"The Singing Detective"

I was in the mood to watch DVDs and knit today after a rough week at work. Had to go to the library anyway, so I checked through the returned (unshelved) DVDs and came across The Singing Detective, which I’ve been hearing about for years but have never seen.

Oh. My. God.

Watched the whole thing in effectively one sitting (long nap after ep 1 – as I said, rough week at work), and Oh. My. God. What an amazing, bizarre, involving, fascinating, bewildering piece of work it is. I still have zero idea what actually happened “in real life” so to speak, there were so many levels of story going on and intertwining.

Anyone who’s heard of it and thought “hm, sounds interesting” – yeah, it really is, well worth watching.

And I hear the American remake, with Robert Downey Jr., really sucked – how on earth did they boil all of that down to 109 minutes?

One of the best things ever on television. Utterly brilliant. The movie…didn’t exactly suck, but it was pretty much a waste by comparison. How did they boil it all down to 109 minutes? They didn’t.

/adds to list

I vaguely recall seeing part of the Downey movie; I will definitely look for the other version.
Thanks for the heads up :slight_smile:

You might also want to compare the BBC serialised Pennies from Heaven with the american feature film.

Thanks to this thread I have realised that I never watched Potter’s original (just gone on my rental list), so I cannot do any comparison, but have to say that the performances by Steve Martin and Bernadette Peters in the film are amazing.
They made this 2 years after The Jerk! And Steve Martin turned down the lead in Raiders of the Lost Ark to do it.

Years ago I tried the Robert Downey Jr. version. It was horrible.

We need a jaw-dropping smiley.

Trying to imagine Steve Martin in that role, and how he would play it - wow. It would suck, or it would be incredibly awesome. I think Steve’s brilliant, but I’m not really sure which way it would go. I think if he reined in his "Jerk’ & comedy persona and played it mostly straight, I think it would be great, but then, I think that’s pretty much the same as Ford’s performance. I wonder what his career would have been like if he’d been the lead in a successful “Raiders” movie, what other roles he might have had.

I’ve seen the Steve Martin Pennies from Heaven – hell, I own the Steve Martin Pennies from Heaven – and that’s its own kind of weird. Didn’t remember, if I ever knew, that it came out of the same mind, though it makes perfect sense. I’ll definitely have to check out the original.

You’re referring to the 6 episode miniseries with Michael Gambon? There was another, shorter British version before the American one; I haven’t seen either of those–but I remember seeing this version years ago. Some of the songs used, “Lili Marlene,” “Dem Bones,” and especially “Teddy Bears’ Picnic” still make me think of it.

There were two versions, AFAIK, the six-episode British series of 1986, which is what I watched yesterday, and a 109-minute movie starring Robert Downey Jr.

The British series is one of the two best miniseries ever (along with I, Claudius. It is fascinating television.

Dennis Potter actually suffered from the same disease as Marlowe did (and, evidently, it’s even more gross in real life). He was an amazing writer whose work never really was appreciated in the US.

I’ve just seen a trailer for the Downey, Jr. version. It looks like they got everything wrong.