Skip’s Quips: Assorted Ramblings on ‘Watership Down’

Blog Sketch 082813Why I don’t have certain classic movies on DVD at home is beyond me.

Watership Down is one of those missing from my rather lackluster collection. Why? This great, un-Disney-esque cartoon about the (often-scary) trials and tribulations of a migrating rabbit colony is one of my favorite animated features, yet for some reason, I don’t have it at home for my viewing pleasure. And sometimes I get a hankering for it – the atmospheric mythology of the bunnies, the expert vocal performances of actors ranging from John Hurt to Zero Mostel, the evocative score by Angela Morley. It’s a unique film, the type of thing that they don’t make anymore … in part because it’s sometimes very bloody (strange for a cartoon of that era) and certainly not for children. But it’s tremendously moving, and it’s got a lot to offer viewers open to something new and different.

I only read part of the novel by Richard Adams on which the movie was based, so I’m not sure how true to the book it was. A great film, however, stands on its own, in my opinion, and Watership Down does exactly that. At some point, I do expect to buy the DVD for myself. But first I must catch it.

Sorry. A bit of ill-chosen rabbity humor, there. I’ll stop now while I’m behind.

Setter’s ‘Spectives: A Modest Small-Screen Proposal

Setter Drawing for Blog 082613Any reason why we can’t have the all-Kurosawa channel?

We have action on demand. Drama on call.

Well, I want to snap my fingers and have The Seven Samurai appear on my TV instantly.

I get hankerings all the time for this glorious, seminal movie. And it seems to be rarely on. When it is, it’s often at a time when I’m not available–like at three in the morning or 18 billion, trillion o’clock in the afternoon.

Why don’t I just get the DVD and stop complaining? OK, I’ll tell you. There’s something really organic about turning on the telly and finding a movie you like. It’s satisfying.

Satisfying in the way that getting up to put a DVD in the player isn’t.

Fine, I’m lazy. But it doesn’t change the fact that I adore this Kurosawa classic. Which means I also scoff at the 1960 American remake, a poor imitation that removes the vital class distinctions pervading the original (samurai versus farmers) while adding more guns–weapons that make such a difference in its Japanese progenitor–and subtracting most of the character development.

If I could have The Seven Samurai broadcast to my brain personally on a 24-hour basis, I’d do it.

An all-Kurosawa channel, admittedly, might not make financial sense. But maybe … an all-jidai geki station? Bring me the popcorn.

I know I wouldn’t be the only audience member.