5 July 2004 | johnnylinehan
'Got Through' to Oil Riggers
In the 70s, I worked offshore in the North Sea and I got to run the projector when we viewed films after coming off shift.
Of the many different films we watched, only two caused the men to linger behind and talk about them. One was 'Over the Cuckoo's Nest' and the other was 'Griffin and Phoenix'.
'Cuckoo's Nest' had an obvious appeal to the mad, bad and sad men who lived and worked on an offshore construction site. It was essential to be mad to work there.
We were Cajuns, Texans, Spanish, Lebanese and men from all over the world. We worked a minimum of 12 hrs a day for months at a time building platforms and somehow surviving each other as well as the job and the sea and the weather.
'Griffin and Phoenix' touched us all for one reason: It was real. On one plane, it is a straightforward love story with moments of deep sadness and even humour. However, the Reality we were affected by was not the story itself or how it was filmed. The thing that got through to all of us, was Peter Falk's anguish.
The very things that made the world warm to Columbo; the rumpledness, the ordinary-ness, the hidden cleverness - Were all there in this film.
It made us really feel that it was ourselves up on that screen; That it was our agony; our dilemma; our fate.
I don't know why it is not shown more often, although I suspect it may be that it would 'interfere' with the Columbo image.
Whatever the reason, I recommend that you seek it out if you want to see acting that transcends acting and becomes universal truth. No bullshit: Some of us cried. We didn't cry when friends got killed in horrible accidents or even when a few of us got the worst news you can get from home
But, some of us cried over this film.