February is upon us, wet, cold, and muddy. Sounds like a perfect time to rent a cycling movie, wouldn’t you agree? I thought for all you Eagle readers I would use this month’s column to review a couple of my all-time favorites. Got your popcorn buttered? Then let’s roll ‘em.

THE CYCLING TOUR- Now here is a classic cycling adventure for you cyclo-tourist diehards. Shot on location in Southwestern England, and taking in parts of Southern France and Central Russia, this is one of the rare, full-length features in the hit TV series, Monty Python’s Flying Circus.” Michael Palin (Arthur Peuty in “The Department of Silly Walks”) stars as Mr. Pither, an enthusiastic cyclist with a knack for damaging his cycling snacks in bicycle biffs. Terry Jones (Mrs. Make Tea Not Love in “The Hell’s Grannies”) also stars as Mr. Guliver, his amnesia riddled cohort who manages to mislead them from North Cornwall to Russia, via France. Eric Idle (Mr. Say No More in “Nudge, Nudge”) plays a Parisian mother with a passion for Cloeda Rogers. Graham Chapman (Oliver Sinjin Mollusk in “The Upper-class Twit Race”) plays Russia’s British Councilor with a bingo addiction. Terry Gilliam (Cardinal Fang in “The Spanish Inquisition”) plays the front desk clerk at Moscow’s Young Men’s Anti-Christian Association. And last, but certainly not least, John Cleese (Ranting Customer in “The Dead Parrot Sketch”) plays the proud General of a Russian execution squad, who just can’t quite seem to get the job done. Quintessential viewing for all cycling fans.

BREAKING AWAY- A big American picture about a forbidden love between a Midwestern boy and his Italian bike (played by G. Criterium Masi). The boy’s father is a small town, used car salesman, and can not abide any form of two-wheeled, motorless transportation in his house. We feel the boy’s yearning as he serenades his beloved with Italian opera. We feel the boy carbo-load over his mother’s wonderful pasta dinners. We share the joy as the boy overcomes the odds and leads the underprivileged Cutters Team to victory, in the Little Indy 500 bicycle race. Film doesn’t get more honest than this (sniff). Promise me that you’ll see this movie with a bike you really love (BOOHOOHOO!).

THE BICYCLE THIEF- Vittorio de Sica’s masterpiece. A luminary in Neo-realism cinema, and the mentor of the young Fredrico Fellini, this is maybe the Italian director’s greatest work, and some critics say it’s possibly the most perfect film ever made. Unfortunately for you Eagle readers, the movie is as scarce as hen’s teeth in the States. Bummer.

So until next month, may your sprocket holes run true, and your focus be sharp and dust free. FINI -Euro Freddie.

<INDEX                                             FEBRUARY - 1999                                                   NEXT>


Criterium Corner with Euro Freddie