When a first feature by a British director has won so many glowing opinions as Hear My Song has done.

it seems almost cynically churlish not

to surrender to its charms.

Having lost his shirt by booking the one and only Franc (‘inatra. the world‘s worst ol‘ blue eyes impersonator. ever-devious promoter Mickey ()‘Neill (Adrian Dunbar) thinks he's come up with a real coup for the next promotion at his Liverpool club. He belieyes he‘s secured the services of legendary Irish crooner Josef l .ocke. a hugely popular entertainer who’s long sought refuge in Ireland from his massive tax problems on the mainland.

'l'antalisingly billed as Mr X (William Hootkins). among those

Hear My Song: ‘some will be more enchanted by the film's whimsical Oirishry than others’

anticipating his latest appearance are the police inspector (David ;\lc(‘allum) who's still on his case after twenty-odd years and Locke's old flame (Shirley Anne Field). Her daughter ('I‘ara Fitzgerald) has recently gotten engaged to O'Neill. and she and her former beauty queen mother confirm that the mystery man is. in fact. a fake. So ifhe's to win back his audience. his self-respect. and the woman he loves. there’s only one thing left for Mickey to do: go across to the [Emerald Isle and bring the real Josef Locke back alive!

While the source material of Peter (‘helsom‘s directorial debut is absolutely fascinating. sortie will be more enchanted by the film‘s whimsical ()irishry than others.

There‘s a strong underlying story here about emotional commitment. evasion and regret. but its impact is rather dissipated by the would—be ‘magical' elements in the story—telling. Although the performers rip in splendidly to the script‘s disarming quickfire banter. the final impression is that ofa modestly charming Film on Four hyped out of all proportion by a British media positively willing it to succeed. It‘s not that it's disappointing. but you might enjoy it more if you don't expect some sort of all-time classic. ('I‘revorJohnston) Hear My Song ( 15) (Peter (Thelsom. UK. 1991) Adrian Dunbar. Ned Beatty. 'I‘ara Fitzgerald. David Mc(‘a|lum. 103 mins. Glasgow:

()deon. Edinburgh: ()deon.



DirectorofHearMy Song

Born 1956 in Blackpool and heard Irish tenor Josef Locke in summer seasons at the seaside resort. A former actor, his short film Treacle was nominated for a BAFTA Award in 1988, and his recent commercials work includes campaigns for Molson Canadian lager and the Daily Express newspaper.

0n the real Josef Locke: ‘1 think he was surprised that someone in his thirties wanted to make a film about him. but he‘s been great to me once he realised that I wasn't making a strict Joe Locke biopic. Like Ned Beatty in the film though. he doesn't consider the film to be a celebration of his career. because he's done it all anyway.‘

0n the music: ‘We couldn't use Locke‘s own recordings because they just wouldn‘t have sounded pristine enough. so Vernon Midger did a wonderful job ofre-creating Jo‘s sound. In the final concert sequence. Ned Beatty sang live. an octave lower. over playback at high volume. '

0n the film’s success: 'I think it's possible to have no compromise in integrity and still reach a lot of people. Its intentions are simple. it's hugely optimistic. It seems to be about a moment when people‘s gestures were big. about something that audiences yearn for and miss. 0n magic: ‘The film is intentionally timeless and placeless. This is the point where I start to sound like a Channel 4 director. but once you embrace that style. you can go on to greater limits and the story becomes more ofa tale. Ifyou don't quite have the money anyway to get all the period details right. then you just get it wrong in the best possible way.‘


" . t

Necessary Roughness: ‘marginally less exciting than watching the astroturf grow‘

Rocked by a drugs scandal and a resultant blanket ban on the entire playing and coaching stall, college football champs the Texas State University Armadillos and their replacement trainer Hector Elizondo


limited bunch of misfits that turn out for the trials, the coach persuades former high school star quarterback Scott Bakula to leave his farm and go back to academia to lead the attack. But will the captain be able to get his romantic act together with sultry journalist tutor Harley Jane Kozak in time to save the ‘Dillos from the league table’s wooden spoon?

Well, you getthree guesses, and the first two don’t count. A very routine gridiron football variant on the Rocky-style sports underdog flick, Necessary Roughness fumbles in its efforts at livening things up with some knockabout antics on the training ground, ensuring that anyone who doesn’t fully understand the rules or the scoring system will be bored as well as confused. A few moments of spirited mugging from the dependable Elizondo and sidekick Robert Loggia aside, this is marginally less exciting than watching the astroturf grow. (TrevorJohnston)

Necessary Roughness (15) (Stan Dragoti, US, 1991) Scott Bakula, Hector Elizondo, Robert Loggia, Harley Jane Kozak. 104 mins. Glasgow:

are left with only a few weeks to recruit l Cannon The Forge. Edinburgh: UCI.

a fighting unit of new players from the available undergraduates. Given the

Strathclyde: UCI Clydebank, UCI East Kilbride.

the meantime, a violent feud continues


Travelling across the countryside of North Western China, an ageing blind musician, revered for his mystical powers by the peasantry, is on the brink of breaking the thousandth string on his sanzian (a traditional variant on the guitar) and thus fulfilling a long-standing prophecy by retrieving the prescription hidden inside the

instrument thatwill restore his sight. In

to rage between two local clans, and the player's young disciple creates further tension by beginning an illicit relationship with one of the local girls. As the day of reckoning draws ever nearer, however, the old man's health is fading fast.

Underpinned by a lush Western-style score, Chen Kaige’s film is on the same pictorially expansive scale as the masterly Yellow Earth but, as in the later King ofthe Children, the real core of the piece is a metaphorical examination of China's recent political experience. Don’t place your trust in sacred panaceas, would seem to be the basic message, timely In view of the recent post-Tiananmen doctrinaire retrenchment, but the action is

Life On A String: ‘dreamily mesmerising stuff’

presented as enough of a table to be enjoyed on that level alone. Cast within a startling remote landscape, this is dreamin mesmerising stuff, transforming politics into myth, the everyday into magic. (Trevor Johnston)

Life On A String (15) (Chen Kaige, China/UK/Germany, 1991) Liu

' Zhongyuan, Huang Lei, Xu Ding. 103

mins. From Thurs 9 Apr: Glasgow Fllm Theatre.

The List-Ear-C—h:fi9—April