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Feature Friday: “Withnail & I” (1987)

OK, so don’t get your hopes up; this is a pretty poor copy of Withnail & I. I mean, you wouldn’t want to watch it this way, not when the gorgeous Criterion edition exists. But it is the whole film, and as such perfectly fine for leaving on in the background while you down lighter fluid and watch your thumbs go all weird…

Withnail & I (1987)

Written and directed by Bruce Robinson. Starring Richard E. Grant, Paul McCann, and Richard Griffiths.

Additionally, here’s a decent little analysis of the opening shot. And Bruce Robinson’s beautifully self-reflective essay, a must-read.

A. D. Jameson is the author of five books, most recently I FIND YOUR LACK OF FAITH DISTURBING: STAR WARS AND THE TRIUMPH OF GEEK CULTURE and CINEMAPS: AN ATLAS OF 35 GREAT MOVIES (with artist Andrew DeGraff). Last May, he received his Ph.D. in Creative Writing from the Program for Writers at UIC.

6 thoughts on “Feature Friday: “Withnail & I” (1987)

  1. The scene where Richard E. Grant drinks the lighter fluid was supposed to be plain water, but Bruce Robinson wanted “a more genuine reaction” out of Grant, so he swapped out the water for vinegar when they shot it. I think Grant handled it pretty well.

  2. Magnificent pick — in its own sardonic, addled, Shakespearean way, the movie updates Orwell’s heart-rending yet art-affirming masterwork, DOWN & OUT IN PARIS & LONDON.

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