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The glass may be half empty but it will contain good whiskey. I write film reviews for http://www.scannain.com/ , say hi and we can debate films forever and ever and ever...... Warning this blog may contain more than just film talk.

Monday, 13 June 2011

Film Review - I Can't...I Can't aka Wedding Night (1969)


For my first review this is a fascinating place to start. Not shown in Ireland since it was made in 1969, the Irish Film Institute (IFI) showed a copy from it's archive on Saturday last which I was privileged to attend. The writer of the film, Lee Dunne was in attendance and gave a brief interview before the screening. It was an illuminating chat, in which he revealed that he still had not seen the film and that along with the film, several of his books had been banned at the time. It was within this context that the film was shown. The verdict?

I Can't...I Can't tells the tale of Mady (Tessa Wyatt), a young Irish Catholic bride who is devastated when her pregnant mother miscarries and dies on her wedding day. Because of flashbacks to her childhood witnessing her father’s lust, she refuses to consummate her own marriage to Joe (Dennis Waterman). Inevitably for an contemporary audience who are used to a lot more adult content in cinema, the controversial elements of this film now seem very tame. Indeed several of the scenes in which sex and birth control were discussed induced laughter in the audience. It is maybe worth pointing out that the Irish Family Planning Association was fined in court for selling condoms in the Virgin Megastore in Dublin as recently as 1991, so maybe as a nation we might not be as far along as we think.

The film itself is full of some classic Irish stereotypes, such as the interfering local priest and the weak father. The acting in the film and the film score combine for an over the top melodramatic effect. It has also dated very badly, with the scenes at the disco in 'swinging' London looking particularly dated. The budget of the film could only have been minuscule as there are no establishing shots of either Dublin or London. But despite it shortcomings, it is a film I am glad to have seen. It also has a nicely done slightly ambiguous freeze framing ending, which leaves the viewer in some doubt as to the films resolution.

But I will leave the last word to the film's writer Lee Dunne who stood up at the end of the screening and thanked everyone for not leaving. No chance of that happening with such a worthwhile and rare screening.

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