Magazine article The Spectator

Diary: Joan Collins

Magazine article The Spectator

Diary: Joan Collins

Article excerpt

Every year, from mid-November to mid-January, dozens of DVDs drop through my letterbox. These are most of the movie releases of the past year. It is with great anticipation that I tear open the yellow padded envelopes from Sony or Disney or The Weinstein Company, and even from companies I've never heard of; but invariably it's with disappointment that I scan the hundreds of titles unknown to me, and I do read Screen Daily and the Hollywood Reporter . I'm amazed that the production companies manage to finance some of these films. I know from whence I speak. However, snuggled up on the sofa in the days before Christmas I dutifully watch all the films in preparation to vote in the Bafta and Academy Awards. It's like training for a marathon. It takes discipline, alertness, focus and stamina. Sadly, too many of the films I've seen this month are deeply dark and depressing, featuring either angst-ridden fortyish women or angry teenagers and endless silent 'establishing takes' (those interminable 'mood' shots that new directors are so fond of but I think are simply... how is it our dear Foreign Secretary Boris put it? A man from Ankara?). Let's have no more of these time-wasters. I can understand very quickly where the plot point of a shot is headed and have no desire to gaze for more than a few seconds upon the leafy autumn sunshine, or be reduced to counting the wrinkles on an anxious hero's face. I'd much rather it ended after 90 minutes and I could think: 'Well, that was fun.'

Oh, for the days of Gene Kelly and Fred Astaire musicals, of marvellous dramas like Sunset Boulevard and All About Eve and of comedies like Some Like it Hot and The Apartment . Sadly Billy Wilder is no longer with us. He knew how to write a memorable ending right down to his epitaph: 'He was a writer. But then again, nobody's perfect.'

We put up our Christmas tree earlier that usual, inspired by all the decorations in the shop windows and their fantastical designs. Opting to save the planet, we recycled our old faux tree. (Yes, I do have a frugal side.) Besides, it gives Percy endless hours of fun trying to get the lights to work again. (Being Peruvian and Scottish, he is genetically predisposed to frugality.) I must admit it looked beautiful with the decorations, so I tweeted a picture with the caption 'Have I peaked too early? …

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