Friday, May 12, 2017

Rumpole and the Confession of Guilt

If you want to learn to write dialogue in English, watch Rumpole. Writing great dialogue is very difficult. I am struggling with even coming close to decent character dialogue. But today I found a lesson in master craft. Sink into the dark recesses of human existence with the glorious writing and acting that is Rumpole of the Bailey (1978-1992). Written by John Mortimer (1923-2009) and delivered by Leo McKern (1920-2002). While many of the values it expresses may come from another social epoch (casual sexism and racism abound), the language and craft of story telling are timeless. The hour-long pilot episode that aired on BBC1 in 1975 introducing the irrepressible Old Bailey defence lawyer, Horace Rumpole. Features specially filmed interview with writer, John Mortimer. Just brilliant. Leon McKern plays Rumpole and he represents a form of acting that is becoming increasingly rare, if not totally endangered from extinction, today.

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