First of all, I owe everyone an apology. I settled down to watch Identity Unknown (for the first time) last Tuesday – and it wasn’t the one I had described! It turns out that there is an even less well-known British film from 1960 with the same title. The opening wasn’t too promising – two journalists trundling around in a Triumph Herald – but it picked up and became an ‘okay for a B’ watch. However, I am suitably chastened!
16-22 MAY 2020
LONELY ARE THE BRAVE (1962) Saturday 16 May 2.05-4.20pm ITV 4 (Channel 24)
Kirk Douglas’ personal favourite of his own films is brilliantly done. He’s a modern cowboy trying to keep to the old ways and keep out of jail. Walter Matthau and George Kennedy are excellent, too.
CLOAK AND DAGGER (1946) Saturday 16 May 6.50-9.00pm Talking Pictures (Ch 81)
Give yourself ONE minute to accept Gary Cooper as a nuclear scientist, and then join him on a trip to Europe for spies and intrigue. Lilli Palmer is very good and the great Fritz Lang directs.
ATTACK THE BLOCK (2010) Saturday 16 May 11.05pm-12.50am Film Four
I remember a Sunday audience of four for this at the Regent – a damn shame. Youths (including John Boyega and Jodie Whittaker) fight alien invaders on a London council estate and it’s very good.
HOBSON’S CHOICE (1953) Sunday 17 May 6.50-9.00pm Talking Pictures (Ch 81)
Even if it can’t take you back to your Lancashire roots, this classic comedy, with a wonderful Charles Laughton as the bootmaker, is delightful entertainment. Look for Jack Howarth (Albert Tatlock)!
A FISTFUL OF DOLLARS (1964) Sunday 17 May 9.00-11.05pm ITV 4 (Channel 24)
Celebrate Clint’s birthday two weeks early! A new international star and a new style of film making were launched here. James Coburn was too expensive and Charles Bronson said no, otherwise....
SUDDENLY (1954) Monday 18 May 5.30-7.00pm Talking Pictures (Channel 81)
Assassin Frank Sinatra holds a family hostage, as he waits for the President to pass by.... a cracking thriller, subsequently unseen for some years, after Sinatra was devastated by the death of JFK.
THE WARRIOR (2001) Monday 18 May 11.15pm-1.00am Film Four
This is a beautifully filmed Anglo-Indian drama, in which the late Irfan Khan (The Lunch Box) ‘retires’ as head of a warlord’s army, to seek inner peace, but is then pursued by his enforcer.
THREE FACES WEST (1940) Tuesday 19 May 11.00am-12.40pm Film Four
Okay: it’s a poor man’s The Grapes of Wrath, but we have John Wayne leading the Dust Bowl farmers, a doctor from Vienna, a child who needs an operation, a Nazi, a romance and a happy ending. All filmed in less than a month on a $100,000 budget. Sums up Republic studios perfectly!
THE PROFESSIONALS (1916) Wednesday 20 May 11.00am-1.25pm Film Four
This superb adventure film has Lancaster, Marvin, Robert Ryan and Woody Strode heading to Mexico to rescue a kidnapped Claudia Cardinale from Jack Palance. And it looks spectacular.
HOW GREEN WAS MY VALLEY (1941) Wednesday 20 May 1.25-3.55pm Film Four
We programmed this all-time great John Ford version at the Marine last year. If you ever wondered why Citizen Kane didn’t get the Oscar for Best Film, this was it. Hollywood’s Welsh village is a marvel.
VIVACIOUS LADY (1938) Wednesday 20 May 3.00-4.30pm BBC2
James Stewart (born 20 May 1908) co-stars with Ginger Rogers in this enjoyable screwball comedy. He’s a professor who marries a nightclub singer, on impulse, then takes her home to meet father.
SPRING AND PORT WINE (1969) Thursday 21 May 6.55-9.00pm Talking Pictures (Channel 81)
James Mason is the domineering father who works ‘down at mill’; Susan George is the daughter who refuses to eat a fried herring at high tea. It was generally well reviewed and has many familiar faces.
THE SMALL VOICE (1948) Friday 22 May 5.30-7.10pm Talking Pictures (Channel 81)
A convict menaces a family in his bid to escape. This modest UK thriller was Howard (billed as Harold) Keel’s debut; his career trajectory was soon on a much glossier path – for a few years.
RANDOM WORDS AND RANDOM MEMORIES
FROM WEEK 5
A slight cheat from week 5 – Wednesday 13 May I caught one of the repeats of The High Chaparral TV series. It happened to be one of my favourites and one of the very best episodes, entitled ‘The Buffalo Soldiers’. The buffalo appears in hundreds, if not thousands, of westerns but I’d like to share just a few memories that the word triggers. ‘Incident of the Buffalo Smokehouse’ was a good, early episode of Rawhide (the link to the above being that Leif Erickson was in both); at about the same time, John Ford was working on Sergeant Rutledge (1960) and I recall that the song ‘Captain Buffalo’ was composed to go with the opening credits. (Ford often used the painter Frederick Remington’s work for visual inspiration and, in 1886, Remington had spent some time with the Tenth Cavalry – the legendary buffalo soldiers.) Ward Bond played a character called Buffalo in Hondo (1953) and, yes, he was grizzled and somewhat unkempt! There is a splendid stampede – in Cinerama – in How the West Was Won. Such was John Wayne’s hatred of the Indians in The Searchers (1956) he killed the majestic beasts so that they would starve, whereas in The Last Hunt (also 1956) Robert Taylor killed them for profit. The brilliant ending of the latter has stayed with me since childhood, but I won’t reveal it here. Perhaps, one day, you’ll have a chance to watch the film yourself!
By David Johnson
Chairman of Lyme Regis Film Society
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