HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
 
Newest Reviews
Dreams on Fire
Sing as We Go!
Burnt Orange Heresy, The
Craft Legacy, The
Eye of the Storm
Inflatable Sex Doll of the Wastelands
Where No Vultures Fly
Come True
Kagemusha
Justine
Poly Styrene: I Am a Cliché
Madchen in Uniform
Fire Will Come
Suspect
Jailbreak Pact
News of the World
Dementer
Beyond Clueless
Stylist, The
Sky is On Fire, The
Wrong Turn
In a Year with 13 Moons
Blush
Strange Affair of Uncle Harry, The
Sinners, The
Tammy and the T-Rex
Archenemy
Zappa
Mindwarp
State Secret
Mogul Mowgli
Owners, The
Twentieth Century, The
Story of Gilbert and Sullivan, The
What Lies Below
Greenland
Broil
Dead Pigs
Willy's Wonderland
It's in the Air
   
 
Newest Articles
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
Network Double Bills: The Best of Benny Hill and The Likely Lads
Network Double Bills: Some Girls Do and Deadlier Than the Male
Absolutely Bananas: Link on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Hawk the Slayer and The Medusa Touch
The Price of Plague: The Masque of the Red Death on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Seance on a Wet Afternoon and Ring of Spies
Chaney Chillers: Inner Sanctum Mysteries - The Complete Film Series on Blu-ray
Adelphi Extras: Stars in Your Eyes on Blu-ray
Toons for the Heads: Fantastic Planet and Adult Animation
Nature Girl: The New World on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Perfect Friday and Robbery
Network Double Bills: The House in Nightmare Park and The Man Who Haunted Himself
Newley Minted: The Strange World of Gurney Slade on Blu-ray
Bad Love: The Night Porter on Blu-ray
Brevity is the Soul of Weird: Short Sharp Shocks on Blu-ray
Get Your Ass to Mars: Total Recall on Blu-ray
Call the Professionals: Le Cercle Rouge on Blu-ray
When There's No More Room in Hell: Dawn of the Dead on Blu-ray
The Butterfly Effect: Mothra on Blu-ray
   
 
  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 2687 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
  Chris Garbutt
  Sdfadf Rtfgsdf
Darren Jones
Andrew Pragasam
Stately Wayne Manor
Enoch Sneed
  Geraint Morgan
   

 

Last Updated: