The Midwich CuckoosTuesday, May 23, 2006
I was 24 and in Mexico City when Ingeniero Luis de la Rosa introduced me to Kodak b+w Infrared Film. He warned me to open the container and load the film only in absolute darkness. I ignored his instructions. I did not believe him when he said that the film would be fogged, as light would slide in through the felts into the cassette. He was right and I had to try again. He suggested that I use Kodak HC-110 to process the film instead of the usual D-76. I have worked with de la Rosa's formula all these years. Part of the tradition (which I started with my two daughters Hilary and Ale in 1978 ( top, Hilary, Rebecca and Lauren's mother, left and Ale, right) has been to photograph my granddaughters Rebecca and Lauren (bottom left and right) with this film. They come out with white lips (normal if I used purple based lipstick) and look like the child blond fiends from the Wolf Rilla film Village of the Damned. The film was based on the book by British science fiction writer John Wyndham, The Midwich Cuckoos. The book will always remind me of Ale's godfather, Andrew Taylor, who is from Yorkshire. He lent me his book in Mexico City and introduced me to the books of Wyndham. I saw the movie in the early 60s in the Israeli/Mexican Institute of Cultural Relations. Wolf Rilla was present and he explained that every frame of film (before digital special effects) had to be re-touched by hand so that blond children's eyes would make them look like fiends. Another reason to remember the film is George Sanders who had the lead adult part. My friend Maanus Pikker invited us to the VanDusen Garden British Car Show on Saturday. Rebecca and I agreed that the best car in the show was the powder blue Jaguar (top left) and that the new Lotus Elise, top right was the only new car in the show that could in any way match the excitement of the old Lagondas and Aston Martins we saw.