British Film

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Second is Potter's intentionality, the lack of ambiguity in The Singing Detective. In the early episodes the viewer is mislead, suspicious of Binney, but at the denouement there is only one possible interpretation, Marlow is the 'murderer', Binney is falsely accused and the body in the river represents his mother. Similarly the line between fantasy and reality is very clearly signposted. Marlow's reality is simplified by never leaving the confines of the hospital, therefore we can tell instantly that a rural setting indicates a childhood flashback or noir stylistics indicate fantasy. The detective story is such an exaggeration of film-noir convention that it is impossible to mistake it for reality. This is why the crossover of worlds works so effectively, if they weren't so clearly defined the clash would be subtler and less arresting to the viewer. The scenes between Nicola and Finney are initially ambiguous but the reality is quickly stripped from them by having the characters speak with punctuation ("comma", "full-stop"). Also the stylistics of the scenes have film-noir overtones locating them within the detective novelist's imagination. Compare this to Secret Friends (the film based on Potter's novel Ticket To Ride which was written between rewrites of The Singing Detective) where the distinction between the multiple narratives is purposely confused encouraging multiple interpretations of the text.

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Dennis Potter - The Singing Detective
Dennis Potter - Detective
Dennis Potter - Marlow
Dennis Potter - Infirmity
Dennis Potter - Guilt
Dennis Potter - Sexuality
Dennis Potter - Auteur
Dennis Potter - Religion
Dennis Potter - Autobiography
Dennis Potter - Auteur
Dennis Potter - Other
Dennis Potter - Bibliography
Dennis Potter - Links
The Singing Detective