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Welcome to a new week! The football has been going well, the cricket is under way and we have had several Wimbledon rewinds, but we can still find the time for a few films, I hope. Traditionally July and August are quiet months, so it is a pleasant surprise to find that there is a good selection of recent releases, some new to Freeview, this week. Failing that the re-appearance of TV shows from yesteryear continues apace. Since Monday 13 July CBS Justice (Channel 39) has been running The Fugitive, as well as Perry Mason continuing, and ITV 4 (Channel 24) is now showing Dempsey and Makepeace and Robin of Sherwood.
FIGHTING COAST GUARD (1951) Saturday 18 July 3.45-5.30pm Talking Pictures (Channel 81)
Another Republic/Joe Kane potboiler (this time with Brian Donlevy) concerns shipyard workers who join up after Pearl Harbor. Just about passes the time, with a cup of tea and slice of cake!
DARK CITY (1950) Saturday 18 July 8.00-10.00pm Talking Pictures (Channel 81)
Charlton Heston’s main feature debut isn’t shown often; probably because he’s a cynical, anti-hero, here, who is stalked by a psychopath. It’s competently done, without hitting the heights.
THREE BILLBOARDS OUTSIDE EBBING, MISSOURI (2017) Saturday 18 July 9.15-11.30pm Channel 4
This superb drama and character study (Mildred, you might remember, is not happy with the local police) was a big success for us (2018-19 season, 90%) and has its free-to-air première tonight.
JACKIE (2016) Saturday 18 July 11.30pm-1.20am Channel 4
Another Freeview première for this biopic of Jackie Kennedy as she comes to terms with JFK’s assassination. The performances were excellent - as were the reviews – and it was a surprise that it didn’t connect with our members (2017-18 season, 65%). Perhaps it will play better on TV?
THE TWO FACES OF JANUARY (2013) Sunday 19 July 12.45-2.40pm Film Four
This adaptation of Patricia Highsmith’s novel has lots of twists and turns, as Viggo Mortensen’s conman accidentally kills a private detective whilst on the run in Greece.
HELL OR HIGH WATER (2016) Sunday 19 July 9.00-11.05pm Film Four
This thriller was reviewed very well on its release. Chris Pine and Ben Foster are the brothers who rob banks to save the ranch; Jeff Bridges is the Texas Ranger hunting them. Highly recommended.
WOMAN IN A DRESSING GOWN (1957) Monday 20 July 12.45-2.35pm Talking Pictures (Ch 81)
The film whose success ushered in a whole series of kitchen sink dramas. Yvonne Mitchell is magnificent as the wife trapped in a stultifying marriage and suffering from clinical depression.
WALKING OUT (2017) Monday 20 July 11.10pm-1.05am Film Four
Our third Freeview première is the story of a father and son stranded in the wilderness. It’s a more modest venture than the first two, but worth a look.
CHUKA (1967) Tuesday 21 July 1.50-4.00pm Channel 31
It’s not brilliant, this long-ago staple of The Saturday Western (entry no. 33 in the list I started in Sept 1975), but is a little different and has a good cast (Rod Taylor, Ernest Borgnine, John Mills).
ODD MAN OUT (1947) Tuesday 21 July 4.35-6.55pm Talking Pictures (Channel 81)
This contains probably the best performance James Mason ever gave. He’s an IRA man on the run in an eerie and unforgiving Belfast; the great Carol Reed directs.
I AM NOT A WITCH (2017) Tuesday 21 July 11.40pm-1.30am Film Four
Another of L.R.F.S.’s almost – but not quite – bookings. A young African girl is accused of witchcraft and sent away, in punishment, to a witch camp.
THE FUGITIVE (1947) Wednesday 22 July 7.30-9.30am Channel 40
The film The Fugitive – an adaptation of Graham Greene’s The Power and the Glory – was deemed unfilmable at the time and was a financial failure for Argosy, John Ford’s company. Technically it is masterful especially Gabriel Figueroa’s cinematography.
FARGO (1995) Wednesday 22 July 11.45pm-1.50am ITV 4 (Channel 24)
We have listed this Coen brothers’ masterpiece before, but good viewing options are sparse today. And there’s no harm in watching it again – multiple viewings can be rewarding!
PURSUED (1947) Thursday 23 July 12.45-2.50pm Film Four
This is a very unusual psychological drama in a bleak western setting, as Robert Mitchum tries to unlock his childhood trauma, so as to control events rather than be led by them.
SWEET COUNTRY (2017) Thursday 23 July 9.00-11.15pm Film Four
Première no. 4: An Aboriginal farm labourer goes on the run in the Northern Territory after killing a white man in self-defence. Films such like this have done well for us over the years.
THE CURSE OF FRANKENSTEIN (1957) Thursday 23 July 11.10pm-12.45am Channel 70
This is the film that made Hammer studios – Peter Cushing is Baron von Frankenstein, Christopher Lee the monster and a key element is the lurid colour.
PEEPING TOM (1960) Friday 24 July 10.00pm-12 midnight Talking Pictures (Channel 81)
Vilified on release, to the extent that it brought Michael Powell’s mainstream career to a premature close, it is now recognised as a key work in British cinema. Carl Boehm, in a once-in-a-lifetime role, is the photographer-killer who films his victims at their moment of death.
FOR A FEW DOLLARS MORE (1965) Friday 24 July 11.20pm-1.25am BBC2
The second in the famous trilogy (unless you are of the opinion that, chronologically, The Good, the Bad and the Ugly started it) is a fitting tribute to composer Ennio Morricone.
RANDOM WORDS AND RANDOM MEMORIES
Rio Lobo (1970) was shown again a couple of weeks ago. I didn’t list it as, whilst it has some great moments, it is the weakest of the five films that Howard Hawks and John Wayne made together. What it does have, is one of my favourite opening credit sequences: filmed as though from the inside of a Spanish guitar with the theme then being used through the film. A good title sequence can be a work of art in itself and add much to one’s enjoyment of the film. For example, think of Maurice Binder’s work on the Bond films, the Pink Panther films, Star Wars (1977) or the genius that was Saul Bass (Anatomy of a Murder and so many others). Some more personal favourites are a bloodied knife cutting through the screen in Duel at Diablo (1966); the reverse crawl employed in Kiss Me Deadly (1955); the revolving bust used in the Edgar Wallace B films. Some of the better quality DVD releases also enable you to enjoy the film as it was presented for roadshow engagements. Ben-Hur (1959) and How the West Was Won (1962) can be purchased with overture, intermission/entr’acte and exit music and it is a wonderful experience!
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