movies

politics

authors index

books index

e-mail

home


JACK OSBORNE EASTON
from the original screenplay by Martin Stellman
Defence of the Realm


click to enlarge

Futura, London, 1985
(price: 1.95; 160 pages)


The blurb on the back:

EX DEFENCE MP IN KGB SEX SCANDAL
For Dennis Markham, Labour MP and anti-nuclear campaigner, it is the end of a career.
To Nick Mullen, ace reporter for the popular press, it's just another story.
For the British Government it's a profound relief.
But when Vernon Bayliss, distinguished journalist, a colleague of Nick's and an old friend of Dennis Markham, dies in unexplained circumstances, Nick senses a bigger story.
The trail leads from a borstal break out, via an American air base in East Anglia, to the well-upholstered confines of a London club.
But who is trying up what - and why?


opening lines:
Out of the angry iron-grey clouds high above East Anglia, the lights of two fighter bombers flash like the annunciation of an extraterrestrial invasion.


I always liked the idea of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, but I have my doubts we could scrape that many together nowadays. Maybe the Seven Disgraces of the Modern World would be our best chance. And right up there - alongside the Israeli government's treatment of the Palestinian people and the practice of female genital mutilation - would be the British newspaper industry. It may seem pallid in comparison, but there really is very little in Britain that would not be improved by the closing down of all tabloid newspapers.

Having said which, there's something about the romantic fictions that journalists invent about their work that's quite appealing. And the 1985 David Drury movie Defence of the Realm is one of the better ones. Starring Gabriel Byrne (as pictured on the cover) and Denholm Elliot as a couple of hacks on the trail of a shock exposé, it's a neat little thriller about a smear campaign against an old Labour MP, involving the security services and the presence in Britain of American nuclear missiles. In other words, it's very much of its time, but none the less effective for that.

And the novelization is surprisingly strong. In fact, it all makes a bit more sense on the page than it does on the screen, where the convoluted confusions of the plot can be a bit hard to follow. If you can remember the '80s, then you were probably there. And if you were part of the dissenting section of British society, this should provide a nice little jog down memory (Fas)lane.

All credit too for getting a Sham 69 song title into the blurb.


ARTISTIC MERIT: 3/5
ENTERTAINMENT VALUE:
3/5
HIPNESS QUOTIENT:
1/5


Like this? Try this...

When The Kissing Had To Stop

movies
politics
home