page

79

Current page

80

Current page

81

Current page

82

Current page

83

Current page

84

Current page

85

Current page

86

Current page

87

Current page

88

Current page

89

Current page

90

Current page

91

Current page

92

Current page

93

Current page

94

Current page

95

Current page

96

Current page

97

Current page

98

Current page

99

Current page

100

Current page

101

Current page

102

Current page

103

Current page

104

Current page

105

Current page

106

Current page

107

Current page

108

BBC 2, in The Last Machine, featuring early cinema films, made the point that then accuracy was not important, but that today it is. A view apparently not shared by BBC 1, judging by its Sir Henry Birkin motor-racing drama for its Heroes and Villains series.

Rowan Atkinson, who is considered funny as “Mr Bean”, just managed not to appear ridiculous as the aristocratic racing baronet, but W Bentley was very badly cast, and the Hon Dorothy Paget had generously been allowed to shed many years. And the cars! The producer thought it acceptable to have Hickling’s big yellow Dodge standing in for the brown-hued DFP with which Birkin began his racing career in 1921, and to let it race against Chris Gordon’s Tamplin, which it never encountered. The possible availability of the genuine single-seater blower-4½ Bentley with which Sir Henry broke the Brooklands lap record was seemingly ignored, but Stanley Mann brought his ex-Birkin 3-litre, and the blower 4½ GY 3904, whose first owner was G R Handley, not Birkin, also figured. In a supposedly six-hour sports car race we saw it overtaken by Majzub’s stripped GP Bugatti! The venues used for filming were a bit of a mish-mash. The Members’ Banking, with not much room to pull up and the pits unrealistically close to the Brooklands Clubhouse, studio palms to represent Tripoli, and a corner with a monument for Le Mans.

Round these, VSCC members diced furiously. The Caracciola Mercedes-Benz was seen to retire at Le Mans in clouds of steam, when in real life, we are told, a flat battery refused to restart the engine — or was this more realistic than Mercedes would have wished?

Some of this drama of Sir Henry’s Bentley career is told by Rowan-Birkin to the ghostwriter of Full Throttle, whose true identity was never revealed by its publishers. W is seen arriving in a chauffeur-drive Bentley to ask Birkin to join him at Rolls-Royce (?), and was Sir H really so rude about him after he had left? At a house party the girls shoot at plates thrown up by the great racing driver, too poor presumably to have proper clay pigeons, and the car he usurps from its owner who is cranking it up, to give a pretty flapper a ride, is surely, not one of his beloved Bentleys, but a 30/98?

A good enough bit of drama for the TV viewing public, but not one of which the BBC need be factually proud. But no doubt great fun for the actors and those who lent their cars. But have standards dropped? The Sir Malcolm Campbell drama shown some years ago was superior, in my opinion.

You may also like

Related products