YOU HAVE TO ADMIRE Graham Egarr and Steve Andrews, two amateur film makers who had so much faith in an ambitious project that they put up their own money to get it on to the screen. Even more remarkable when this project was a drama which took place in the 14th century, had a large cast and was set in locations in both this country and Northern Italy. Graham and Steve took on the roles of director and producer respectively to make their film Uncertain Proof, the story of Manuel de Fieschi and his quest to find the truth behind the murder of King Edward II at Berkeley Castle in 1327.
To convince an audience and keep its attention a film of this kind depends totally on a good script, the actors performances and how it ‘looks’ on the screen. On all counts it comes up trumps.
The script is an adaptation by its original author A.G.Ford and the film’s director Graham Egarr of a play first written several years ago. On a poignant note Tony Ford, who also took a leading role in the film, sadly died just a few weeks before the premiere and never saw his work on the screen.
On the whole the cast gave excellent underplayed performances, especially Genovel Andrei Alexa as Manuel de Fieschi and Andy Rusbridge as the hermit. They delivered some of the best acting I’ve seen in an amateur film for many years.
An enormous amount of work on post production effects and image colourisation has given the film a convincing landscape of castles, drawbridges, mountain scenery and a muted medieval look.
It is faultlessly edited by Jane Andrews whose experience as a stage director shows
in the cutting and pacing of scenes which move the story along at just the right
tempo and Director of Photography David James has done a fine job in bringing the
period to the big screen with smooth and very professional camera work.
A lot of care has also gone into mixing the soundtrack, making subtle use of effects being placed precisely within the dialogue and also blending in the very atmospheric score composed for the film by Dom Newton.
The dramatic climax in the last confrontational scene when the entire reason for Fieschi’s quest to seek out the truth concerning the murder of Edward II is explained relies totally on the superbly subtle and timed performances of Genovel and Andy. This to me though is where the origins of the script as a play can be seen in its adaptation for the screen. Despite excellent, unobtrusive editing, subtle camerawork and use of flashbacks it outweighs the structure of what has gone before in that it turns into a duologue lasting twenty minutes.
I know it is very difficult for a writer to explain to an audience why a character has been behaving in a certain way and also show reasons for Fieschi’s obsessive quest for the truth in a short space of time, but to me twenty minutes is a long period to hold and sustain an audience’s attention. I may be proved wrong, I certainly hope so.
Despite this quibble I can only praise everyone involved with Uncertain Proof, especially Graham and Steve, for the enormous amount of hard work and expertise put into it.
Congratulations to all of you!