For our April session I decided to deviate from my usual choice of ‘classic film’ to show again Alive and Kicking that I have blogged about previously. There were not many women who could attend and none had seen it before.  We had one young visitor, the daughter of one of our oldest member. Below the initial reactions :

  • Example of very stereotyped roles. When they were giving themselves role for helping the old gentlemen , Rosie said: she could clean, Mabel said she could do the ironing and Dora said she could be a secretary. Also to show the determination of an older woman to climb down the mountain.
  • An unbelievable romp, which would never be issued now but hugely entertaining.
  • Really enjoyed it and wonder about the stereotypes – less of class – more about the Irish.  I wonder had an Irish person seeing it in the 50s and now would respond. The three women were almost ageless in their desire to be free.
  • Amusing class awareness of 1959. Old women too capable to be in a home. Not as funny as Rank films of the time. Elderly women “bonkers” and Russians caricatures.
  • A rather silly film based on stereotypes. The three old women are shown to be extremely capable and resourceful that it is impossible to accept that they were in a ‘Sunset Home’ to start with.
  • Sweet but racist stereotypes. If I’d be Irish I would be offended. Like Ealing comedies. Stanley Holloway’s Irish accent appalling. Women brill. Can see where male stunt people were used for the woman on the rock. Too much singing used as fillers.

As usual the discussion was more instructive than first reactions and proved to me once more that talking about films just after viewing is immensely enjoyable.


About rinaross

Born in 1935. MA in Film and Television Studies at the University of Westminster 1998. Studying the representation of older women in film since then.
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1 Response to ALIVE AND KICKING (1959)

  1. vigo says:

    The indoctrinated ‘offence takers’ are always the worst – especially when they take it upon themselves to be offended ‘on behalf’ of other people. Our Irish family and Irish friends really enjoy this film so dont think you speak on our behalf. Comedy often relies on broadly drawn characters – but your viewers not only missed the subtleties of character (eg: in the themes of self reliance, innovation, cooperation vs. institutionalisation, poverty,emigration) but also the social/cultural message of the film which posits and contrasts two cultures and two ways of life against eachother. Your viewers comments pretty much come from a uk and/or institutional perspective (eg: the quaint but completely ageist and uninformed opinion that older people have not often been unjustifiably ‘institutionalised’ against their will and capabilities. Its interesting given that this is, presumably,an anti ageist blog you did not challenge this.)

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