HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
 
Newest Reviews
Man Standing Next, The
Rock, Paper and Scissors
Batman: The Long Halloween Part One
Salaam Bombay!
Boss Level
My Heart Can't Beat Unless You Tell It To
Edge of the World
PTU
Superdeep
Insignificance
Treasure City
Piccadilly
Parallel
Invasión
Shiva Baby
Flowers of Shanghai
War and Peace
Agony
Merrily We Go to Hell
Ellie & Abbie (& Ellie's Dead Aunt)
Amusement Park, The
Lemebel
Hands of Orlac, The
Cats
Death has Blue Eyes
Caveat
Kala Azar
Duplicate
Flashback
Gunda
After Love
Earwig and the Witch
Zebra Girl
Skull: The Mask
Vanquish
Bank Job
Drunk Bus
Homewrecker
State Funeral
Army of the Dead
   
 
Newest Articles
That Ol' Black Magic: Encounter of the Spooky Kind on Blu-ray
She's Evil! She's Brilliant! Basic Instinct on Blu-ray
Hong Kong Dreamin': World of Wong Kar Wai on Blu-ray
Buckle Your Swash: The Devil-Ship Pirates on Blu-ray
Way of the Exploding Fist: One Armed Boxer on Blu-ray
A Lot of Growing Up to Do: Fast Times at Ridgemont High on Blu-ray
Oh My Godard: Masculin Feminin on Blu-ray
Let Us Play: Play for Today Volume 2 on Blu-ray
Before The Matrix, There was Johnny Mnemonic: on Digital
More Than Mad Science: Karloff at Columbia on Blu-ray
Indian Summer: The Darjeeling Limited on Blu-ray
3 from 1950s Hollyweird: Dr. T, Mankind and Plan 9
Meiko Kaji's Girl Gangs: Stray Cat Rock on Arrow
Having a Wild Weekend: Catch Us If You Can on Blu-ray
The Drifters: Star Lucie Bourdeu Interview
Meiko Kaji Behind Bars: Female Prisoner Scorpion on Arrow
The Horror of the Soviets: Viy on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Tarka the Otter and The Belstone Fox
Network Double Bills: All Night Long and Ballad in Blue
Chew Him Up and Spit Him Out: Romeo is Bleeding on Blu-ray
British Body Snatchers: They Came from Beyond Space on Blu-ray
Bzzzt: Pulse on Blu-ray
The Tombs Will Be Their Cities: Demons and Demons 2 on Arrow
Somebody Killed Her Husband: Charade on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Maroc 7 and Invasion
   
 
  All Creatures Great and Small Animal Magic
Year: 1974
Director: Claude Whatham
Stars: Simon Ward, Anthony Hopkins, Lisa Harrow, Brian Stirner, Brenda Bruce, Christine Buckley, John Collin, Jane Collins, Harold Goodwin, Freddie Jones, Doreen Mantle, T.P. McKenna, John Nettleton, Daphne Oxenford, Bert Palmer, John Rees, Jenny Runacre
Genre: Comedy, Drama, BiopicBuy from Amazon
Rating:  5 (from 1 vote)
Review: Yorkshire, 1937, and newly graduated veterinarian James Herriott (Simon Ward) arrives for a job interview with Siegrfried Farnon (Anthony Hopkins), hoping to be able to look after the farm animals of the local countryside there. But Siegfried acts almost casually towards him, instead of offering him that interview he tells him he has a case to see and takes James along with him. It's a horse with a bad hoof, and James correctly diagnoses the problem and offers the solution, wondering when the interview will start, so it is with great surprise he learns he has the job already.

Here's a film that was almost completely eclipsed by its television version, as it was from James Herriott's semi-autobiographical books that the famous BBC series All Creatures Great and Small came from. It's safe to say nothing in the film incarnation had anything like the impact of that, not least because the opening title sequence on the small screen was one of the greatest scene setters in television history, so no matter what had followed that was sure to have been a hit with viewers: think of it, James and Siegfried driving through the Dales, sharing a joke, as the twinkling theme tune merrily played, it was peerless in that regard.

So when you watch this film, even if the TV show had escaped your notice, the sense of it being carried out competently but without the real nostalgic style of what succeeded it was very much to the fore, and if you could not imagine anyone but Christopher Timothy in the role of James then you were going to see this as nothing but a second place substitute, in spite of this getting there first. It was a production set in motion by Americans who saw this as, prophetically, ideal for television showings, though it played in cinemas throughout the world, including Britain, thus establishing there was a market for the books in other media, and leading to a sequel a couple of years later without Ward and Hopkins.

But for a story that many think of as twee and quaint, there wasn't half a tetchy tone to Herriott's adventures in this reading, as if the whole cast were about to erupt into volcanic arguments at the drop of a hat. Everyone here was in some state of bad temper at some point or other, some from beginning to end, so Siegfried loses it with his brother Tristan (Brian Stirner), Freddie Jones is a menacing farmer who James cannot prove has faked the death by lightning of one of his cows, and most notably our hero's love interest (Lisa Harrow) rubs him up the wrong way on their big date, leaving their relationship to be put on the back burner for much of the plot until they set aside their differences and we get something akin to a happy ending.

For most, it would be the attraction of seeing the rolling scenery and the animals which would hold the strongest appeal, and there was an abundance of both. Ward had the rites of passage of any actor playing a farm vet in that he had to stick his arm up the back end one of those creatures, once humorously in this case, and next more seriously, but mostly the beasts were there to coo over, even if the script did its best to present the situations with some degree of realism, so some animals died. Tricky-Woo didn't, however, the Pekinese seared into the memories of all who watched the TV programme, and here making a good show of himself as the pampered pet of one of the richer locals. In the main the period detail was neatly evoked, the cast did well enough even if the red mist was frequently threatening to descend on their characters, but this All Creatures Great and Small was always going to be an afterthought once the Beeb had their way. Music by Wilfred Josephs, though you'll be longing for the theme tune.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 2848 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star probably has psychic powers?
Laurence Fishburne
Nicolas Cage
Anya Taylor-Joy
Patrick Stewart
Sissy Spacek
Michelle Yeoh
Aubrey Plaza
Tom Cruise
Beatrice Dalle
Michael Ironside
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Darren Jones
Enoch Sneed
  Desbris M
Andrew Pragasam
  Paul Tuersley
  Chris Garbutt
  Sdfadf Rtfgsdf
   

 

Last Updated: