Well, what would you buy Gordon Brown? He's not a man known for pleasure - rather as the sort to take an afternoon's summer holiday before heading straight back to work, so it must be hard. But Barack Obama can't have predicted the scornful response of the Daily Mail when he decided to pick Gordon up a few DVDs.
In return for a pen holder carved from the timbers of the sister ship of the one the White House desk is made from and a first edition of a seven-volume biography of Winston Churchill, the Mail is appalled that "Barack Obama, the leader of the world's richest country" gave Brown a box set of 25 DVDs selected by the American Film Institute. These include Raging Bull, Casablanca, Psycho and The Graduate. It is, the Mail says, "a gift about as exciting as a pair of socks".
Yet another example of the British press's apparent mission to feel snubbed by Obama on Gordon Brown's behalf and obsession with the passing of the special relationship with Bush (which was - at best - bittersweet). Was it only yesterday a commentary in the Times bemoaned the supposed injustice of the Browns giving the Obama's daughters Top Shop dresses (with matching necklaces) when all their parents gave the Brown boys were models of the presidential helicopter Marine One? Yes it was.
It's difficult to resist reading political messages into these films. Like Marlon Brando in On the Waterfront, could Brown have been "a contender ... a somebody" if the US Congress had shown a little more interest in his global New Deal? Like Luke Skywalker on the Millennium Falcon, is Brown's history of support for light-touch financial regulation in the City of London now endangering the mission?
The 25 films also include two from the end of the Great Depression: the Grapes of Wrath (recommended to Obama on this blog a while back) and the Wizard of Oz. Perhaps there is something here. A 1990 paper in the Journal of Political Economy argued it could be read as monetary allegory: in this interpretation the yellow brick road represents the gold standard (a return to which is not US policy).
The set also include three of Obama's five personal favourites, according to his Facebook page: Casablanca, The Godfather and Lawrence of Arabia (omitted are the second Godfather film and One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest).
Obama is, incidentally, really, really pleased with the pen holder and books. The White House even put out a press release saying so. It tells us the president thanked the prime minister and "noted the pen set is being displayed on the Resolute Desk in the Oval Office and the books are in the president's personal study adjoining the Oval Office".
Maybe Brown's office will tweet each time he watches one of the 25. The Mail's full list is here. Please add your own cinematic/political interpretations below.