Withnail & I – 25 Years On « The Global Dispatches
For those of mature years who love Withnail & I, the real surprise of that anniversary figure is Love & relationships . at their mother's teat when it opened in the West End will be roaring along to it for the first time) The New England couple who read the film as profoundly sad were not altogether wide of . I've come to contemplate the last monologue of Withnail's in Withnail and I. As you probably all know, it's from Shakespeare's Hamlet, said by Hamlet himself. Withnail and I is a British black comedy film written and directed by Bruce Robinson. . The end of the novel saw Withnail committing suicide by pouring a bottle of wine into the barrel of Monty's gun . In , McGann said that he sometimes meets viewers who believe the film was actually shot in the s, saying "It.
Was screenplay writer and director, Bruce Robinson, aware of what he was doing? This is what us Brits do best, of course. Take the darkest of situations and turn them into gold, but I wonder if he knew he was creating what I think is fair to say, the greatest British Cult Film of all-time? There are no women in this film. Is this a problem? Dry wit, sarcasm and absurdity rues the day. To have injected a female role would have spoiled the dynamic.
Indeed, Marwood plays a feminine role of sorts, and both he and Withnail are subjected to toxic masculinity before this was defined throughout. This was a sign of homosexuality for sure.
And, he has no qualms about throwing his friend under the bus to do so, which does make you wonder why Marwood stuck by him at all? Head hunter to his friends. Head hunter to everybody.
The only people he converses with are his clients and occasionally the police. The purveyor of rare herbs and prescribed chemicals is back. Will we ever be set free? Danny the Dealer Ralph Brown is an unwanted but needed presence in their lives. He arrives uninvited and takes root in their flat, bringing with him his new business prototype, a doll stuffed with pills. Anyone who has ever lived this lifestyle knows how true it is that people just turn up and never leave it seems.
No, they seemed to be as hard to get hold of as D. Cooper when you needed them. Nevertheless, it is during our introduction to Danny that we become aware of the protectiveness that Marwood has for Withnail. Uncle Monty Richard Griffith is beloved by fans. Rotund has never been used more appropriately than to describe his physique. Monty is wealthy, lives in a luxurious Chelsea house, drives a Rolls Royce, and is painfully and hilariously melodramatic.
His cat drives him to the brink of faux insanity. He takes a shine to Marwood immediately. This is certainly egged on by Withnail once again using his friend as a pawn, this time to get them the keys to his cottage in the Lake District, where they can sit down to enjoy their holiday. The film changes so much from this point on.
Marwood drives as Withnail gets increasingly drunk and passes out, leaving Marwood to navigate the now dark wilderness in severe gales. I have travelled that path many a time. My eldest brother has lived in Cumbria for the majority of his adult life, so the trip is nostalgic to me. There is something quite stunning and melancholic as you suddenly enter this part of the country, as almost without warning the hills get steeper, the stone of the buildings changes to thick dark grey blocks, sheep appear from nowhere — not quite as many as in my homeland of Wales, but still a sudden onslaught of the buggers.
You feel like you are crossing the border into a different time, an air of battle and surviving tough winters still lingers. It turns out not to be the dream holiday that Marwood and Withnail were hoping for.
Withnail and I: A Lifetime of Friendship
There is no fuel for the fire, no electricity. The rain is pouring as it often does in that part of England and you can almost feel the dampness creeping into your bones, stiffening you up. Marwood, however, snaps straight into survival mode, doing his best to find wood for the fire and keep them alive until morning.
Despite their situation, he remains positive and the next morning embraces the countryside he wakes up in, admiring the beauty of the landscape and the romanticism of small village life. It becomes increasingly clear that Withnail has no intention whatsoever in using the break to sober up or enjoy the fresh air and the outdoors. Instead, he sleeps whilst Marwood does all the work. Marwood becomes increasingly fed up, and after slipping and becoming covered in mud, finally snaps and drags Withnail up and outside to help him find food from the local farmer.
Moments of farcical hilarity ensue — the pair have to kill and then cook a live chicken, get into an altercation with a randy bull, and once again Withnail totally throws Marwood to the wolves by antagonising the local poacher and neglecting to tell him that Uncle Monty would be arriving to come and stay with them during the trip.
Monty turns up in the middle of the night, finding Marwood and Withnail in bed together. The cowardly Withnail huddled in fear hiding behind Marwood, thinking that Jake the Poacher was coming for them. For Marwood, Monty becomes something far scarier than Jake ever was.
To get the cottage, Withnail stretched the truth somewhat. He tells Monty that Withnail is ashamed of his sexuality but the two of them are deeply in love really, and Monty reluctantly agrees to give up pursuing him. The battered factor even adds to the appeal. Marwood wears a medallion of the Virgin around his neck. The plot of the film is effectively that two out-of-work actors go on holiday and things happen to them, eventually resulting in their parting Red Oni, Blue Oni: Withnail is the energetic, impulsive red to Marwood's cool and reflective blue.
The film's low-key style makes it look much more like something made in thanto the extent that some viewers Revised Ending: The ending would originally have had Withnail putting a gun in his mouth and pulling the trigger.
It was changed to be not so completely depressing. As any Troper who has flatted can attest, this is very much Truth in Television. The movie is extremely dedicated to showing Paul McGann in various states of undress every few minutes.
Small Name, Big Ego: Withnail believes himself to be a great actor despite having done virtually no work in the field. His final scene, however, in which he delivers a word-perfect Hamlet soliloquy with spot-on characterisation and emotion, may prove him right. Smart People Know Latin: Withnail and Monty engage in some prep-school Latin badinage at the less highly educated Marwood's expense. So Beautiful, It's a Curse: Poor Marwood garners unwanted attentions from Uncle Monty thanks to his extraordinary good looks.
Withnail is sloshed throughout and trying to maintain his very much imperilled dignity. In common with a good many Londoners, Danny has rhotacism, an inability to pronounce the letter 'r'. In his case it's extreme and sometimes extends to the letter 'l'. The joint I am about to woll wequires a cwaftsman, and can utilise up to twewve skins.Sad short story
It is cawwed a Camberweww Cawwot. It's impossible to use twelve papers on one joint. It's impossibwe to make a Camberweww Cawwot with anything less.
The protagonists are out-of-work actors with barely a penny to their name.
More of a drinker flick than anything. As noted elsewhere, the only thing more notorious than the rules of the popular drinking game match Withnail and Marwood drink for drink over the course of the film is the fact that attempting to play the drinking game will land you in the hospital with alcohol poisoning. However, due to the film's popularity with students, many people try: Marwood plays a pitch-perfect straight man to Withnail, grounding his manic performance in a solid emotional reality; the film wouldn't work nearly as well as it does without him.
Stupid Statement Dance Mix: Monty restores domestic order to the house, but terrorises Marwood with his advances.
Withnail and I: A Lifetime of Friendship – 25YL
All four share it, with varying results. He moves out, and is accompanied to the railway station by Withnail, who for the first time appears vulnerable. But Marwood is in a hurry to catch his train and declines. Marwood is going somewhere, and Withnail is watching him go. But the appeal of the film has little to do with the plot, being instead based on two central pillars: Younger fans usually students are often living through that part of early adulthood that is pock-marked with wrong turns, false dawns, lack of money, and no road-map for life.
But those who have enjoyed conventional success, without episodes of disorder and hopelessness along the way, may find it harder to connect with the film, and many are bewildered by its critical acclaim and its still-growing popularity.
When the production company refused to finance one section the road trip back to LondonRobinson paid for the scenes out of his own pocket. The first test screening was a fiasco. The PR company recruited a youthful audience, ushered in from the streets of central London, who sat through the movie in silence.
Robinson was terrified that he had made a turkey, but then discovered that the audience was made up of visiting German students who spoke no English.
Withnail & I (Film) - TV Tropes
He fired the PR company. The humour had passed them by, but their observation was still valid. The film is set innear the end of the year, the decade, and the era. The sense of loss, of things coming to an end, is palpable.
In one scene a wrecking ball demolishes some period houses, reflecting a time when London was still mostly at a low ebb, with a contracting population and widespread dereliction. Withnail himself is coming to the end of his 20s, with a CV uncluttered by roles. Off-screen, Richard E Grant had been out of work for the better part of a year, clocking up numerous rejections on the back of increasingly desperate auditions.
The music complements the different moods of the film, often sad and wistful, occasionally more aggressive. Well-chosen music from another dead man, Jimi Hendrix, features on the two road trips in the film, which proved to be fortunate timing, as the Hendrix estate subsequently forbade his work to be used to project benign images of drink or drug abuse.
Acerbic remarks are sprayed around indiscriminately. The journey from London to Cumbria allows him time and space to vent on those he spots through the car window: Monty, though now apparently affluent, is himself an ex actor and recalls his own difficulties finding work through his agent: He regrets that he will never play the Dane.
There are elements of hope.
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The comparatively sensible Marwood does secure a role that might in turn lead to something else. Marwood may well emerge with the prospect of a career, but the same happy ending cannot be predicted for Withnail.
This was deemed too dark even for this film, but the viewer is under no illusions that Withnail is not destined to come to a good end. Withnail is based partly on the up-market and highly intelligent Vivian MacKerrell, a larger-than-life drama school contemporary and flatmate of Robinson, who would stand at bar counters entertaining a wide circle of admirers.
He regarded his own family with indifference, though he did take a keen interest in the health of elderly relatives, hoping for inheritances. With the population of the flat rising steadily, he decided to move out, but generously allowed the current residents to continue living there, before subsequently and probably wisely selling it.