Stephen Poliakoff’s Glorious 39

15 thoughts on “Stephen Poliakoff’s Glorious 39”

  1. Thanks, Gerry. His problem is he’s too clever for some. I think his work is magical and wish City Sugar would be revived:

    And just to add… I think one important detail directors get wrong in work about the olden days (when you and I were just sprogs or even twinkles in someone’s eyes) is that the world was tighter lipped. A key qualification for some on screen these days would appear to be a Botox certificate.

  2. For me, the whole point of GLORIOUS 39 can be boiled down to a few sentences:

    1) If they loved her and trusted her, they would have let her into the “secret” of their appeasement very early on and assumed that she would place loyalty to her family ahead of her political ideals. This would have been logical behaviour.

    2) If they didn’t love or trust her, they would have had her killed to silence her (rather than slaughtering her confidantes willy-nilly but still taking pains to keep her alive). Again, this would have been logical behaviour.

    3) If they were part of a grand conspiracy which involved their storing recordings of illegal interrogations, surely they would have placed these in locked iron boxes, rather than leaving them as mislabelled gramophone records out on open access where anyone could accidentally pick them up and have a listen?

    Once one acknowledges the truth of these statements, the film falls to pieces.

    1. I know what you mean, VanDee, but I don’t think Poliakoff is a realist – instead he paints in metaphors and symbols (eg, the special facilities tasked with the mass slaughter of loved family pets). Ken Loach, he ain’t. If you can go with that, his dramas are pointed – and very enjoyable.

  3. I adore Poliakoff’s work and, although not my absolute favourite, thoroughly enjoyed Glorious 39, though I confess that I had to look away when she went into that shed at the vets! But for another throw of the die …

  4. I’ve just watched Glorious 39 on my Sky box, which managed to cut the film off a few minutes from the end. It had reached the point where, in the present day, Michael’s mother had pushed Michael’s grandmother in the wheelchair along the path to meet the ageing Walter, and Michael had identified the two women to Walter.

    What happened then, please?

    1. Michael’s grandmother (who is now identified as Anne Keys, the adopted daughter with gipsy origins) speaks and says something like – at long last, I am reconciled with my family. Sorry I can’t be more precise – that’s all you missed – her one line which I hope I got the gist of.

    2. just go to you tube and google Glorious 39, somebody put the whole movie in 13 parts. just go to 13th one, it starts in the office, when Michaels asks them to say hello to his mother. Had the same problem with sky – recorded it and it cut before he said her name! Stupid Sky. Decided to try you tube today and voila! It’s all there. Bless the internet!

  5. Thanks for pointing me to Youtube, Sara and Gerry. That did the trick beautifully!

    By the way, if anyone doubts that there was an “underground” anti-Churchill appeasement movement in the UK, long after the war had started, I’d recommend “Double Standards” by Lynn Picknett, Clive Prince and Stephen Prior. (ISBN 0-7515-3220-7.) It’s quite an eye opener, even if some of it needs to be taken with a pinch of salt. There’s no suggestion of anyone being bumped off though!

  6. I’m just getting to grips with how this site works, so I apologise for leaving a comment that has nothing to do with the film being discussed and is almost certainly in the wromng place, but has “A Good Year” (the film, not the rather bland book on which the film was based) been discussed? It took a hammering by the critics and bombed at the box office, but it’s one of my favourites. Perhaps that’s because I love Provence! (Or perhaps it’s because I’m a sucker for a happy ending and no violence.)

  7. Stupid Film. Telling a story in metaphors only works when there is a simultaneous second story running–where is the story? All we get is metaphors that fall apart without structure. A very beautiful photograph or poem–but not a film.

    What has happened to just telling a story?

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