TELEVISION TWELVE DAYS OF CHRISTMAS FILMS
This Christmas, The list offers a coupieheesive guide to twelve days of Christmas films from Fri 22 0eme 3 J8. The: were correct at tlnte of going to but could be sublect to late changes. Television lilru listings couplled by Alan Morrison.
I The Beats And I (Scottish) lO.40am—l2.20pm. An army veteran loves the outdoor life and adopts a trio of bear cubs while sorting out a dispute over a Native American reservation.
I The 5000 Fingers 0f or T (BBC2)
ll. 15am—l2.45pm. Any kid. young or old. who has suffered through unwelcome piano lessons will lap up this imaginative musical in which a boy imagines that his teacher is a mad doctor who holds 500 kidnapped youngsters in his sinister school.
I The 39 Steps (Channel 4) 2-3.45pm. Neither the Hitchcock classic nor the Robert Powell period piece. but the inferior 1959 version that almost copies the original scene for scene. adding colour but losing tension.
I Christmas Comes To Willow Creek (BBC2) 2.10—3.55pm. Two feuding brothers take a load of seasonal pressies to an Alaskan town in this standard TV movie. which stars both of the young blokes from The Dukes Of Hazmrd.
I The Princess Bride (Scottish) 3.30—5.10pm. A courageous farm boy heads off on an adventure to save his beloved from the clutches of the wicked Prince Humperdinck. Rob Reiner‘s stonkingly good movie manages to stay true to all the necessary fairytale ingrediean while also sending them up
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The last 0i The Mohicaes (BBCl) 9.30—1120pm. Daniel Day-Lewis brings a nobility to the frontiersman Hawkeye, caught up in the 18th century war between the British and Americans. Director Michael Mann captures the grandeur of the scenery and, with its superb action scenes, delivers one of the best Hollywood adventures of recent years.
I udyhawke (Scottish) 10.30pm-12.45am. Medieval swords and scorcery as Rutger Hauer goes through several tough trials to end the curse that separates him from Michelle Pfeiffer. As you would.
I Bace With The Devil (BBC2) 11.45pm-l . 10am. Four holidaymakers get more than they bargained for when they stumble upon a group of Texan Satanists. A superior low budget horror movie that makes for a great late-night cult discovery. I Annie llall (BBCl) 12.20—1 .SOam. Woody Allen's writing was at its best when he penned (and directed and starred in) this Oscar-winning. semi- autobiographical look at love
I Max Mon Amour (Channel 4) 12.30—2.15am. When a British diplomat in Paris discovers that his wife is having an affair with a chimpanzee. he insists that his rival in love moves into the apartment. And the Tory Party thinks it has problems with sleaze scandals? There's a distinct whiff of Bunuel in the air. although director Nagisa Oshima never quite pulls off the same masterful satire on bourgeois pretensions.
I The iiound Oi The Baskervilles (Scottish) l2.55-2.40am. One of many outings for Holmes and Watson in their most famous case. this time in an above average TV movie from 1983. starring Ian Richardson.
I Masculine Mystique (Channel 4)
2. l 5-3.45am. Four very different but clearly ‘unliberated’ men re-enact real-life scenes and talk about their lives during a consciousness-raising session.
I love leads The Way (Scottish) 3.10—4.55am. Timothy Bottoms plays the ﬁrst American to be given a guide dog when blinded in an accident in 1927. Like all pioneers. he faces prejudice and scepticism from those around him.
I Mr Muggs Rides Again (Scottish) 4.55—5.55am. One from the Bowery Boys series. with a framed jockey ﬁghting his way back onto the racetrack.
I The Cold Bush (BBC2) 7.40—8.50arn. Sentimentality and splendid set pieces (the famous ‘log cabin on the edge of a cliff ' scene) come together as Charlie Chaplin copes with bullies. blizzards and his love for Georgia Hale during the Klondike gold rush of 1898.
I The Invisible Man (BBCZ) 8.50—l0am. .
The classic 1933 version. with Claude Rains in nasty rnegalomaniac form when a scientiﬁc experiment renders him see- through. -
I Journey Back To 02 (Scottish)
9.50—1 1.30am. Liza Minnelli follows in her mum's footsteps. albeit only as the voice to an animated Dorothy. as she goes back over the rainbow to clean up the evil not eradicated ﬁrst time round.
I IIIIIS (II Home (Channel 4) lO—l 1.45am. The Californian Sierras stand in for Scotland as Lassie remains true to the kindly doctor who buys her from a grumpy famier. A nice enough family ﬁlm.
I Call Of The Wild (Channel 4)
1240—2. lOpm. The second gold rush movie of the day ﬁnds Clark Gable up in Alaska. romancing Loretta Young instead of keeping true to Jack London's novel. I Mary Poppins (Scottish) 1.10-3.40pm. Julie Andrews and Dick ‘Worst Cockney Accent Ever’ Van Dyke star in this inventive children‘s musical that still keeps the little ones quiet on a Saturday afternoon.
I Problem Child 2 (BBCl) 1.35—3.05pm. As if the ﬁrst one wasn’t bad enough (and believe me. it was). this offensive sequel brings in a young girl to add to Junior's psychologically suspect antics. Totally misconceived as a kids' movie.
I Gypsy (BBCZ) 1.50—4. 10pm. The original Rosalind Russell version rather than the Bette Midler remake. but that's not really a commendation. The comedy works well enough. but she's just not strong enough to be the true stage mama force necessary.
I’ll W TIIE IIAY I The Jungle Book (Channel 4) 2.10-4.10pm. The Korda brothers - producer Alexander, director Zoltan and designer Vincent - combined to create this classic 405 version of the Kipling book. Sabu stars as Mowgli, the boy raised by animals who unwittingly leads greedy humans to an untouched village ﬁlled with treasure.
I Santa Claus: The Movie (BBC l) 3.05-4.50pm. Another seasonal outing for this uninspired kids' ﬂic with Dudley Moore as the disgruntled elf who sells Santa's trade secrets to capitalist big business._ I Singleton’s Pluck (Channel 4) 7.20—9pm. A fairly early Filtn On Four offering from renowned theatre director Richard Eyre. this low key tale has Ian Holm as a goose farmer who. faced with a plucker‘s strike and a shaky marriage. takes to the road with 500 geese in order not to miss the Christmas market.
I The Mambo Kings (BBC2)
9. l 5—10.55pm. Two Cuban brothers. struck in different ways by the vagaries of love. try to form a Mambo band in post- war America. The atmosphere is perfectly realised. the music pulses. the acting is remarkable and there‘s even the dream Latin team of Armand Assante and Antonio Banderas.
I Predator (Scottish) lO—ll.55pm. An unseen alien force knocking off a crack team of commandos in the jungles of South America. and only Arnold Schwarzenegger has the muscle power to save the planet. Tense. gory (less so on TV) action movie with memorable sfx. I A Boy And His Dog (Channel 4) ll.05pm—l2.45am. A surreal sci-fr black comedy in which a young Don Johnson wanders the post-apocalyptic plains of America with his telepathic canine chum. Lassie on some seriously fun drugs.
I llepossessed (Scottish) ll.55pm—l.25am. Pretty lame spoof on The Iimrr‘isl. with a string of Airplane-style jokes from the likes of Leslie Nielsen. Not worth twisting your
' head backwards for.
I liair (BBC2) 12.10-2.10arn. Draft- dodging. ﬂower power. ()Os counterculture. the dawning of the age of Aquarius — few movies now seem as dated as Hair. which itself was a period piece when it was released at the end of the 70s.
I Birth or The Beatles (BBC!) l2.20—l.50am. From college in Liverpool to the clubs of Hamburg and on to the Ed Sullivan Show: the early days of the much-hyped Fab Four are set out in this easy-going TV movie. Back/tea! it ain‘t. I Tarzan The Ape Man (Channel 4) l2.45—2.35am. King of the (vine) swingers Johnny Weissmuller tries on the loincloth for the ﬁrst time. learns the odd word or two and begins his own particular brand of mating rituals with Maureen
, O'Sullivan‘s Jane.
I The Pink Panther (BBCI )
? 7.30—9.25am. Jewel thief David Niven has
his eyes on a world famous gem. but is hindered in his plans by the dogmatic and chaotic Inspector Clouseau (Peter Seller's enduring creation).
I Oliver! (BBCl) lO.lSam—l2.35pm. You know the story: an orphan falls in with a gang of child thieves organised by the foxy Fagin. You know the songs: ‘Food. Glorious Food‘. ‘Consider Yourself'. ‘l'd Do Anything'.
I The Adventures Of Huckleberry Finn (Channel 4) lO.50am—l2.50pm. There are some veteran faces among the supponing cast (Buster Keaton as a lion-tamer deserves special mention). but the much- adapted Mark Twain tale has seen better days than this 1960 version.
I Donovan’s Beet (BBC2) l.55—3.40pm. Not the best John Ford-John Wayne collaboration. but there's plenty of old- fashioned roughhouse fun to be had as Wayne and Navy buddies Jack Warden and Lee Marvin have their island paradise disrupted when Warden's daughter arrives.
I Miracle On 34th Street (Channel 4) 2.40-4.25pm. Not last year‘s Richard Attenborough charmer. but the original I947 movie which won Edmund Gwenn an Oscar for his portrayal of a store Santa
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who attacks consumensm by claiming to be the genuine article. One of the best seasonal fantasies ever made.
I The Sword In The Stone (Scottish) 3—4.20pm. Disney's animated account of the boyhood of King Arthur and his early adventures with Merlin.
FILM OF THE IIAY
matter how many times you‘ve seen it, that ‘death’ scene still squeezes out an unwilling tear. Spielberg’s megahit has wonderful moments (the ﬂying bikes provide one of cinema's greatest moments of joy) and skilfully puts the audience in the shoes of its child stars as they shelter an odd little alien from the nastier aspects of human inquiry.
I A Mom For Christmas (Scottish) 4.20-6pm. More Disney. but the bottom end of their illustrious ladder. as Olivia Newton-John stars in a tale about a mannequin who comes to life in order to mother a young girl over the festive period.
I Move Over Darling (Channel 4) 8.45—10.45pm. When Doris Day comes
‘ back ﬁve years after she was supposedly . killed in a plane crash. she discovers that
hubby James Garner has remarried.
~ I The Hawk (BBCZ) 10.20—1 I.45pm.
David Hayman directs Helen Mirren in a patchy thriller about a housewife who
: begins to suspect that her husband is a
Yorkshire Ripper—style serial killer. The ﬁlm doesn’t make enough of her inner
1 battle of loyalties.
I Bear Window (BBCI) 12.50—2.40am. Holed up in his apartment with a broken leg. James Stewart passes the time by cataloguing the antics of his neighbours spied through their“ windows and reckons he's uncovered a murder in the process. Alfred Hitchcock‘s happy brew of voyeurism and tension works brilliantly. I Running Against Time (Scottish) I2.55—2.40am. Mediocre sci—ﬁ nonsense about a man who travels back in time to try to prevent the Kennedy Assassination and the Vietnam War.
I la Beauté Bu Biable (BBCB) l.lS-—2.50am. Rene Clair‘s twist on the
g familiar legend has stars Michel Simon
(Faust) and Gerard Philipe
(Mephistopheles) swap roles halfway in order to allow the not-so-good doctor to woo his beloved. Intelligent and witty. but somehow aloof.
I Cavalcade (Channel 4) l.4()—3.40am. A particularly stagey version of Noel Coward's epic account of one family's trials and tribulations from the Boer War to the death of Queen Victoria. More serious than the witticisrns the writer is usually remembered for.
I Fun And Fancy Free (Scottish) 2.40—4am. Not so much a feature as the animated tale of Bongo the circus bear linked by Jiminy Cricket to alive action/animated version of Jack And The Beanstalk. What kids are up at this time? Get to bed or Santa'll spot you.
I A llobo’s Christmas (Scottish) 4.10—5.55am. A railroad drifter visits his long abandoned son in this melting pile of seasonal slush.
“The List l5 Dec l995-ll Jan I996