At our AGM, I made the point that it is getting more and more difficult to find and programme quality films: either because they are picked up by the streaming platforms or because their potential sales are not strong enough to justify a DVD release in the UK. In conversations with members, I have also suggested that quality cinema, at commercial sites, is now dead. Indirectly, Peter Lord (the genius behind Aardman Animations) seemed to concur in a Radio Times interview last week. He said, “it’s the most maddening and stupid thing that, after years of hard work, a movie’s ‘success’ is judged on an opening weekend somewhere on the East Coast of America. On a streamer, it can live for ever . . .” Oh dear! Mind you, this is a very quiet week on the telly and it has been a struggle to find something fresh and above average.
BAILOUT AT 43,000 (1957) Sunday 10 December 6.40-8.25pm TP (Ch 82)
John Payne (not a typo) plays an Air Force pilot wracked by guilt and self-doubt. It’s a film of limited interest that won’t spoil your day if you choose to watch it. Payne was a versatile actor (musicals, thrillers, westerns and the classic Miracle on 34th Street); by 1957 his leading man days were almost over, and he would soon move into TV work with the series The Restless Gun.
THE LAST BUS (2021) Tuesday 12 December 11.15pm-12.40am BBC 2 P
At least we have one premiere this week; it stars Timothy Spall – always good value – as a pensioner who is determined to return his wife’s ashes to the place they thought of as home. It wasn’t strong enough for us to programme, but it is enjoyable and quite touching. Gillies MacKinnon is the director and we have shown two of his films over the years: The Playboys (1992) and Regeneration (1997) each of which scored 89% with members.
21 BRIDGES (2019) Friday 15 December 10.00-11.35pm BBC 3
The late Chadwick Boseman never had the chance to turn his considerable promise into a substantial career, and the loss is ours. After some police colleagues are killed, he orders the closure of the titular bridges to trap the killers. It’s a relatively short thriller that doesn’t invite much discussion afterwards, but there are some well-staged and exciting set pieces.
By David Johnson
Chairman of Lyme Regis Film Society
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