An Unsuitable Job for a Woman by P.D. James
My rating: 1 of 5 stars
I’ve always found James’ work moderately clever, but overrated. There’s a nasty distant, critical view of human nature that leaves me with a manky taste in my mouth. I mean to say – Jeeves – I can understand having a low opinion of your fellow creatures, but OTOH, who of us is without sin and you gotta love the little bastards anyway. Love ’em into insensibility. How are any of us getting any better otherwise? If we go down into the grave, each one of us, still slavering and frothing and hungering for destruction, then – well, then we’re all Donald Trump. We can do better than that.
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You like Fred? Or Wodehouse? Totally worth checking out. This old chestnut was aired on UK terrestrial telly recently. I was still waking up on the sofa on Sunday morning, with Beeb 2 airing randomly. blinking and sipping coffee, before I really knew what I was watching.
And what I was mostly thinking, as I became aware that I was watching telly at all, was, “Hello! This jolly old thing has a bit of a Wodehouse-y feel, what-ho!”
It did. It really did! Stray butlers, foppish bemused young chaps, determined foxy females packed with moxie, unlikely plots, millions of bucks and tap-dancing…. It had Peregrine Granville stamped all over it.
Then I remembered Wodehouse had a lost weekend, or decade or something, in Hollywood. Checked out IMDB and Uncle Bob’s yer Uncle Fred, there it was.
And tbh, a lot of this particular effort is almost directly filched from his books and stories. In particular it’s a xerox of a lot of the Blandings stories, plus added fancy footwork. But so what. All to the good, right? Astaire is fantastic, a man almost made to be a Wodehouse hero, and could have played Wooster quite credibly I reckon.
If you’re a big fan of Astaire, Wodehouse, vintage b&w films or vintage hoofing, this is the one for you. Unmissable.