20 - 26 MAY 2023
It is always pleasing when there is a new film on Freeview or one which is little known and seems to have escaped you over the years – and there are good examples of both this week. Having said that, there are favourites that I try and watch at least once a year, so I am likely to be looking for my discs of the 1953 War of the Worlds and The Shootist (1976) sometime soon. I shall not be posting next week as I’ll be in Aberystwyth – which reminds me, the latter film still holds my record for ‘longest trip to see a film’ since I saw it at the Commodore in 1979. Those were the days!
GREAT EXPECTATIONS (1946) Saturday 20 May 1.00-2.55pm BBC 2
Forget the irritating, and ridiculous, BBC adaptation shown recently; David Lean’s version is the classic and continues to set the standard that all others are judged by.
TOMORROW (1972) Saturday 20 May 9.30-11.35pm TP (Channel 82)
I have followed Robert Duvall’s career pretty closely over the years (great actor who just seems to get better and better), but I confess this one was unknown to me. He plays a handyman who falls in love with an abandoned woman (played by Olga Bellin) who is pregnant. If Leonard Maltin says it is the best ever adaptation of a William Faulkner story that is good enough for me.
SUPERNOVA (2020) Sunday 21 May 10.00-11.30pm BBC 2 P
Members: please do not turn off the TV because you think Supernova is science-fiction! Rather, it is a sensitive character piece co-starring Colin Firth and Stanley Tucci, set in the most gorgeous English countryside.
INSIDE KABUL (2023) Tuesday 23 May 10.00-10.30pm BBC 4 P
Do try and set aside 30 minutes to watch this special presentation from the Storyville team. It is simple in concept and in its style of animation, yet is both timely and revelatory in the telling of its story. Marwa and Raha are two young friends; one is trapped after the fall of Kabul, but the other manages to escape. The film uses their audio diaries to give us an insight into their experiences.
13 – 19 MAY 2023
This week, I’d like to start by reminding everyone that Sky Arts is on Freeview (Channel 11). Whilst a good deal of its content is music-linked, there is a lot for film lovers, too. There are frequent Discovering documentaries on major actors, an occasional feature-length documentary and a series that covers major directors. In addition they also programme something from TV’s early years such as the 1950s anthology series Alfred Hitchcock Presents.
FAR FROM THE MADDING CROWD (2015) Saturday 13 May 8.05-10.00pm BBC 2
It is highly likely that most members saw this adaptation on first run at the Regent, or on a previous TV showing; if neither, a pleasant evening awaits. Carey Mulligan is fine as Bathsheba (although memories of Julie Christie will not be dispelled!) and the locations used look fantastic.
THE MAURITANIAN (2020) Sunday 14 May 10.00pm-12.05am BBC 2 P
The Mauritanian is a drama with great credentials: Kevin Macdonald (The Last King of Scotland) directs; Jodie Foster plays the defence attorney and Benedict Cumberbatch a US army prosecutor. The central character, Mohamedou Ould Slahi, was held, without charge, in Guantanemo from 2001 to 2016. Please note – there are some scenes of torture in this film.
IN THE NAME OF THE FATHER Tuesday 16 May 10.00-11.30pm BBC 4 P
This is an eye-opening documentary from Bat-dor Ojalvo, who was given permission to film in a secretive Hasidic community in Galilee. The way in which he exposes Mohorosh, an influential Rabbi who died in 2015, is riveting.
A NIGHT IN CASABLANCA (1946) Wednesday 17 May 3.00-4.45pm TP (Channel 82)
Whilst it doesn’t come close to equalling the sublime comedy of Duck Soup or A Night at the Opera, any Marx Brothers is better than none. In this offering, Groucho is the manager of a hotel that seems to have an abundance of Nazi spies . . . . Alas, their frequent foil Margaret Dumont isn’t one of them. Her scenes with the boys were always to be treasured!
6 - 12 MAY 2023
Apparently, there are other events this weekend, but we’ll take a look and see if there is a film or two worth catching. What I hope to be watching, is the presentation of the Championship trophy next Monday afternoon . . . .
HOMEWARD (2019) Saturday 6 May 9.00-10.30pm BBC 4 P
We have a pertinent drama from Ukraine for you, this evening. Mustafa arrives in Kyiv to take his son’s body home to the Crimea. Slowly, he begins to bond with Alim, his other son, during the journey.
CARMEN JONES (1954) Sunday 7 May 2.40-4.25pm BBC 2
Chosen by the BBC to pay tribute to Harry Balafonte, who passed away last month, and what an apt choice it is. Filmed in CinemaScope, and directed by Otto Preminger, its all-black cast was groundbreaking for the time. Both Mr Belafonte and Dorothy Dandridge are very good as is the film – Bizet via Broadway is a real treat for lovers of musicals.
THE LOST LANGUAGE OF CRANES (1991) Wednesday 10 May 10.00-11.30pm BBC 4
This was also a groundbreaking drama, albeit for different reasons. Brian Cox and Eileen Atkins (co-creator of the TV series Upstairs, Downstairs) are the middle-aged parents whose son comes out as gay. It is as much a BBC ‘Drama of the Week’ as a conventional film, but its premiere was at the 1991 LFF and the renowned director John Schlesinger pops up in a cameo role. The principal actors are excellent and this very rare showing is most welcome.
By David Johnson
Chairman of Lyme Regis Film Society
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