18 - 24 MARCH 2023
Oh well, I managed to lose my shirt on the Oscars this year – I suppose I will have to re-budget after the £3.00 loss. We are devoid of premieres this week, but you might care to give these a try . . . .
SOLDIER BLUE (1970) Saturday 18 March 9.00-11.10pm Legend (Ch 41)
For sure, this is a rare showing on Freeview primarily because – assuming it is an uncensored print – it retains both its 18 certificate and its ability to shock and appal us. An account of the 1864 Sand Creek Massacre (and, indirectly, a tilt at Vietnam), I was too young to see it on initial release, but remember the vivid poster work and caption (“stained with the blood of the innocent”) to this day. If it isn’t your cup of tea, why not just catch the opening credits and Buffy Saint Marie’s evocative rendition of the title song? Also showing, at the same time, Friday the 24th.
THE SNORKEL (1958) Sunday 19 March 7.15-9.00pm TP (Channel 82)
Once upon a time, this clever thriller would have enjoyed a late night slot. Peter Van Eyck thinks he has committed the perfect murder; however, his stepdaughter grows suspicious. The coda is quite ingenious, too.
OFFICIAL SECRETS (2018) Tuesday 21 March 10.40pm-12.25am BBC 1
If you missed Keira Knightley in our most successful evening of recent seasons (audience reaction 96%), here is another opportunity to catch it!
RADIOACTIVE (2019) Wednesday 22 March 11.15pm-1.00am BBC 2
Rosamund Pike has become an actor of stature; one of those you are happy to watch because you can guarantee she will be good; two notable showcases of her talent would be Hostiles and our recent success A Private War (92%). In Radioactive she plays Marie Curie; a further point of interest for members is that the director, Marjane Satrapi, also gave us Persepolis.
11 - 17 MARCH 2023
It is Oscar time again! Whilst there has been a misfire or two during the last 95 years, usually I have felt that most of the awards were deserved, give or take. My biggest concern has been the recent decision to widen the Best Film category to make sure popular (formulaic) movies would be included. This year’s top awards should be going to All Quiet on the Western Front, The Banshees of Inisherin and Tár; not Elvis, Top Gun: Maverick or Avatar; the Way of the Water, but we’ll have to wait and see . . . .
MR JONES (2019) Sunday 12 March 10.00-11.50pm BBC 2 P
This premiere is most welcome – we were expecting to programme it for the 2020-2021 season that was cancelled due to Covid. Based on actual events, it tells the story of Welsh journalist Gareth Jones who, when on assignment in Russia, uncovered the Politburo’s role in the Ukrainian famine of 1932-33.
THE ASPHYX (1972) Tuesday 14 March 11.05pm-12.50am Legend (Channel 41)
For a 10-year-period, 1965-1975, the British horror film industry was particularly strong: Hammer and Amicus were rivals, some of Britain’s best actors were signing up to compendium-style films and the likes of Pete Walker (House of Whipcord) were gaining notoriety for their product. The Asphyx was one of the more unusual and intriguing offerings in which a photographer attempts to catch a soul-snatcher at the moment of death.
THE LUSTY MEN (1952) Wednesday 15 March 1.55-4.10pm Five Action (Channel 33)
Not, perhaps, what you are thinking: Nicholas Ray (Rebel Without a Cause) directs a rodeo drama that Phil Hardy once called ‘one of the best contemporary Westerns ever’. Susan Hayward and Arthur Kennedy are fine, but it is Robert Mitchum – for my money, one of the most underrated actors in American cinema – who dominates proceedings.
THE PEANUT BUTTER FALCON (2019) Friday 17 March 11.40pm-1.10am BBC 1
If you enjoyed Here We Are (and most of you did), and you missed this equally modest enterprise on an earlier showing, do take a look. The story of a young man who ‘escapes’ from his residential home to search for his wrestling hero, it is quirky, affectionate and rather moving. Another plus is a very good performance from Shia LaBeouf as the man who befriends him.
25 FEB – 3 MARCH 2023
Within 48 hours of the Bafta ceremony, the organisers found themselves in hot water: for not including Bernard Cribbins in the In Memoriam segment and because all the eventual winners were white, despite a strong ethnic mix in the nominations. All Quiet on the Western Front was the big winner and it will be interesting to see if this is duplicated at the Oscars.
THE MACALUSO SISTERS (2020) Saturday 25 February 9.00-10.25pm BBC 4 P
Moving Italian drama in which five young sisters, who still live together, have to deal with an unexpected, and tragic, accident.
THE GAMMA PEOPLE (1956) Monday 27 February 9.00-10.35pm TP (Channel 82)
This week’s rarity is a very strange British film indeed – the only other one I can recall that comes close is 1935’s Once in a New Moon. A fable of sorts, the essential part of the plot has children bombarded with gamma rays as part of a secretive nation’s scheme to control the population. It was made by Warwick Film Productions a company that Cubby Broccoli had set up with Irving Allen.
SEX ON SCREEN (2022) Tuesday 28 February 10.00-11.25pm BBC 4 P
A worthwhile Storyville documentary if (like me) you are interested in the mechanics of film-making as much as the end product. It takes a serious, and concerned, look at how sex scenes are filmed and how they have impacted upon the actors.
THE DEVIL COMMANDS (1941) Friday 3 March 11.00pm-12.20am TP (Channel 82)
Ha – for me, this is a true blast from the past – one of my first ‘late night with Boris Karloff’ when I was a teenager. The legend was under contract to Columbia at the time and, whilst low-budget (of course), The Devil Commands was one of a batch of six films (now on a splendid Blu-ray release from Eureka) that tried hard to be atmospheric and a little different. Here, he is a scientist trying to communicate with the dead – and we just know it will not end well! Despite a future blacklisting, Edward Dmytryk became a director of some note.
By David Johnson
Chairman of Lyme Regis Film Society
Site Design by John Marriage
Copyright © 2017-23