Cream in My Coffee Film Details
Overview: Past and present intertwine: An elderly couple returns to the hotel where they became close when they were young and flashbacks to the earlier visit reveal the origins of both their …
Review: You’re the cream in my coffee, / You’re the salt in my stew. You will always be my necessity, / I’d be lost without you. You’re the starch in my collar, / You’re the lace in my shoe. You will always be my necessity, / I’d be lost without you. How optimistic the young are when they’re in love. How impatient with each other the old can be when love has become little more than a collection of irritating habits and characteristics, all of which were plain enough to see when they were young. This Dennis Potter television story benefits so much from what we enjoy best from Potter…marvelous dialogue, at once poignant and pointed …playing with social themes against Thirties songs…and story constructions that go back and forth in time that intrigue, electrify and make us uneasy and suspicious. Cream in My Coffee tells us about the Wilshers, an aging, well-off couple, long married, who have returned for a holiday to the seaside hotel where, before they were married, they spent a week together in 1934. Back and forth we go, to the young Bernard (Peter Chelsom) and the young Jean (Shelagh McLeod), and then to the present Bernard (Lionel Jeffries) and the present Jean (Peggy Ashcroft). We’ll see, because Potter lets us see, how the young Bernard and Jean have become an aged couple who have managed a frightful accomplishment, they’re still married. “I had no idea you were such a bully!” cries the young Jean, running from their tea table in the hotel, crushed because Bernard has tried to shush her outbursts. “I had no idea you were such a ninny!” cries Bernard, but softly as he is most uncomfortable with the stares from those at nearby tables. Along the way we’ll meet Jack Butcher (Martin Shaw), the sleazy vocalist at the hotel who seduces young Jean when she is piqued at Bernard. And we’ll meet Bernard’s imperious mother (Faith Brook) who is implacably opposed to their marriage. Jean is simply not good enough for her son, and she makes that clear. Bernard for once stands up to his mother. And so Jean and Bernard were wed…and endured each other for years, Bernard something of a sighing bully and Jean something of a weepy ninny. Shaw and Brook turn in highly amusing performances, with Shaw’s turn as a slick-haired vocalist a revelation. Chelsom and McLeod pull off the difficult task of leading us believably into their older characters. But it is Lionel Jeffries and Peggy Ashcroft, along with Potter’s writing, that make Cream in My Coffee so amusing, so sad and so uncomfortable. There’s not a crack of space between their performances and reality, at least as Potter serves it up. Just watch how Jeffries handles Bernard’s impatient boredom while the maitre ‘d prepares a flaming desert at tableside and then at how Peggy Ashcroft handle’s Jean’s delight with this special treat. The tolerable accommodation of mutual irritations and resentments is made possible by memories, familiarity and lack of alternatives. For Potter and for Bernard and Jean Wilsher, it seems to be a case, after all these years, of never quite enough cream for the coffee and a bit too much salt for the stew. And it’s too late to do anything about it. As fine a drama as this is, to get the real flavor of Dennis Potter’s unusual way with presenting ideas, stories and characters, try The Singing Detective with Michael Gambon and Pennies from Heaven with Bob Hoskins.
Duration: 91 min
Genre: Drama, Musical
Also known as: Kerma kahvissani,Tejszín a kávémban,Cream in My Coffee