The Weekend Australian - Review - - Viewpoints -

IN his cover story ( Re­view , March 8- 9) Michael Bodey writes: ‘‘ If Life of Brian isn’t the great­est filmed com­edy, it comes a close sec­ond to Billy Wilder’s Some Like It Hot ( al­though Dr Strangelove has its sup­port­ers).’’ The great­est filmed com­edy is Duck Soup , made in 1933, di­rected by Leo McCarey and star­ring the Marx Brothers, to whom the Pythons owe a debt. The film is fun­nier and more sub­ver­sive than Life of Brian and Some Like it Hot , and more satir­i­cal than Dr Strangelove . As for the best last line, even fun­nier than Some Like It Hot is Marie Dressler’s fi­nal with­er­ing re­tort to Jean Har­low in Ge­orge Cukor’s Din­ner at Eight ( also made in 1933), surely the great­est put- down in the his­tory of cin­ema. Ge­of­frey Atkins Tu­art Hill, West­ern Aus­tralia YES, Justin Cle­mens ( Books , March 1- 2), some kinds of ro­man­ti­cism ‘‘ be­gan as revo­lu­tion’’, and some kinds of ro­man­ti­cism sur­vive ‘‘ to­day as a kind of po­etic and po­lit­i­cal con­ser­vatism’’. And it may be a fair ac­count of David Malouf’s Re­volv­ing Days: Se­lected Po­ems to sug­gest that the poet’s work aims ‘‘ to con­serve, to pre­serve what has passed in the ir­re­vo­ca­bil­ity of its loss’’. But there are other kinds of ro­man­ti­cism that never pre­tended to the weak­ness of revo­lu­tion and never col­lapsed into the deca­dence of ‘‘ the sober car­ni­val of shat­tered time’’. Th­ese other kinds of ro­man­ti­cism per­sist in the or­di­nary stum­bling ways of vi­sion, imag­i­na­tion and the dis­clos­ing of what is and what is there. Keith Rus­sell May­field West, NSW FRANK Camp­bell ( Fo­rum , March 1- 2) be­gins his piece, ‘‘ If the past is an­other coun­try . . .’’ I see this phrase used sur­pris­ingly of­ten by jour­nal­ists and as­sume they are quot­ing L. P. Hart­ley’s open­ing sen­tence from his novel The Go- Be­tween . If so, may I point out that the cor­rect sen­tence is: ‘‘ The past is a for­eign coun­try: they do things dif­fer­ently there.’’ Karen Gildea Mooloolaba, Queens­land

Grou­cho Marx AT last! I could hardly be­lieve it: some­one has man­aged to pro­duce Re­view cor­rectly folded. No longer will I have to drag my wife’s iron­ing board out of the closet and iron my beloved Re­view into a man­age­able, cor­rect shape, as I have done for a num­ber of years now. I once had the im­per­ti­nence to com­plain about this ( five years ago), but was told that ‘‘ we are work­ing on it, it’s some­thing to do with the presses that is be­yond our con­trol’’. To all con­cerned: well done! Lau­rie Cun­ning­ham Trar­al­gon, Vic­to­ria SO­PHIE Staughton ( This Life, March 1- 2) is ob­vi­ously at the coal­face of ev­ery­thing at the mo­ment on the sub­ject of the in­ter­ven­tion. A few col­umns such as this of­fer a com­pletely dif­fer­ent per­spec­tive to those of us liv­ing in com­fort­able sub­ur­bia. Chris­tine Shaw Downer, ACT

Write to re­view@ theaus­tralian. com. au

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