Another load olvideos heads yourwaythis fortnight. Best let our experts vet them first.
I Bepossessed ( 15) Linda Blair good-naturedly stars in this spoofof The Exorcist that rapidly degenerates into puerile and prurient ( 'urry ()n
‘ humour. Blair plays the
requisite middle-aged suburban housewife tormented by a demon that comes out of herTV' set and turns her stomach (no. not Bob Monkhouse). The exorcism boys turn tip and things get very silly. but real laughs are distinctly thin on the ground. and Iixoreis! in-jokes are not exactly topical at the moment. ((iuild Rental) I Field Of Dreams(i’(}) Man of the moment Kevin ‘Just call me ()scar' Costner stars in this gentle. elegiac story ofa hard-pressed farmer inspired by avision to build a baseball diamond in one ofhis fields. lt'sthe old struggle to recapture childhood again. but there is a warm-hearted directness to the film that helps it to avoid any Waltons-style corniness. (‘ostner is excellent. and things get quite moving when his childhood heroes walk out onto the diamond to play ball. There seemed to be a glut ofbaseball movies around a couple of years ago. This was by far the best. (Polygram £9.99)
I The Lair Of The White
Worm ( 18) Somewhere in England's beautiful Peak district there is a legend of an ancient evil. His name is Ken Russell. and he was responsible for this outrageously camp horror film about a woman vampire who can turn into a huge white worm at will (spot the phallic symbolism Freud fans). There's plenty of naked flesh. courtesy of Amanda Donohoe and (‘atherine ()xenberg. and things are played as much for laughs as horror. Enjoyable in a preposterous sort of way. (First Independent Rental)
Blue-eyed women, infinitely expendible partners, a positively unhealthy sexual appetite (but only when it doesn’t interfere with work) and $300 a day plus expenses. What a life these private eyes have, or do they? A new series on Channel 4, ‘Watching The Detectives“, may well scotch the myths forever by following five detectives through their cases.
It seems, for instance, that $300 a day is not especially realistic. Bill Dear is very, very dear. Working from his Dallas office, he regularly charges half a million dollars per case and looks more like a property magnate than the archetypal tousled, scruffy private dick. The series’ producer/director Malcolm Brinkworth, however, sees this diamond-ringed, Corvette-driving Pl as something of a champion of the DDDL
‘Bill has a real learthat there will soon be one law for the rich and one for the poor,’ explains Brinkworth. ‘People who don’t get their crimes solved will go to a private investigator and then hand the police a water-tight case. If a crime committed in New York isn’t solved within three days, then it never will be, not bythe police anyway. So anyone well-heeled is going to turn more and more to Pls in orderto get cases solved. That isn’t an option open to the poor. But I found Bill saying “Can you afford the fee?” and when he was told no, he’d say “I’ll do it forfree”.’
Dear may be happy to parade in ostrich-hide cowboy boots and handle high society killings but the series also focuses on the other extreme. Whilst
The yearning loins
DrJohn Post knows more about sex than one might think appropriate for a serious historian. He‘s even made something of a career out of it in the course of his work at the Public Records Office, where he is regarded as an authority on the history of contraception. Now some of his knowledge, gleaned from roughly a hundred years’ worth of sex manuals, problem pages and facts-ol-Iife books is to be passed on in a new Radio 4 series, ‘A Short History of the Cold Shower’ which starts on Friday 19 April at 11 .473m and documents the ‘misguided, bizarre and sometimes terrifying advice given by doctors and religious moralists with peculiar imaginations and little understanding of human nature‘.
Most terrifying of all is the Victorian dictum which forbade young women to run up and down stairs in tight clothing in case they became sexually excited. Nor were they encouraged to dance or go forbrisk walks. In fact it is hard to imagine how women were supposed to
Bill ‘very’ Dear
even Bogart occasionally pulled on a dinnerjacket, Stephen McLoughlin, a PI on the hard and lonely streets of Manchester, looks like the type of man not unaccustomed to being on the receiving end of a good kicking. As he travels round the slums to collect debts, Dobermans and knives are an occupational hazard.
‘lt’s been fascinating making a series like this,’ says Brinkworth, ‘because there’s a huge slice of life thatyou’ve never seen before. You realise that this is not fiction, it’s real. I think there are huge contrasts between the British and Americans but, at the same time,| hope that one will have a real feeling of some of the dilemmas and difficulties faced by all of these men. They all have to deal with very dangerous people almost every day of their lives and, ill was in trouble, lwould trust them above anyone else.’ (Philip Parr)
Watching The Detectives begins on Channel 4 on 29 April.
move around at all without succumbing to degeneracy— perhaps that explains why romantic novels always have them fainting and blushing.
Producer Malcolm Love professes himself mystified by Victorian sexual mores: ‘It is quite bizarre, this absurd obsession with minutiae, with what people can and cannot do. It seems that they went to the nth degree to codify behaviour. Mytheory, for all it’s worth, is that, afterthe blow of Darwinism, moralists and theologians began to ask the question ‘what is it that distinguishes usfrom animals?’ Onanism, of course is the answer. A nice Victorian biblical reference used to disguise the fact that they were referring to masturbation - Dnan was the Old Testament character who ‘spilled his seed upon the ground’ instead of procreating with it.
lf19th century children were beginning to wonderwhatall the fuss was about, Sir Anthony Baden Powell’s ‘Scouting for Boys’, published in 1908, was not to offer the progressive advice they might have wanted for their descendents. In it, Baden Powell strongly recommended regular dousing of the genitals with cold water. Not to do so could prove detrimental to a young lads health, he warned. But he never mentioned anything about sex to his curious protégées. (Miranda
I The Freshman (PG) in references and clever-clever jokes abound in Andrew Bergman‘s humorous suspense thriller about a naive young student who becomes embroiled in shady dealings. Matthew Broderick is nicely disingenuous as the film student. at one moment studying The Godfather in a seminar. the next being introduced to Marlon Brando. who for once looks like he is enjoying himself. making the young Broderick an offer he can‘t refuse. An enjoyable and original story. with some delightfully offbeat touches. (20:20 Rental)
I The Farm, Groovy Times The meteoric rise ofThe Farm in ten short months is final confirmation ofthe commercial clout ofstreet culture. Not the ‘happening hairdressers in London‘ street culture you read about in The Face. but real right there on the pavement stuff. Like the Happy Mondays. The Farm have elevated ordinariness into an art form. smashing into the charts with each successive release. but retaining visual anonymity. A video would therefore seem a bit of a pointless exercise — but Groovy Times proves otherwise. The band‘s ruison d'etre is their live performance — areal scarfs-out-for-the-boys testament to their terrace origins — and this mainly live video captures the whole spirit ofthe thing. The cult of the working class lad has arrived. Get on. get on the gravy train. (Polygram. £12.99)
IBogerAnd Me(15) Documentary with a difference from Michael Moore as he pursues Roger Smith, Chairman of General Motors and attempts to get an explanation as to why Smith closed down a plant in Moore's hometown of Flint. Michigan. at the cost of35.()()() jobs. Smith proves evasive. so Moore looks at how the affected citizens are making ends meet. some in very eccentric ways. Some aspersions have been cast on the honesty ofMoore's approach, but it cannot be denied that he has produced an incisive ! portraitofthe minutiae of American life. and made a filmthatisacutclyfunny I and profoundly sad in i equal measure. The film i was partly financed by a l weekly bingo game and i took all Moore's life-savings, but the ﬁnished article wasthe subject of keen bidding in Hollywood for the distribution rights. (Warner Rental)
The List l9April—2 May 199169