3 I Davy Crockett And The River Pirates

. (Scottish) lil.2llarn~noon. 'l'he Kingofthe

} Wild Frontier sorts out assorted Ito-good

typesin this Disney feature cobbled

7 together from two episodes of anearly

television series. ( 1956).

I Fort Apache ( BBCZ) l lam-- l .ttSpm. l-"irst instalment of Ford's supereav alry

trilogy has I lenry l‘onda cast against type as the stern cavalry commander vv ho's as harsh with his ovv ii men as he is vviththe

9 (unfortunate) local redskins. Wayne. Ward Bond and Victor Mel .aglen all go through their paces admirably . ( I948)

I The Black Stallion Returns t Btu ‘1) 11.25am 1.05pm. As does star of the first film Kelly Reno. vv ho misses the horse so much that he goes all the way to the Sahara tosearcli for the animal. Rather lacklustre sequel doesn‘t quite tap the charm ot the original.despite photography. ((983),

I The Sea Wolves ( Scottish)

1135- 2.40pm. A retired band ofcav-alry' officers take on a daring marine mission during the Second World War. (iame old |ags(iregory l’eck. David Niven. ’l'revor Howard and Roger Moore liven upthis dog—cared actioner. l’retty typical Boxing Day tare really. ( |9.\'(l).

I The Ladykillers ( But ‘2) 1 us 2.35pm.

British ( 'mnt'dit's Season of lialing films

begins vv ith Alexander .‘vlacendrick's wry

crime caper. lingaging Alec ( iuiness isthe kingpin of a group of none-too-bright


harmlesslittleoldlady Katie-Johnson.

llumour dry and black (1955)

5 I Escape To Athena t BBCl )3. ll) 4.ll5pm. Niv en and Moore pop tip again in yet

another World War 'l‘vv'o extrav agan/a.

thistime vvith 'l‘elly Savalasand l-Illiott

(iould ill a l’( )W escape y am. the

presence of :1 [HIV Star. the one and only

Mr Sonny Bono almost saves it. ( 1979)

I Octopussy (Scottish) 3.4a (v. l5ptn.

Bloody hell. Roger Moore :\( LAIN. Here

he does his hit as l Nl7 for the last time

before being replaced (and not before

time ) by Timothy Dalton. (iadgets.

vv iseci acks. titillation. world domination.

stuntmen blah blah blah. 'I‘he same mix as

before for those \\ ht) like this sort ofthing.

; and ( iod knows there seem to be enough

olyou otit there. ( 1983)

I The Maltese Falcon t 1313(‘3 ) (v 7.4(lpm, Bogart Now this is more like it. Asolutely


When one attempts to explain how the productions from one tiny studio whose star was in the ascendancy for less than fifteen years have come to be associated with the creative identity of an entire nation. it makes it so much easier if one mentions that the studio in question was Michael Balcon‘s Ealing Films, lor movies like ‘The Ladykillers‘

or ‘Passport To Pimlico‘ in many minds are, as a yuletide season on BBC2 suggests, British Comedies.

With their agreeable ensemble casts ol the finest character actors (Alec

'; Guinness, Margaret Rutherford, Peter

Sellers, Cecil Parkeret al) and their

l harmonious view of a contemporary Britain that still exemplified this kind of team spirit and lair play, Ealing lilms‘

view of their native country is an essentially organic, idealised one where the endings are always happy

ones. Perhaps that's why reactionary

historian turned amateur cineaste Prol. Norman Stone likes them so much, and why the critical and popular esteem in which their lighthearted but altogether

; conservative charms are held will

; continue. As the divided nation of the


smashing hard-boiled sltenanriigans.John lluston's first huge success as writer director saw llammett’s Sam Spade 3 character create the Bogey legend. and set tip messrs Lorre and (ireenstreet as filrn noir icons. Sterling support from Mary Astor and lilisha Cook .lnr in this zippy. unforgettal‘ile movie. ( l9~1l ). I Beverly Hills Cop t BBCI )S.2(L 1t).t)5pm. liddie Murphy hit the box office g-spot in this comedy-actionerasan unconventionalChicago cop whogoesto l..A. (man ) to investigate his buddy 's death. \'ery commercial mix ofone-liners and mayhem. vv ith Murphy never lost for words. Iixcept in this'l‘V version that is. where his favoured four-letter ones have

all been excised. ( I984 ).

I GingerAnd Fred ((‘4 ) i) 11.35pm. linjoyable latterday Fellini. vv ith the director's one-time vv ile ( iiulietta Masina and Marcello .\lastroianni playing clapped-out Rogers and Astaire impersonators reunited after many years for a guest spot on a tacky 'LVshovv. Vigorous satire on deregulated ltalian television. possibly screening as a dire portent ofthings to L‘Clt'tt‘ over here. ( 19m») I Local Hero ( BBCZ) 10.45pm» l2.3(lam. Bill liorsyth's first major studioeffort about oil company types l’ete r Riegert and Burt Lancaster falling in lov c with the wee Scots coastal village they are abotit to turn intoan oil terminal. ()uirky and enchanting. vv ith an unpredictably impish sense of humour bringing otit a lilmic representation of Scotland that‘s not at all patronising. laseellentt1983).

I Fiddler On The Root t Rm '1)

11.40pm 2.35am. Rather long musical bonanza vv ith 'I"opol repeating his Broadway success as a humble villager attempting to preserve .lcvv‘ish tradition in a community gradually being dissolv ed by emigration. .\'ice photography in shadesol ochre. and rousing songs like 'lt I Were A Rich Man'. but it‘s a long haul. ( l97l ).

I The Return Of FrankJames t ( 11)

13.35 2. lllam. l’rit: l.aitg l-rit/ out West. with l lenry l-‘onda repeating the eponymous role he had first played in the previous year'sJesse/antes and here attempting to avenge his outlaw brother's death. ( l9~ttl).

v Marvellous fly -on-the-vvall footage of Bob


l)}'lan‘s 1905 British tour. vvith DA. l’ennebaker’s inv estigativ e camera

i I Don‘t Look Back t 138(2) 13.35- :. lllpnt. | l

Eighties encounters a cultural dissolution of the ‘one nation’ myth, perhaps lolk need a Merrie Ealing to gaze londly back upon.

capturing moments like manager Albert (irossman‘s vicious telephone haggling. and a tense meeting between Dylan and folkie singing sensation Donovan. ()ne of the great rock movies. ( l965).

I ‘10' (Scottish) 1»-3.15am. Middle-aged songwriter Dudley Moore gets more excited by beach blanket bimbo Bo than spouse .lulie Andrews in this turgid Blake lidvv ards movie that probably appeals most to middle-aged men. The only funny scene has Dud in agony after a visit tothe dentist. btit the movie revitalised Blake's and Derek's career. .\'ot a rccomtnendation in my book. ( 1979).


I The Miracle Of The White Stallions (Scottish l 9.30am - noon. ()verlong Disney live action about the ev'acuationof pri/ed Lippi/aria horses from Vienna stables during World War Two. Robert

Taylor stars. Curt .lurgens does his bit asa

Nazi. ( 1963).

I Words And Music (813(2) lllam noon. Musical biopic with Mickey Rooney and Tom Drake as Rodgers and l lart. Highlight has (iene Kelly dancing to Slaughter ()n 'I't'itt/r A venue. ( 1946).

I Passport To Pimlico

(BBC: )Noon Llllpm. British ('tmtt’t/tt’s Stanley l lollovv ay leads the peasants' revolt as the citizens of the London suburb discover an ancient treaty that enables them to declare independence. llenry (it’llt'l’ft’l (‘ Cornelius directs with oodles of lialing charm. ( l94h’).

IShane (Scottish) 12.4ti 2.50pm. Archetypal Western from the Jack Shaeler novel. Short loner Alan l.add is the mysterious stranger who helps homestcader \‘an .lohnson against the machituttions of a local cattle baron and his hired gun .lack l’alance. (ieorge

Stev ens' deliberately-paced adventure seems to savour its own classic status asit goes along. l'..\ccl|ent. ( 1953).

I The Heroes OlTelemarkt BB( '1)

2.5” 5pm. Kirk Douglas and Richard

l larris feature in the usual World War

’l‘vv o gtiff about blovv ing tip a ( icrman factory. .\’ice Norwegian locations. though. Director Anthony Mann passes the time. ( 19(15).

I The African Queen ( BM ‘2 ) (v.50 8. 30pm. Bogart. Brilliant casting of()scar-winning Bogey and Katherine l lepburn in vvell-loved adv enture yarn as_odd couple rttffian and spinste r travel tip the Congo to blow up a ( ierman vv arship. J'ohn l luston and his crew had a tough time in Africa. bttt they brought home a great. great movie. ( 1951)

I The Eagle Has Landed ( BBCl)

9.50pm midnight. BestsellingJack

l liggins novel brought to the screen by veteran .lolm Sturges. Michael Caine strains credibility as the Nazi leadcr ofa raid to kidnap Churchill. btit the narrative chugs along happily enough. Robert

Duv all and Donald Sutherland support.

( 1976).

I The Wicked Lady ( mu ‘1)

midnight l.4llam. .llui‘tt' ( 'lttsvit‘s 'l‘hankfully not the Winner-Dunnaway remake. but this vintage piece ofgenteel British tosh hardly merits elassit'status. llighvvaywoman Margaret Lockwood teams up with appealing scoundrel .lames Mason for a bit ofeostumed romping. which shot the latter on to greatcrthings. (1945).

I FUN ((31) 12.4(l-~2.25am. Fritz/1mg Seas-an 'l‘he director's best American film has innocent traveller Spencer'l‘racy apparently lynched by a mob who mistake him for a murderer. However. he escapes and becomes an embittered man in the quest to have his perseeutors hanged for murder. Still harrowing. still pertinent. this is a penetrating examination of small-town American values. (193(1).


I Whisky Galore ( BBC2 )Noon— 1 .20pm.

i l

British Comedies Another Ealing cracker as a World War Two cargo ship sinks near a Scottish island and its payload ofwhisky gets washed ashore. Packed with the usual cast ofgame British character actors. Alexander Macendrick directs. (1949).

I Geronimo (BBCI ) 2. ill—3.50pm. Chuck Connors leads the lnjuns on the warpath in this run ofthe mill schedule-filler. (1962).

I The Treasure 0! The Sierra Madre (BBCZ) 6—8.05pm. BagartTeamed up with John Huston one more time in this tale of greedy prospectors thwarted in their effots to strike it rich. Full ofsweaty. rnisanthropic detail. Walter lluston won an Oscar as the seen-it-all old timer. and his boy got two for script and direction.

( I948)

I The Cotton Club (BBC2)9.4()—l l .-l(lpm. Confused. hugely expensive shambles ofa film by Francis Coppola. Richard (iere is rniscast as the white trumpeter involved with Bob Hoskins gangster figure during the prohibition era. Lovely Duke Ellington on the soundtrack. but the story of the film's troubled production remains more interesting than the final result. (1985).

I Top Secret (Scottish) ll).2()pm—midnight. llit-and-miss comedy capers from the Abrahams and Zucker Airplane team. with American rock star Val Wilmer on tour in contemporary East Germany getting mixed up with Nazisand the French Resistance! Don‘t they know the war is over'.’ Some good visual gags nonetheless. (1984).

I Two Rode Together ( BB(‘1) limit-12.45am. The two being sheriff James Stewart and cavalry officer Richard Widmark out to rescue a band ofpioneers from those naughty Commanches in this ()K star western. (1961).

I Ministry Of Fear (C4) 11.55pm - 1 .3tlam. Fritz Lang Season Ray Milland stars in Lang's stylish version of the Graham (ireene novel centring on a complicated wartime espionage plot. Atmospheric touches. but a pretty hokey l lollywood idea of London geography. (194-1).


I The Man In The White Suit ( Rm ‘2)

1 1 .55am- l .2tlpm. Britt's/t Cmnedies Alexander Macendrick is at the helmonce more for another [ialing gem. Alec (iuiness most engaging as the boffin who invents a white cloth that never gets dirty. but distressed textile manufacturers set out to destroy his formula. ( 1952).

I Devil-Ship Pirates (88(‘1 ) 2. llL-3.3()pm. Nice little Hammer effort as Spanish ships wreak havoc on the English coastline unaware that the Armada has been defeated. (‘hristopher Lee is his usual evil self. (1964).

I To Have and To Have Not ( BBCZ) 6—7.35pm. Bogart Here joined by Lauren Bacall for a satisfying l lawksian adaptation of l lernmingway. The workaday French resistance plot matters less than the electric love scenes and sharp dialogue (from the pen of William Faulkner no less). And you know how to whistle.don'tyou'.’(1946).

I Gremlins (Scottish) 9—1 1 .20pm. Irritating. charmless fantasy as a young boy is given a present ofa furry little creature that turns into a rapidly-multiplying dangerous demon when it comes into contact with water. This is meant to be a cute and funnyblack comedy. but it‘s obnoxious. self-satisfied film-making for the easily impressed. A plethora of in-jokes and cameos for buffs does not necessarily a good movie make. (1984).

I One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest ( BBCZ) lllpm—12.l()am. Multiple Dear-winning version of Ken Kesey‘s modern classic. Jack Nicholson is remarkable as Randle P. McMurphy. the rambunctious inmate ofa psychiatric institution who continually rubs authority, in the shape of Louise Fletcher's Big Nurse. the wrong way. The