Sunday, 7 August 2011

Set in the freezing Welsh borders...

I did not make it to any car-boot sales today, but I did go to the saturday flea-market yesterday, where I came upon this wonderful title.

The main car-boot here around Bath is held on a wind-swept plateau about three miles north of the city, which has been a race-course since the early 18th century. I heard that - at last Sunday's event - there was a huge queue of traffic still waiting to get in at 4.00 p.m. so not wishing to get out of bed was not my only excuse for not going today.

A couple of weeks ago, John mentioned some titles of Powell and Pressburger films that I had never seen, so I immediately got onto the net and ordered all of them. 'The 49th Parallel' was the first to arrive, and a fine film it is too. The last to arrive was a copy of 'Gone to Earth', because it was sent from Korea. There were British and American copies of the same flick on offer, but they started at about £25, and the American ones were all set at about £45! The Korean one was £3, plus £1 postage, and I didn't feel bad about not giving Mr Powell his little royalty, since he has been dead for many years now, and the film was shot in the 1940s anyway.

Right - now listen up, you Yanks who are reading this. What makes you think that you can charge about 20 times more for any item on eBay, then charge about 5 times more to post it to Britain than it actually costs you? There are books on offer from the USA for about £190 which sell in this country for about £20. Why do you bother to post them up on the UK eBay site? One would think that the present state of the U.S. economy meant that bargains are to be had from that part of North America, but the reverse seems to be true. Are all the booksellers and antique dealers in the U.S. stark, staring mad?! Do they work on the principal that it only takes one mug to buy an item per month to make posting it up on the U.K. site worthwhile?!

Anyway, after about a week, 'Gone to Earth' arrived at our compact and adorable city apartment, and we settled down that evening to watch it. The Shropshire countryside appeared in glorious Technicolor (T.M.) and as the opening sequence began, Jennifer Jones ran across the windswept landscape with a pet fox under her arm and rushed into the little cottage on the hillside to her father, who was busy making a coffin in the gloom of the peasant's hovel.

Then the DVD froze.

You should have heard the language that issued from my mouth as I ejected the disc, returned it to the iMac, pressed the 'resume playing' button, only to have it freeze in exactly the same place as before.

Luckily, I didn't use any of that language when I sent an email to the polite and helpful Korean man who sold me the disc, but I did threaten to send him a negative if he didn't rectify the situation faster than it was humanly possible so to do, given that he was in Korea and I am in Britain.

The poor man sent me a profuse apology that very evening, and promised to send another copy to me immediately.

Yesterday, the disc arrived in the post - under a week since the original had, and we settled down after dinner last night to watch it.

The credits rolled down the screen, Jennifer Jones picked up the juvenile fox in the lurid landscape - talking to it in an amalgam of the worst English/Welsh/Scottish accents I have ever heard coming from the mouth of an American actress - rushed across the moorland and into her father's little cottage to find him making a coffin in the gloom of the peasant's hovel....

... then the DVD froze.


  1. I was hoping to hear about the Ladyboys.

    Sounds like you've bin done!

  2. Well, to be fair, he has agreed to send me a different DVD of my choice, and I have just chosen Antonioni's 'The Cry', which H.I. has always wanted to watch, but never has. Let's hope it doesn't freeze half way through.

    I never got any further than the cover of the Ladyboy Story - I didn't want to be disappointed, temperate as I am.

  3. It sounds like he is burning from a master copy, but the burning software is only allowing part of the movie to transfer. It could be an imbedded copyright, security, whatever, and he doesn't know it is happening because he does't watch the copies. I know all this because I know the biggest tech head in the universe.

    I had a bad ebay experience. I sold a drawing and sent it out. Then I bought something on ebay with the earned cash. My purchase still hasn't been delivered almost two weeks later. Kind of upsetting. I always check the seller's rating too. Guess they're not always correct.

  4. Two weeks, Amy is but a mere blink of an eye in ebay world...

    ...I've been waiting over six months for my blow-up ladyboy.

    Fucking Korean's.

  5. Consider yourself spared, Tom. Mary Webb's book was one of those spoofed in Cold Comfort Farm.

  6. I was only spared the 1st chapter, Cher.

  7. 'Gone to Earth' was filmed just a few miles from where we live. Mary Webb has a couple of local places (library and school)and roads named after her. My favourite book of all time is her 'Precious Bane' I've not read 'Gone to Earth' but I love her poetry. She died in 1927 when she was just 46 and was buried in Shrewsbury Cemetery

  8. Loved the book and I have to say Tom I loved the film when it first came out all those years ago. Sorry about the freezing though.

  9. Gone to earth was poorly reviewed although I liked it ( I am a huge Jennifer Jones fan)
    49th is a cracking "boys own" movie
    glad you liked it

  10. If it is any consolation (hm, doubtful), the film was rubbish: not only wooden acting, but California standing in for 'the 'blue, remembered hills' of Shropshire really didn't work either!
    Suggest you report the salesman to Trading Standards.