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This week’s collection is a little different. I have not selected one or two user friendly titles such as Groundhog Day even though it did very well for us (1993-94 season, 80%). Although Shane had to be there (“mother wants you . . . Shane, come back” – ultimately, this was why he couldn’t stay, of course. Such viewing pleasure over the years!) Anyway, it’s perhaps best to think of this week’s list as having been curated by Quentin Tarantino after a Q & A at Cannes. But, even if some of the titles are not normally your cup of tea they do have a lot to commend them. You can always tell me off when we meet again (especially for From Dusk to Dawn). Stay well and healthy.
6 – 12 JUNE 2020
WALK A TIGHTROPE (1964) Saturday 6 June 8.25-10.00am Talking Pictures (Ch 81)
Here is a long-forgotten British crime drama with American Dan Duryea (he of the nasal whine) as an unstable gun-for-hire who is asked to kill a husband.
THE LONGEST DAY (1962) Saturday 6 June 2.00-5.45pm Film Four
It had to be on today, of course. It remains a brilliant reconstruction of the D-Day landings – more so if you have visited the key sites – with an international cast of some 50 stars.
THE TROLLENBERG TERROR (1958) Sunday 7 June 8.20pm-10.00am Talking Pictures (Channel 81)
Ah, the days when a piece of cotton wool was a special effect! Like Quatermass, this was a BBC/low budget crossover with an American import (here it’s Forrest Tucker) fighting an alien presence.
THE TALL T (1957) Sunday 7 June 5.20pm-7.05pm Channel 40
This week, by coincidence, we can catch the BEST Randolph-Budd Boetticher western! It is literate, beautifully framed, wastes not a second and Richard Boone makes a fantastic heavy.
FROM DUSK TO DAWN (1995) Sunday 7 June 11.20pm-1.20am & Weds 10.50 Paramount (Ch 31)
Okay, this is a comedy/horror/heist hybrid in which two vicious robbers take a family hostage and head for Mexico – but the hideout is full of vampires. It’s off the wall, outrageous and very violent!
49th PARALLEL (1941) Monday 8 June 4.35-7.10pm Film Four
This fine Powell-Pressburger wartime drama concerns a U-Boat crew trying to escape across the Canadian wilderness. Leslie Howard, Laurence Olivier and Eric Portman head the cast.
ESCAPE FROM NEW YORK (1981) Monday 8 June 11.20pm-1.25am Paramount (Ch 31)
Futuristic drama (set in 1997!) in which one-eyed convict Kurt Russell agrees to rescue the US president, whose plane has crashed in the prison of Manhattan. Would he do it in 2020?
THE SOUTHERNER (1945) Tuesday 9 June 6.00-8.00am Talking Pictures (Channel 81)
Rare top billing for Zachary Scott and he is superb, as the cotton farmer struggling to support his family. Jean Renoir directs his only American film and it is a quiet masterpiece.
VERA CRUZ (1954) Tuesday 9 June 2.00-4.00pm Paramount (Channel 31)
There is much interest in the coach full of gold heading for Mexico in this entertaining adventure. Gary Cooper and Burt Lancaster (both so true to their iconic images here) head a great cast of character actors and future stars.
SHANE (1953) Wednesday 10 June 3.25-5.55pm Film Four
Justifiably a cinema legend (and my no. 3 western): Alan Ladd’s finest hour, a great Victor Young score – and colour – and meticulously directed by George Stevens. The novel is a classic, too.
THE SQUARE (2017) Wednesday 10 June 9.00pm-12.05am Film Four
A true ‘Marmite’ film that was too long – and too risky, we felt – to programme. It is a satirical drama, set mostly in a Stockholm art museum that won the Palme d’Or at Cannes.
THE GIRL WITH A PISTOL (1968) Thursday 11 June 8.00-10.00pm Talking Pictures (Channel 81)
A very rare showing on British TV for an Oscar-nominated comedy that isn’t included in most guides. Angry Monica Vitti comes here looking for her seducer and encounters some typical British males.
SEANCE ON A WET AFTERNOON (1964) Thursday 11 June 11.45pm-2.00am Talking Pictures (Ch 81)
Bryan Forbes directs Richard Attenborough and Kim Stanley (Oscar nominated) in the gripping, unusual tale of a celebrity-seeking medium who involves her timid husband in a kidnapping.
WARLOCK (1959) Friday 12 June 12.55-3.20pm Film Four
Character-driven psychological western in which Henry Fonda is asked to clean up the town. Richard Widmark, Anthony Quinn and Dorothy Malone also do great work. As critic Leonard Maltin says “forgotten, but worthy of rediscovery.”
THE BESPOKE OVERCOAT (1955) Friday 12 June 2.30-3.15pm Talking Pictures (Channel 81)
Shorts are often overlooked – and this is a really good one, with Alfie Bass and David Kossoff, that won many awards. Jack Clayton went on to direct the classic thriller The Innocents (1961).
THE L-SHAPED ROOM (1962) Friday 12 June 10.00pm-12.30am Talking Pictures (Ch 81)
Excellent work again by Bryan Forbes, this time with Leslie Caron. She is excellent as Jane, an unmarried, pregnant young woman who comes to London to hide her shame in a tenement bedsit.
RANDOM WORDS AND RANDOM MEMORIES FROM WEEK 8
IT’S ALL IN A NAME!
Literally thousands of actors have changed their names completely: Bernard Schwartz became Tony Curtis and Lucille Le Sueur became Joan Crawford; some just shorten them (Thomas Cruise Mapother IV); others took an extra name to consolidate both their images and audience expectations (George ‘Gabby’ Hayes and Al ‘Fuzzy’ St John). What are much rarer, are instances where an actor’s name is misspelt on screen. I was reminded of this watching Man on the Run last Saturday (and I was so pleased I did – it was very good). Kenneth More had a small role in this 1949 drama – and his name was spelt Moore in the opening credits and More in the closing ones! Claude Akins was billed as Akin in The Sea Chase (1955) and, stretching my memory to breaking point, Chief Yowlachie’s name was spelt Yolatchie in the end credits of ‘War Horse’ (an early episode of The Lone Ranger TV series, not the Steven Spielberg film). A mistake in the title of a film is almost unheard of, although when Gail Television bought the rights to the 1931 Buck Jones western Range Feud and changed the graphics, it came out Fued!
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