Welcome to the new week! BBC 2 is doing us proud this week with several classics – including half-a-dozen from RKO Radio, starting with Citizen Kane on Saturday. (Not included below, as it is one of the most famous films of all time.) The studio was a strange mixture – some all-time classics in the 1930s and 1940s, a great B picture unit and some really poor features, especially after it was sold to Howard Hughes. By the late 1950s it was in terminal decline and the studio facilities were sold off to Desilu, the television production company set up by Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz.
23-29 MAY 2020
TWO WAY STRETCH (1960) Saturday 23 May 5.15-7.00pm Talking Pictures (Ch 81)
Peter Sellers heads a great cast that includes Bernard Cribbins and Lionel Jeffries. He’s hoping to accomplish the perfect crime by breaking out of prison – and then breaking back in again.
GREAT EXPECTATIONS (1946) Sunday 24 May 10.35am-12.35pm BBC 2
Just about the best transfer of Dickens to the silver screen in movie history, has John Mills as Pip, Finlay Currie as Magwitch and award-winning cinematography.
SHE WORE A YELLOW RIBBON (1949) Sunday 24 May 3.35-5.15pm BBC 2
The Duke would have been 113 on 26 May, so here he is in one of his greatest roles trying to maintain peace on the frontier. The Oscar-winning Technicolor is superb. (1992-93 season, 75%.)
TOP HAT (1935) Monday 25 May 2.50-4.30pm BBC 2
For many this vies with Singin’ in the Rain (1952) for best musical. It has Fred and Ginger, Irving Berlin songs and amazing Art-Deco sets. Seeing it at the Regent was memorable (1990-91, 89%).
SUBURBICON (2017) Monday 25 May 10.00-11.40pm BBC 2
This is an interesting black comedy, directed by George Clooney, in which an African American family moves into a white suburb. The year is 1959 and sparks will fly!
THE MAGNIFICENT AMBERSONS (1942) Tuesday 26 May 3.05-4.30pm BBC 2
A family refuses to engage with a rapidly industrialising America. Orson Welles’s next after Citizen Kane was butchered by RKO, but has remained a technical masterpiece to critics around the world.
THE SHEPHERD OF THE HILLS (1941) Tuesday 26 May 6.55-9.00pm Channel 40
Hollywood has always had a fascination with rural (moonshine) dramas. This was John Wayne’s first in lovely Technicolor; it and some charming moments compensate for some strange Americana.
ARRIVAL (2016) Tuesday 26 May 9.00-11.20pm Film Four
We very nearly booked this, as it is absorbing, thought-provoking science-fiction with an excellent Amy Adams ably supported by Jeremy Renner. She is a linguist asked, by the nations of the world, to decode an alien language before it’s too late.
MY FAVORITE WIFE (1940) Wednesday 27 May 3.05-4.30pm BBC 2
It should be safe for Cary Grant to remarry (Irene Dunne having been lost at sea 7 years before), but don’t count on it. Another exemplary romantic comedy made when Mr Grant was at his peak.
RIDE LONESOME (1959) Thursday 28 May 1.10-2.40pm Film Four
The second best Randolph Scott/Budd Boetticher western is lean, mean and handsome. Scott is a bounty hunter determined to bring a killer to justice.
PASSPORT TO SHAME (1958) Thursday 28 May 9.30-11.20pm Talking Pictures (Channel 81)
By the late 1950s, British cinema had discovered sex – but not too overtly! A young French woman is tricked into ‘working’ for Herbert Lom; a young Michael Caine has a bit part as a bridegroom.
THE IMPOSTER (2012) Thursday 28 May 10.05-11.55 pm Channel 4
In 1994 a 13-year-boy disappeared from his Texas home. He re-appeared in 1997, with a French accent, and was welcomed home. DOCUMENTARY OF THE WEEK.
KING KONG (1933) Friday 29 May 2.50-4.30pm BBC 2
The original is still the best monster movie ever made. A couple of years ago, I drove up to Clifton to watch it in a 35mm print on the big screen and had a great afternoon!
TRUMBO (2015) Friday 29 May 11.20pm-1.20am BBC 2
This tells the story of Hollywood scriptwriter Dalton Trumbo (Spartacus) who was jailed after refusing to testify against fellow communists. Our members loved it! (2016-17, 94%)
RANDOM WORDS AND RANDOM MEMORIES
FROM WEEK 6 (and week 7)
Both Suddenly last week and Suburbicon this, have ‘home invasion’ as a central strand to their stories. So, too, does the year’s biggest critical success, Parasite, which was the last film I saw in a cinema before we went into lockdown. And, yes, it deserved all the plaudits; it’s an excellent film. Not that the concept is a new one. You might remember the French classic Boudu Saved from Drowning (1932) which was better than the American remake Down and Out in Beverly Hills (1986). Likewise, the 1955 film The Desperate Hours which had Humphrey Bogart menacing Frederic March’s family, was better than the 1990 remake with Mickey Rourke and Anthony Hopkins. The Keeping Room (2014), set during the American Civil War, didn’t really work either, but has a good cast and curiosity value. Definitely worth a view is the 1951 western drama Rawhide, in which two convicts (Jack Elam is on fine form!) invade Tyrone Power’s way station.
By David Johnson
Chairman of Lyme Regis Film Society
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