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Saturday, February 09, 2008

The Campaign for Real Knitting

There's a famous story about Dustin Hoffman and Laurence Olivier. Whilst making the film Marathon Man little Dusty had to film a scene where he'd been incarcerated, run-down and looking a bit shabby. The story goes that he went a few days without sleep and ran for some time so he was physically drained and looking a bit of a state. When Sir Larry saw him and enquired as to why he looked so bad he said to him, "Why not try acting, dear boy?". It's probably apocryphal, but it's a good line anyway.


The Method has been used for years by many actors keen to impress with their realistic performances, from Brando to Daniel Day-Lewis. I'm quite keen on it - ham-dram. What's this got to do with knitting then? Well, two nights in a row this week we've been watching telly and been confronted with some so-called knitting that leaves much to be desired. If Ed Norton can learn to perform magic tricks for The Illusionist, or Hilary Swank go through training sessions for Million Dollar Baby, then why can't actors at least have the good sense to learn to knit instead of pretending? It might look good to them, but, seriously, it looks crap and we can tell when it ain't real!


This week's situations were on Friday, in the TV comedy 30 Rock Jack McBrayer was supposedly kniting a bikini - as if! Although distracted by trying to work out what's happened to Alec Baldwin's face we still spotted it was a crocheted bikini top with a needle stuck in the end. Lame. You can't fool us! There's also a situation here of gender stereotypes which is far too big a subject to go into here, but just cos he's camp doesn't mean he has to knit, you know? Exhibit 2 - Saturday night film Demolition Man. Sly Stallone knits a lovely red jumper for Sandra Bullock, overnight!? Not as bad as the McBrayer episode, at least we don't see Sly pretending to knit, but we do have to believe he's done it, which it quite difficult. Actually, this is another contender for a gender-stereotyping theses, but, again, no time right now to get into that. The film is redeemed a little by the brilliant line, "I'm a seamstress? - That's great. I come out of cryo-prison and I'm Betsy-fucking-Ross..."


So, here starts the Campaign for Real Knitting (CREAK). We already have our knitting in films page (which needs another update) telling you where you can see the great art on screen, but if you see a situation of pretend knitting or crochet we all have a duty to write to the actor in question. Would they take speaking the lines of the Bard with such idle contempt? Learn to knit, you just look silly otherwise.

Craig

4 comments:

ambermoggie said...

and there's the fact that he first wound from a ball into a skein to knit??

scullyknits said...

Jenni and I noticed that Queenie in Blackadder the second was holding wool for Nursie as she wound it up- episode called Bells I think.

Noo said...

There's a dear little short film entirely about knitting which you can watch here:

http://www.britfilms.tv/watch.php?id=678

It's called Knitting a Love Song.

Anonymous said...

East Enders when Kathy was using a knitting machine and it was not threaded up correctly?? 1980's and I was a machine knitter then. superninan