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At last we have some good news – football is back! Even so, there is a full list of films for you again this week, in case you are not that way inclined. This is a week, too, when some of the films on offer reflect current events – and controversies – involving Black Lives Matter and LGBT+ rights. (You might recall that we discussed films such as Gone With the Wind in our newsletter, concurrent with our the showing of BlackkKlansman.) Regarding the latter, there has just been a very important ruling by the US Supreme Court, and also we celebrate Global Pride Day, Saturday 27 June.
THE FOUR FEATHERS (1939) Saturday 20 June 3.00-5.15pm Talking Pictures (Channel 81)
Possibly Alexander Korda’s finest film remains a splendid adventure in gorgeous early Technicolor. The acting and location shooting are both top notch and some footage was used in later versions.
I AM NOT YOUR NEGRO (2016) Saturday 20 June 9.00-10.30pm BBC 2
This is an excellent documentary on racial oppression that makes a particularly telling use of the writings of James Baldwin. Bonus – a 3-part series on Black Hollywood follows the transmission.
KAJAKI: THE TRUE STORY (2014) Sunday 21 June 12.35am-2.15am BBC 1
The story concerns a British army patrol that inadvertently stumbled into an old Russian minefield. It is an intense, brilliantly constructed drama, but is not for the faint hearted!
THE GREEN MAN (1956) Sunday 21 June 10.30am-12.05pm Talking Pictures (Channel 81)
That comic genius Alastair Sim is on imperious form, as the assassin determined to overcome all obstacles in his pursuit of a politician.
THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN (1960) Sunday 21 June 2.00-4.00pm BBC 2
This is probably the best western of all, for those who don’t particularly care for the genre. The legendary status of both the cast and Elmer Bernstein’s score is assured. Quiz time – name all seven!
UNEARTHLY STRANGER (1963) Monday 22 June 7.10-9.00pm Talking Pictures (Channel 81)
Low-budget, b/w (when most films were in colour), no stars - but John Neville is very good as a scientist who begins to believe that his wife is, well, different . . . .
CALL ME BY YOUR NAME (2017) Monday 22 June 9.00-11.40pm Film Four
Both Armie Hammer and the new acting sensation Timothée Chalamet excel, as the American tutor and summer pupil who have an affair during a hot Italian summer.
SING STREET (2015) Monday 22 June 11.40pm-1.50am Film Four
If you missed it with us (2016-17, 83%) catch this enjoyable musical romp, about some bored Dublin teenagers forming a band, now!
WAKE OF THE RED WITCH (1948) Tuesday 23 June 11.50am-2.05pm Paramount (Channel 31)
A mainstay of the BBC’s Wayne in Action seasons of the early 1970s, this seafaring saga was his second (and last) film co-starring Gail Russell, an actress whose talent burned all too briefly. It brings back many happy memories of my formative (viewing) years – thank you dad.
THE FICTION MAKERS (1968) Tuesday 23 June 2.55-5.00pm Talking Pictures (Channel 81)
Roger Moore made two feature-length Saint adventures at the end of his tenure. Almost impossible to see until fairly recently this one, in which he and a thriller writer are imprisoned for nefarious purposes, is marginally the better of the two. (Vendetta for the Saint is the other.)
CAROL (2015) Tuesday 23 June 11.15pm-1.35am Film Four
This romantic, emotionally intense drama that kicks off in the rather staid surroundings of a New York department store has two splendid performances from Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara.
PIMPERNEL SMITH (1941) Wednesday 24 June 3.50-6.15pm Film Four
This update of The Scarlet Pimpernel (1935) to Nazi Germany works ever so well. Leslie Howard is perfect in the role and it is both thoughtful and entertaining.
ON CHESIL BEACH (2017) Wednesday 24 June 9.00-10.45pm BBC 2
Enjoying its free-to-air première tonight, this adaptation of Ian McEwan’s novel didn’t find universal acceptance, but is an exciting event for us nevertheless!
RAWHIDE (1951) Thursday 25 June 2.50-4.35pm Film Four
I referred to this in passing recently and here it is! Tyrone Power and Susan Hayward desperately try and outwit some nasty outlaws at a way station. Jack Elam was a proper screen villain!
THE HAPPIEST DAYS OF YOUR LIFE (1950) Thursday 25 June 5.30-7.10pm Talking Pictures (Ch 81)
Well, this represents the best way of returning to school this week! A boys’ school (Alastair Sim) and a girls’ school (Margaret Rutherford) are billeted together just as an inspection is due. What a sublime acting duo – and this comedy is as good as it gets.
THE CONQUEST OF EVEREST (1953) Friday 26 June 7.15pm-8.50am Talking Pictures (Channel 81)
Contemporaneous with the actual event, this is an excellent documentary record (in colour) of all but the final ascent. The narrator is character actor Meredith Edwards.
THE SCARS OF DRACULA (1970) Friday 26 June 10.00-12 midnight Talking Pictures (Ch 81)
Fans regard this as being the best of Christopher Lee’s later entries in the series; Roy Ward Baker at the helm helped, undoubtedly. Dennis Waterman and Jenny Hanley are the obligatory young couple this time. If you would like to make it a double bill, Frankenstein Created Woman (1967) follows and, in similar vein, its supporters feel that it was the best of the Hammer Frankenstein films. Terence Fisher and Peter Cushing were both still on board and the writing seemed fresher.
RANDOM WORDS AND RANDOM MEMORIES FROM WEEK 10
Last week’s North West Frontier reminded me how popular points of the compass have been in film titles (Way Down East, North to Alaska, but we’ll pass over South of Heaven, West of Hell very quickly). Limiting our deliberations specifically to northern climes, North Dallas Forty and Northern Lights, both released in 1979, have considerable reputations, but are not shown very often. North by North West (1959) is, of course, quintessential Hitchcock. Northwest Passage (1940) is an excellent (at times brutal) outdoor adventure with Spencer Tracy and a much better film than Cecil B. DeMille’s North West Mounted Police (also 1940) which has so many odd moments as to be ridiculous. There was also a TV series Northwest Passage that ran for one season (from September 1958 in the US) and starred Keith Larsen, in the Tracy role of Robert Rogers, and Buddy Ebsen. I haven’t seen it for some years now but I suspect that it used some of the movie’s footage (both were in colour). My memory is that it was rather good; certainly, it was received well enough to edit three features from the episodes for release in European cinemas: Fury River (1958), Frontier Rangers (1959) and Mission of Danger (1959).
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