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First of all, I must make a second apology of the season. Last week’s film Circumstantial Evidence was not the 1945 American B-feature with Michael O’Shea. This was a shame as it is a good little film. Rather it was the 1952 British B-feature starring Rona Anderson. In my defence, I offer the fact that the 1945 version was also listed in some of the national magazines! Anyway, I promise to take extra care with this week’s titles. One good piece of news – the Sky Arts channel will be coming to Freeview sometime around September, I think.
GUNMAN’S WALK (1958) Saturday 1 August 10.05-12 noon Channel 40
Quentin Tarantino included this brooding western in his curated season a few months ago: there’s a bad brother (Tab Hunter), a good one (James Darren) and a sturdy Van Heflin as the father.
SUNSHINE ON LEITH (2013) Saturday 1 August 12.50-2.55pm Film Four
This made a very successful Silver Screen a few years ago, due largely to the foot-tapping songs of The Proclaimers. George McKay has since gone on to even greater things in 1917.
THE DESPERATE HOURS (1955) Saturday 1 August 6.15-8.30pm Talking Pictures (Channel 81)
I referred to this brilliant family-held-hostage thriller a while back. Bogie, Frederic March and Arthur Kennedy is a cast made in heaven!
THE FRIENDS OF EDDIE COYLE (1973) Saturday 1 August 9.00-11.05pm Talking Pictures (Ch 81)
This fine drama contains the best performance Robert Mitchum gave in his later years. He’s the informer trying to stay one step ahead of some unsavoury characters.
KUBO AND THE TWO STRINGS (2016) Sunday 2 August 10.55am-1.00pm Channel 13
This is five star, Bafta-winning animation: orphan Kubo searches for a magical suit of armour, accompanied by a snow monkey and a beetle.
THE THIEF OF BAGDAD (1940) Sunday 2 August 1.15-3.20pm Talking Pictures (Channel 81)
This masterpiece, still unrivalled, makes today a great day for fantasy drama. Sabu plays the thief and the score, art direction and Technicolor are just wonderful.
HOWARDS END (1992) Sunday 2 August 6.05-9.00pm Film Four
Two great, serious dramas are also televised today. This, one of the best-ever adaptations of a novel, with Anthony Hopkins and Emma Thompson, is the one to savour.
DANGEROUS LIASONS (1988) Sunday 2 August 10.30pm-12.25am BBC 1
The second of the day’s heavyweight dramas is set in France prior to the Revolution and is a heady mix of sexual intrigue and deceit.
ALL OVER THE TOWN (1949) Monday 3 August 9.30-11.15am Talking Pictures (Channel 81)
Lyme’s very own film has another run out. It is a well-acted, witty comedy drama that, barely twenty years ago, was thought to be a lost film. The producer, Ian Dalrymple, has a very interesting CV.
BILLY LIAR (1963) Monday 3 August 11.00pm-1.00am Talking Pictures (Channel 81)
For about five years (1958-63) British cinema produced, with a host of new talent, some of its best work. This satirical drama, scripted by Keith Waterhouse and Willis Hall, is one of them.
GIDEON OF SCOTLAND YARD (1958) Tuesday 4 August 11.10am-1.00pm Channel 40
Quite a curio for John Ford, and not a financial success – the US prints were even in b/w. Jack Hawkins is fine in the lead; it’s just that the London character-types are not well drawn.
DEAD CALM (1989) Tuesday 4 August 11.00pm-1.00am Channel 30
Dead Calm was the breakthrough for both Nicole Kidman and Sam Neill. He’s the husband marooned on a sinking boat; she’s the wife, trapped on another with Billy Zane’s psychopath.
ALL THE KING’S MEN (1949) Wednesday 5 August 10.45am-1.00pm Talking Pictures (Channel 81)
Broderick Crawford seized his one moment of (film) glory (and an Oscar) with both hands, and gave a career-best performance as a corrupt senator. He beat both Kirk Douglas and John Wayne to the award; ironically, JW had refused the role because of the subject matter and his dislike of Harry Cohn, the head of Columbia Pictures.
THE DRESSMAKER (2015) Wednesday 5 August 11.05pm-1.25am Film Four
Seamstress Kate Winslet returns to the scene of her upbringing, looking to take revenge on those who wished her ill. It did well for us (season 2016-17, 85%).
HIROSHIMA (2005) Wednesday 5 August 10.00-11.30pm BBC 4
This is something a little different – not a film as such, but a drama documentary (narrated by John Hurt) about the events leading up to the dropping of the bomb. It’s followed (11.30pm-12.40am) by Atomic: Living in Dread and Promise, a Storyville documentary, directed by Mark Cousins, that relies solely on the power of archive footage.
ON THE NIGHT OF THE FIRE (1939) Thursday 6 August 9.30-11.30am Talking Pictures (Channel 81)
Director Brian Desmond Hurst turns in a riveting, prototype film noir in which an East End barber (Ralph Richardson) strangles a blackmailer. It’s quite a revelation and seriously recommended.
I WILL FIGHT NO MORE FOR EVER (1975) Thursday 6 August 1.00-3.15pm Channel 40
This TVM tells the story of Joseph, chief of the Wallowa band of the Nez Perces who led the US cavalry a merry dance, for 1,600 miles, in 1877. It’s relatively authentic and done with sensitivity.
ATTACK! (1956) Friday 7 August 1.50-4.00pm Channel 31
Robert Aldrich’s brutal (for the time) war film has three excellent performances from Lee Marvin, Jack Palance and Eddie Albert who daringly (for the time) portrays a captain with a cowardly streak.
THE DANISH GIRL (2015) Friday 7 August 10.45pm-12.45am ITV 1
Eddie Redmayne is brilliant as Einar Wegener, the 1920s artist who yearned for a sex change; Alicia Vikander is equally striking as his sympathetic wife.
RANDOM WORDS AND RANDOM MEMORIES
It has been another sad week for film fans, with the death of Olivia de Havilland, aged 104, ending the last great link with Hollywood’s Golden Age. However, it is not quite The End – there are still industry personnel who can give us an insight into what it was like all those years ago and many of them have featured somewhere in our regular listings. Fans remain well served for the 1950s onwards, with the likes of Clint Eastwood, Carroll Baker, Eve Marie Saint and Dick Van Dyke. We have Glynis Johns (who made an early appearance in this week’s On the Night of the Fire) and Leslie Phillips, and the German actor Hardy Krüger started acting during World War II. The character actors Norman Lloyd (b. 1914) and Nehemiah Persoff (b. 1919) would, I am sure, give fascinating interviews and I have always had a particular interest in actors, like Phyllis Coates and Earl Holliman, who have done both films and a lot of TV work. Before 1950, it gets harder, of course, but Angela Lansbury was making films in the 1940s and Marsha Hunt in the 1930s. Coming full circle, I’d love to interview the child actor Mickey Kuhn, who appeared in GWTW with Miss de Havilland and later played Matthew Garth (as a boy) in Red River.
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