Donald Clarke

Whingeing about cinema and real life since 2009

Why is Skyfall the biggest film ever in Britain?

Well, firstly, it’s not. As any bore will tell you, the biggest film ever in the UK — in terms of tickets sold — is still Gone with the Wind. As a BFI chart showed recently, the likes of Avatar and …

Mon, Dec 10, 2012, 18:38

   
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Well, firstly, it’s not. As any bore will tell you, the biggest film ever in the UK — in terms of tickets sold — is still Gone with the Wind. As a BFI chart showed recently, the likes of Avatar and Titanic still have to some way to go to catch up with the now-forgotten Anna Neagle weepy Spring in Park Lane and the always-welcome Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.

It is, however, official. The latest James Bond film has taken more at the UK box-office than any film in history. I am just a little baffled. It was certainly better than Quantum of Solace. Monkeys with camera phones have, however, made better films than that atrocity. But it must be conceded that the film has connected with people. Kudos should be directed towards Barbara Broccoli and the good people at EON pictures. That firm made a brave decision when — to use a degraded term — they rebooted Bond for Casino Royale. Then they screwed it up again. The courage to go back, breathe deeply, refocus and employ a proper director has been proven worthwhile.

It has also worked out well for Mendes. He hasn’t had a great time of it recently. Revolutionary Road didn’t reproduce the dynamics of Richard Yates’s gripping book. Then Ms Winslet moved out. What are you going to do? Make the most successful film ever in your home country. That’s what. There’s nothing he can’t do now.

Mind you, it seems the late Pete Walsh shared my faint bafflement at the advance of Skyfall. We have just returned from the former programmer of the IFI’s remembrance service. It was revealed that one of the last films he saw was the Bond adventure. He was pretty underwhelmed, but thought the end was “interesting”. I’d go with that.

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