Lord of the Rings

“Genesis 17:24. Abraham was 99 years old when the flesh of his foreskin was cut off.”

A scene from The Brick Testament by Brendan Powell Smith, which illustrates Bible tales with Legos. Walmart-owned Sam’s Club pulled ten thousand copies of the book version off its shelves last week, issuing this statement:

“After selling this specific version online and in several club locations, we received numerous concerns from members and parents about the mature content for a perceived children’s book. Sam’s Club made a business decision to discontinue sales of ‘The Brick Bible’.”

But Smith is a step ahead of them — his website includes this warning: “The Bible contains material some may consider morally objectionable and/or inappropriate for children.”


Very funny and, in its way, trenchant site.

BTW. Any of you people seen The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp? We’re in the middle of it now and OMFG. An extraordinary mix of propaganda, nostalgia for an empire that had not yet collapsed, nostalgia for a Europe being blown to bits, friendship, love, sensational performances and script, masterful direction and editing, and the subtlest Technicolor I’ve ever seen. Designs are all superb with a credit the same as the costume designer given to the costume fabricator: a first that I know of. 3 hours long, it’s epic, intimate, often hilarious, always surprising (I have no idea where the story will end), and drenched in love for a kind of Englishness the English sometimes aspired to and sometimes achieved. That it was made smack in the middle of the war shortly after the Battle of Britain and the blitz had devastated London adds a real ache: that Churchill first tried to stop its production and then tried to ban it once it was made seems utterly mystifying now. Perhaps the movie’s refusal to take easy ways out explains it.

Made by the great team of Pressburger and Powell it has been unaccountably forgotten by many though it is held in high esteem by anyone who’s seen it. As with their other movies, Blimp retains a freshness that seen today smacks one upside the head. Its opening sequence about “The war begins at midnight!” is brilliantly imagined and staged, preparing the viewer effortlessly for the high style and grand emotion to come.

It was recently restored and digitized, scenes put in their proper order and cut scenes replaced, under the direction of Scorcese and looks sensational. Yes it’s streaming on Netflix.

This really can be compared favorably with Gone With the Wind in its scale though I think it’s a more intelligent film by far. If the title means nothing, Colonel Blimp was a favorite war-time cartoon figure of the eternal, rather doddering, conservative, play-by-the-rules Englishman who somehow always came out on top despite all the odds being stacked against him. As the story progresses, Blimp (Brigadier General Candy) becomes increasingly a figure from the past standing in a doorway blinking at the horrors to come. Powell/Pressburger took what was essentially a figure of fun and bring him blazingly alive aided by a very fine performance from Roger Livesey as the essential heart of England.


Actually, I have but the really cut down version they used for TV.

I saw it in my early teens, but did not understand what it all meant. Now I do. I worked with a lot of guys like Colonel Blimp at my time at /redacted/ which is why it no longer exists.

The Lego Bible is hilarious. I’m guessing that the whiners didn’t read the part about Lot and his daughters. So wrong.

Wait. No debate this week‽ (I’ll get tired of ‽ing eventually.)

Where will we get our lulz?

@Benedick: Blimp was on TCM, I think, over the weekend. I recall the 1943 date when I checked the film info.

@ManchuCandidate: See it restored. Just saw the rest of it and it gets better as it goes on, rising to a wonderfully moving end. When one thinks that this movie would have been written and produced when Britain really was on her own, when it looked like the war might very well be lost, and yet they give the aristocratic German ex-soldier some of the most telling scenes in the film is a tribute to the artistry of all involved. They make the sharp distinction between nationalism and devotion to a shared set of ideals that transcend jingoism and cheap patriotism so that when Candy, it seems, is finally defeated his struggle to reconcile his beliefs with a new world he can’t fathom is infused with huge emotion, pride and resolve.

Popular entertainment done by masters.

@redmanlaw: That’s the restored version. We recorded it and watched it last night and this am. Just finished watching.

@Benedick: ” . . . they give the aristocratic German ex-soldier some of the most telling scenes in the film . . . ”

Well, considering that the British aristocracy is basically comprised of the Hun . . .

@redmanlaw: Not really the aristocracy as much as the royal family, I think, the Battenberg clan. The people in the film are mostly what would have been called Upper Middle Class. Either way, it’s an extraordinary thing to have done in the middle of the fiercest fighting, to appeal past nationalism to what they regard as enduring human truths. And Anton Walbrook is very fine.

@redmanlaw: The Windsors were formerly the Saxe-Coburg-Gothas, but they changed the family name. In, um, 1917…

@nojo: Well, yes. Uncle Louis was a Battenberg which became Mountbatten: he was assassinated by the IRA. I seem to think that Phillip, who was Greek royalty? was Battenbergish.

Perhaps it only resonates with the English but the movie resurrects that older type of the Gentry, projecting the idea backwards and forwards in time. Of course, as soon as the war was over, Churchill was voted out, the empire finally collapsed, and the country took off in a completely different direction. Within a few years the type of man immortalized by Powell and Pressburger had become a joke, morphing into Terry Thomas, despised by the undergraduates of Beyond the Fringe and then the aggressively working-class Angry Young Men. Seeing the film now, knowing what has happened since Candy’s final salute, reveals its poise and stature. When compared with Coward’s fine wartime films, Olivier’s Henry V, etc, Blimp is radical in its rejection of nationalism.

Plus, it made me weep like a fool.

@nojo: So does Harry wear a pointy helmet when flying the chopper?

No reports of the Reptilian Prince shape shifting on video. Perhaps his commoner human mother polluted the Blood of the Lizard Kings, which would still make him a hybrid.

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