Friday, February 19, 2010

Lionel Jeffries: The Roses of Success

The death of Lionel Jeffries was announced today. I would say that two of his films - Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (which he starred in) and The Railway Children (which he directed) - were central to the childhoods of my generation, except that I cannot remember watching either all the way through until I was an adult.

Anyway, this clip comes from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. It is a measure of the glorious cast of that film that one of the inventors here is played by Max Wall.

Jeffries, famously, was younger than Dick Van Dyke, whose father he played in the film. I have seen it suggested that the film makes far more sense if you see Jeffries as his father-in-law instead.

The lyrics of this song, incidentally, offer an insight into Karl Popper's philosophy:

Popper started with the old idea that knowledge grows by trial and error, or in more learned terms, by conjecture and refutation. He generalised this theory to encompass all forms of learning and problem-solving, including the evolution of life on earth. On his account every organism, from the amoeba to Einstein, is constantly engaged in problem solving.

In the plant and animal world this involves the production of new reactions, new organs, new forms of life. For humans it involves the production of new ideas.


Anonymous said...

He was also in Murder Ahoy with Margaret Rutherford as Miss Marple

Frank Little said...

As an actor, a well-known "improver" of scripts which he thought poor. I can think of one or two cases where he went too far.