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“Robin Hood, Robin Hood, is riding through the glen” . . . . Coming soon to a TV set near you: if you have an interest in the early years of television, as I do, Talking Pictures will be showing The Adventures of Robin Hood; of William Tell; Sir Lancelot; and Sir Francis Drake in their teatime (5.30pm) slot!
30 MAY – 5 JUNE 2020
MAN ON THE RUN (1949) Saturday 30 May 5.30-7.15pm Talking Pictures (Ch 81)
We have a tense, neatly packaged, British noir with Derek Farr playing an army deserter accused of murder and trying to clear himself. Later, Mr Farr guest starred in episode 1 of The Saint TV series.
ELLA FITZGERALD: JUST ONE OF THOSE THINGS Saturday 30 May 9.30-11.00pm BBC 2
This DOCUMENTARY OF THE WEEK follows her career from its 1934 beginnings through to her peak years with clips, songs and interviews.
MAN OF THE WEST (1958) Saturday 30 May 11.20pm-1.30am Paramount (Channel 31)
In his last role of note, Gary Cooper plays a reformed outlaw who has to confront his ex-mentor, the evil Doc Tobin (Lee J. Cobb). The psychological motivations are deeper and the characters tougher.
WITHNAIL AND I (1986) Sunday 30 May 12.15am-2.05am Channel 4
Hippies Richard E. Grant and Paul McGann visit their outrageous uncle Monty (Richard Griffiths). We showed this black comedy in our first season (1988-89, 71%). Obsessive cleaners avert your eyes!
THE MAN WHO SHOT LIBERTY VALANCE (1962) Sunday 31 May 6.20-9.00pm Channel 31
John Ford’s final masterpiece stars John Wayne, James Stewart, Vera Miles and Lee Marvin. Back in Shinbone for a funeral, senator Ransom Stoddard reflects on the town’s wild, pioneering days.
THE MAN WHO HAUNTED HIMSELF (1970) Sunday 31 May 10.00-11.50pm Channel 81
Roger Moore made two films between The Saint and The Persuaders and he remained very proud of his work here. After a car accident, a businessman wonders – is he mad, or has he a double?
ANGEL FACE (1952) Monday 1 June 7.50-9.35am Channel 40
Sweet-faced Jean Simmons is planning to kill her father and stepmother; will chauffeur Robert Mitchum escape her clutches? A well-made drama and its reputation is still growing.
HELL BELOW ZERO (1954) Monday 1 June 11.00am-12.50pm Film Four
Helpful Alan Ladd takes to the sea, to uncover why Joan Tetzel’s father was murdered. This was the sort of early fare upon which Bond producer Cubby Broccoli cut his teeth.
THE SOUND OF FURY (1950) Tuesday 2 June 11.00am-12.50pm Film Four
I started the listings for such as this – a small, independent, b/w film about a father who is suckered in to criminal ways. It’s scintillating stuff and the director, Cy Endfield, later made Zulu.
CALL ME MADAM (1953) Tuesday 2 June 2.40-4.30pm BBC 2
Ethel Merman sings hits from her hugely successful Broadway show and Donald O’Connor and Vera-Ellen dance up the sort of storm that few others could manage!
ALONE IN BERLIN (2016) Tuesday 2 June 11.15pm-1.20am Film Four
Emma Thompson and Brendan Gleeson are grieving parents who distribute anti-Nazi propaganda. We didn’t quite use it (German films have covered similar ground better), but take a look!
CARMEN JONES (1954) Wednesday 3 June 2.50-4.30pm BBC 2
An excellent, all-black cast transfers Bizet’s opera (and the stage show) to the silver screen in exhilarating fashion. Dorothy Dandridge’s Oscar nomination was ground breaking.
ENOUGH SAID (2013) Wednesday 3 June 7.10-9.00pm Film Four
The late James Gandolfini plays an overweight Mr Average, who meets a divorced masseuse at a party. It’s a modest charmer that reminds one of the 1955 classic Marty.
I WALK ALONE (1947) Wednesday 3 June 10.05pm-12.05am Talking Pictures (Channel 81)
Two ex-bootleggers fight over their spoils. This first teaming of Burt Lancaster and Kirk Douglas is relatively rare. (I have seen about 50 films of each, but not this one, so my seat is booked!)
SAPPHIRE (1959) Thursday 4 June 9.25-11.10pm Talking Pictures (Channel 81)
This very watchable detective drama, with a social conscience, was a Bafta winner; Nigel Patrick and Michael Craig try to solve the puzzle of a young model’s murder.
THE NAKED JUNGLE (1954) Friday 5 June 4.55-6.50pm Film Four
The producer-director team of The War of the Worlds re-united for this adventure in which Charlton Heston battles an army of soldier ants.
HORRORS OF THE BLACK MUSEUM (1959) Friday 5 June 10.00-11.40 Talking Pictures (Ch 81)
Here we have a luridly colourful cult shocker – infamous in its day – in which a novelist kills to boost readership interest. Arthur Crabtree also directed Fiend Without a Face – enough said!
RANDOM WORDS AND RANDOM MEMORIES
FROM WEEK 7
Prison break dramas have always been popular. I Am a Fugitive From a Chain Gang (1932) remains one of the great Warner Brothers films; King of Alcatraz (1938) was a lightning fast B film and Clint Eastwood was trying to escape from the same institution 30 years later. White Heat (1949) had James Cagney at the top of his game and Burt Lancaster’s Brute Force (1947) was almost as good. Whilst it is very good, with two fine actors, it has always staggered me that The Shawshank Redemption often makes the ‘best ever’ lists; it strikes me that it was a film promoted by social media before social media was invented. I shall watch it again though! Breaking back in again is rarer, but the plot device was used in Cahill United States Marshal (1973) and the pilot for the TV series Alias Smith and Jones - and at least one further episode!
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