At a time when lovable Irish rogues are harder than ever to love, Frank Cvitanovich, with his film Murphy's Stroke (Thames), somehow succeeded in making lovable Irish rogues seem quite lovable.Led by Tony Murphy, lovably played by Niall Toibin, the lovable rogues staged a caper by which a horse named Gay Future would come in first, instead of, as the world had been led to expect, last or never. They would thereby stand to make a profit of 270 grand. It was a measure of Cvitanovich's psychological subtlety that you quickly found yourself hoping they would get away with it.
Your three brave sunflowers are ready to drop.
Standing in a jug of stale drink
they’ve all about reached a steepening patch
on the curve of decay. Their dark-eyed
flameheads raddle at the tips and close
then, lax as pulp or crape, they start to droop
on thick eyestalks. That mad Dutchman
who crammed his mouth with the chrome yellow
he used by the tubeful to paint them
made toxic lead his edible gold.
Their gold now lead, the sunflowers turn
towards the black sun of the earth.
Their time has gone. Their big leaves drape
and darken round them like a field of crows.
(From Ink Stone, 2003)
At the time of his first impact, Marlon Brando was a joke figure to any cinema-goer who wanted the face on screen to say the words so that they could be understood. Still of a tender age, I was included in the number of those who scorned the Brando mumble, although his physical appeal immediately worked its influence, so that in my slouching attitude and the area of my curled lip I was sometimes hard to distinguish from the original: or so I fancied. Doubts that Brando had any capacity for clear speech whatsoever were cleverly put to rest when he starred as Mark Antony in a Hollywood Julius Caesar directed by Joseph Mankiewicz in 1953. There could be no doubt that John Gielgud and James Mason (as Cassius and Brutus respectively) amounted to an Anglo-voiced double act that left Brando sounding short of aged-in-the-wood sonority.