Apologies for the late posting and shortened week – I have been working away and so couldn’t start the list until the weekend. This meant that I was unable to draw your attention, in time, to The Dark Mirror (a tribute to Olivia de Havilland), Come Back Little Sheba or the first two chapters in Young Eagles, a very rare 12-chapter serial from 1934 promoting the inventiveness of two boy scouts!
THE FLORIDA PROJECT (2017) Monday 10 August 12.35-2.35am Channel 4
This story of six-year-old Moonie and her single mother drew rave reviews (especially for Willem Dafoe), so don’t let the fact that it ‘did my head in’ put you off!
A CRY FROM THE STREETS (1957) Monday 10 August 11.05am-1.00pm Talking Pictures (Channel 81)
If you ever wondered how Max Bygraves fared as an actor, this (or possibly Spare the Rod, 1961) would be the one to check out. He assists Barbara Murray’s social worker and it’s preferable to his ‘I wanna tell you a story’ variety show persona.
THIS WEEK OF GRACE (1933) Tuesday 11 August 6.00-7.50am Talking Pictures (Channel 81)
Gracie Fields’ films are shown infrequently; this one, which isn’t on the Studio Canal 7-film box set, is even rarer. In it, our Gracie is the housekeeper to a wealthy duchess.
DISOBEDIENCE (2017) Tuesday 11 August 9.00-11.15pm Film Four
An estranged Rachel Weisz (who is very good) returns to the Orthodox Jewish community she grew up in. It was good enough for us to programme, but didn’t quite make the final cut. Première.
EDWARD SCISSORHANDS (1990) Wednesday 12 August 11.00am-1.05pm Film Four
This excellent comic fantasy announced the arrival of two striking new talents: director Tim Burton and star Johnny Depp. There is a good, late, role for Vincent Price, too.
NEVER LOVE A STRANGER (1958) Wednesday 12 August 10.05-11.55pm Talking Pictures (Ch 81)
The film is barely average, but if you want to see a nascent Steve McQueen’s star power beginning to glow . . . he’s a DA looking to bring an ex-childhood friend to justice.
THE HIGH AND THE MIGHTY (1954) Thursday 13 August 6.05-9.05pm Talking Pictures (Channel 81)
This was the prototype for all the disaster-in-the-skies dramas with an all-star cast (here led by John Wayne, Claire Trevor and Robert Stack). It features an Oscar-winning score by Dimitri Tiomkin.
THE DAMNED UNITED (2009) Thursday 13 August 9.00-10.30pm BBC 4
This drama about Brian Clough’s brief tenure at Leeds United didn’t do well at the Regent, of course. It is rather good though and he is now one of several personalities brought to life by Michael Sheen.
DUEL AT DIABLO (1966) Friday 14 August 1.55-4.00pm Channel 31
James Garner is the scout, and Sidney Poitier the horse trader, helping a cavalry troop out of a tricky situation. Neal Hefti wrote a great jazz-influenced score and it’s a better film than Soldier Blue.
BULLITT (1968) Friday 14 August 9.00-11.10pm ITV 4 (Channel 24)
We end the week with one of Steve McQueen’s truly iconic roles, as a detective assigned to protect a government witness. It features a superb car chase and the film, whilst fictional, takes on extra resonance if you know something of the real life events surrounding Jimmy Hoffa during the 1960s.
RANDOM WORDS AND RANDOM MEMORIES
SHIVAREE is an interesting word; if it’s unfamiliar to you, it refers to the hazing tradition carried out, by our American cousins, on a couple’s wedding night. I can recall two uses as a plot device, both from television: Season 3 Episode 19 of The Waltons and a 1959 episode of The Rifleman entitled ‘The Shivaree’. The latter was directed by Joseph H. Lewis and, typically for him, it packs a lot into its 30 minutes including a girl dressed as a boy and a noteworthy turn from that splendid character actor John Anderson. The director’s cult reputation remains high, particularly with regard to his films Gun Crazy, The Big Combo and Terror in a Texas Town. His camera was always mobile and, because he often found a more interesting way to shoot a scene, lesser efforts such as Seventh Cavalry (1956) remain enjoyable even on a fifth viewing. This is evident, too, in his TV work. The Big Valley was a successful series, but hardly groundbreaking. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that ‘Boots with My Father’s Name’ and ‘Night of the Wolf’ were two of the best of its 112 episodes.
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