Picks and Pans Review: A Voyage Round My Father
Even if it's British and serious, that doesn't mean it can't be a kick to watch. Laurence Olivier and Alan Bates star in a quirky tale of father and son written by John Mortimer, the English lawyer and playwright who created PBS' Rumpole. It is the story of Mortimer's own father, a lawyer who lost his sight when John was a boy. "He was blind," John says, "but we never mentioned it." Just like an Englishman. His wife and son act as his eyes while he continues to tend his garden and argue tawdry divorce cases in court; Olivier has some fine lines to deliver there and he does it with his usual entertaining flair. "He sent words into darkness like soldiers into battle," John says, "and was never short of reinforcements." But this is not a story of some plucky blind fellow. Olivier is as crusty as French bread. "France," he sneers. "It's okay, except for the greasy food they keep boasting about." He is almost as odd a parent as Shirley MacLaine in Terms of Endearment. Voyage is well-written and well-acted, and that's a treat.