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Little Lady Fauntleroy
cast: Keith Allen, James Jarries, and Terry Wogan

director: Roger Pomphney

92 minutes (15) 2004
Fabulous / Fremantle DVD Region 2 retail

RATING: 3/10
reviewed by Martin Drury
Former child prodigy and annoying antiques aficionado James Harries meets documentary filmmaker Keith Allen who previously brought us a detailed look at the machination of the owner of Harrods. Time has passed and much has changed for the Harries family. Allen investigates the reasons behind the changes in the Harries family and the motivation behind the Harries' family belief that they are superior in almost everyway to the rest of society. Allen also meets the familiar Lauren and asks her how it felt to have once been the child prodigy everybody called James Harries. This documentary film offers some remarkable insights into the nation's past. Once, long ago, Terry Wogan was deemed worthy of a weekday evening chat show. It's worth remembering that the audience of the Wogan show who are introduced to the obnoxious antiques expert Harries have no knowledge of the future removal of their favourite talk show and its disaster of a replacement Eldorado. For them, new stars of the media really were discovered on Wogan and that is why Allen uses a number of clips from the Wogan show to illustrate the rise and fall of James Harries.

That said, it has always been difficult to accept the man who sang 'Vindaloo!' at the top of his voice as part of a football song, seriously as Britain's answer to Michael Moore. Far too often, Allen makes himself a joint start of his documentaries and this is true in the case of Harries. There's no need to introduce the audience to Harries as he now is [Lauren] and doing so feels like an intrusion on a person's private problems. The documentary is designed to stand and stare, not to offer help or compassion to someone who has obviously gone through a lot of turmoil, however obnoxious they may have appeared on screen decades before. At least Harries had a talent. These days, people are famous for being famous and it feels a tad hypocritical for a modern day media documentary maker to complain about how famous the Harries family were in their day when he himself is only famous because he appears now and then in a few films and pop videos.

A lot of this documentary feels like a vendetta fulfilled; revenge served cold by all those people who had to sit and listen to the blond, curly haired James Harries talk about how he didn't want to go to school because he was better than his teachers. The detailed 'exposure' of the Harries family makes them all out to have been wanted by The Hague for war crimes when it fact they are simply slightly odd human beings by the standards imposed by modern society. Let he who is without sin cast the first stone before he investigates the wrongs of the Harries family.

The special features include 43 minutes of unseen outtakes. Which is interesting because very few people saw the documentary in the first place so I doubt many would be interested in the bits that weren't shown of the programme they didn't see in the first place. The audio commentary is also pointless as Keith Allen's thoughts have already clearly been divulged through the documentary and there's no need to hear him talk about the Harries family once again through the audio commentary. This documentary is a microcosm of the way the world has changed since the Harries family boy first appeared on Wogan. Now, people aren't startled and intrigued by the weird and the wonderful. All they want to do in response to the exposure of difference is laugh themselves silly and forget their troubles as they look through the glass teat at someone apparently worse off than themselves. Mr Allen, go find a politician who lied to his or her people. Expose corruption in the highly regarded establishments of the British nation. Otherwise, go back to singing about curry before the World Cup final.

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