Just as the nation descends from the high levels of excitement generated by the latest Tom Cruise stunts in the Mission Impossible franchise Mark Branston, writing in the Radio Times, reminds us that Michael Crawford was doing them in the 1970s. (Repeats of Some Mothers Do ‘Ave ‘Em start on Tuesday, BBC 4.) However, it is still safe to assume that, since the advent of green screen work and computer effects, stuntmen – and women – are not employed to the same degree. So, I’ll give thanks here to the likes of David Sharpe, Vic Armstrong, Polly Burson and the legendary Yakima Canutt.
GREED (2019) Saturday 29 July 10.30pm-12.35am Channel 4 P
Alas, not the von Stroheim classic from 1925 (unsurprisingly, the original 10 hour version never made it into cinemas), but a satirical comedy about a retail millionaire. Wonder who that was based on? Steve Coogan stars.
THE TRIALS OF OPPENHEIMER (2009) Tuesday 1 August 10.30pm-midnight BBC 4
If you are planning to catch the new Christopher Nolan film Oppenheimer, this Storyville documentary offers a very interesting comparison. He was clearly a multi-faceted man, talented but flawed. He was also tarred with the same ‘commie lover’ brush as Dalton Trumbo and his reputation never really recovered. Now, of course, it helps your candidature for president – what a strange world we live in!
MAN WITHOUT A STAR (1955) Wednesday 2 August 12.25-2.15pm 5 Action (Channel 33)
An unusual western for the mid-1950s in that the characters have quite complex neuroses, and the sexual tensions generated by the arrival of Kirk Douglas are there to see rather than the audience relying on guesswork. The cinematography is good (and so, as always, is Richard Boone) and the range war story is well defined. Author Brian Garfield, in his book Western Films, called it “charming, lifelike and adult” although he was writing 40 years ago. Even so, I have never really got on with it (whilst thinking that it is more interesting than The Indian Fighter and Gunfight at the OK Corral which Douglas made either side of it). So, I doubt it would be in my Top 200 Westerns should I ever get around to compiling a list! Feel free to disagree and discuss in September . . .
REFRAMED: MARILYN MONROE (2022) Friday 28 July 9.00-10.30pm BBC 2
The documentary series concludes with parts 3 & 4, this evening.
Wimbledon is over for another year, but we can look forward to the Women’s World Cup this weekend! Alternatively, if you have four hours to spare, Cleopatra (1963) starts at midday on Sunday. Later in the week (Wednesday at 8pm), Channel 5 has a new series that might interest you – Dorset: Country and Coast.
THE LONGHORN (1951) Saturday 22 July 2.00-3.45pm Quest (Channel 12)
A William “Wild Bill” Elliott western is a rare bird on British television. He was a relatively popular minor star for about 10 years (1942-1952), mostly at Republic; his stay there included a stint as Red Ryder mid-decade. Some of his films came to the Regent, usually for one night bookings: The Last Bandit (1949) where he was billed in the programme and Wyoming (1947) where he wasn’t, but Vera Ralston was. Possible explanation – this was Jane Austen country! Anyway, in The Longhorn (filmed in glorious sepia tone!), he was more focused on crossbreeding Herefords and Texas longhorns and, as it was produced by Monogram, the cast was smaller and less interesting.
JOUR DE FÊTE (1950) Sunday 23 July 7.00-8.40pm TP (Channel 82)
If you are still annoyed that you missed the ending at our 2018 showing (the disc failed you might recall) . . . Jacques Tati’s comic postman is peddling furiously again this Sunday evening!
ANOTHER ROUND (2020) Thursday 27 July 9.00-11.20pm Film Four P
Another Round earned several 5-star reviews on release and, had a pandemic not intervened, we might well have programmed it. Four teachers decide to conduct an unusual experiment: to work whilst seriously intoxicated. The comical antics of the quartet are hilarious – but it is not a film for those of a genteel disposition!
REFRAMED: MARILYN MONROE (2022) Friday 28 July 9.00-10.30pm BBC 2
Tonight, we have parts 1 & 2 of a 4-part documentary series. Probably more has been written, filmed and conjectured about MM than any other Hollywood star. It will surely cover some familiar ground, but there is also a suggestion that she was a more forceful personality than we have been led to believe.
It is nearly the end of Wimbledon fortnight and, whilst having dinner the other evening, my thoughts turned to tennis on film (thereby dispelling any notion that these musings are planned and researched). I have a memory of Jacques Tati as Monsieur Hulot holding a tennis racquet and tennis star Althea Gibson was given a role in The Horse Soldiers (1959). Sally Forrest was pushed to the limit by a domineering mother (Claire Trevor) in RKO’s Hard, Fast and Beautiful (1951); the British film Town on Trial (1956) had a key opening sequence at a tennis club and Players (1979), starring Ali MacGraw and Dean-Paul Martin, had a UK cinema release. Shame it was a poor film. On TV, tennis has featured in episodes of The Professionals, the original Magnum P.I. and Murder She Wrote (with Linda Hamilton a guest star). There was also a very good TV movie Little Mo (1978), a biography of Maureen Connelly who was the first woman to win the Grand Slam.
ICE STATION ZEBRA (1968) Saturday 15 July 1.45-4.05pm BBC 2
Remember when there were Alistair MacLean novels by the sack full? This wasn’t the best adaptation for the big screen but, as I am currently reading Ernest Borgnine’s memoirs, it seemed a good time to include it. Rock Hudson stars, but Patrick McGoohan gives the best performance.
AT WAR WITH THE ARMY (1950) Saturday 15 July 5.10-7.00pm TP (Channel 82)
By 1951, Abbott and Costello’s heyday was over; Jerry Lewis and Dean Martin were the new kids on the block and were hugely popular for five years until they split up. Here, the duo’s shenanigans take place in an army camp and it placed no. 9 in the Motion Picture herald’s Top 10 for that year. Also showing Tuesday afternoon.
THE HOPE AND THE GLORY (1984) Wednesday 19 July 10.00-11.30pm BBC 2
This filmed play is rather special and unseen since its original transmission. Rudolph Walker is a ticket collector who forma a rather touching friendship with an elderly man (a splendid Maurice Denham).
THE EDGE OF SEVENTEEN (2016) Friday 21 July 9.30-11.05pm BBC 3
Sometimes the deciding factor in not selecting a film (as with Catherine, Called Birdy for the 2023-2024 season) is that it is really for a younger demographic. The Edge of Seventeen is worth some of your time, though, especially for the funny exchanges of dialogue between student Nadine and her teacher, played by Woody Harrelson.
By David Johnson
Chairman of Lyme Regis Film Society
Site Design by John Marriage
Copyright © 2017-23