TELEVISION TWELVE DAYS OF CHRISTMAS FILMS
I Back To The Future Part II (BBCl) 3.20-5.05pm. Michael J. Fox flips forward in time to pose as his own son and stop a robbery. An engaging premise of the original continues to be both clever and funny. making this another favourite.
I Do A Clear Day You Can See Forever (BBC2) 3.55-6pm. in an attempt to cure her smoking habit. Barbra Streisand goes to psychiatrist Yves Montand. only to discover under hypnosis that she lived a previous life in Regency London. Vincente Minnelli's ﬁnal Hollywood movie is a leaden swansong. I Jason And The Argonauts (Channel 4) 4.05—6pm. Ray Harryhausen’s special effects were rarely put to as good use as in this spectacular adaptation of the Greek legend. Jason and his mates end up in rumbles with sea monsters and a bronze Titan as they search for the Golden Fleece. I llot Shots! (BBCI) 9—10.25pm. There are far more hits than misses in this machine-gun gag-fest that happily spoofs Top Gun and those aviator/boy bonding movies in general. Crammed with movie
I I.een The Pig Farmer (Channel 4) 11pm-12.50am. Nice Jewish boy Leon discovers that. due to a sperm donar mix- up. he’s really the son of a down-to-earth Yorkshire pig farmer. Mildly amusing British comedy from a young team that’s more an impressive achievement than enjoyable movie.
I Carry On Dick (BBCl) 11.45pm—1.15am. The snigger-snigger charm of the series’ British seaside postcard humour had slipped to lewd single entendre level (the title is proof alone) in this homage to highwayman Dick Turpin.
I Th Chill Syndrome (Scottish) 12.25pm-l.40am. It’s not often that Hollywood brings in its big names for a film that’s politically challenging. but this tense thriller about a cover-up at a nuclear power station deﬁnitely has impact. Jack Lemmon is on particularly ﬁne form.
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i.i:~;‘.::' 4 I The hated Jungle (Channel 4)
12.50—2.35am. The power of nature threatens man as an army of ants munch their way through Charlton Heston’s South American plantation. He’s also got problems with the tempestuous beauty he’s married by proxy. Not half as silly as it sounds.
I The Outsider (Scottish) 2.35—4.25am. Jean-Paul Belmondo stars in a tale of an amoral cop who's willing to step outside the law to dispose of the leader of a drugs
I file With The lyons (Scottish) 4.25-5.50am. Hammer turned this popular radio series into a feature ﬁlm with mixed results. The plot ﬁnds an American fantin in Britain having problems with their landlord.
I The Great Dictator (BBC2) 7.05—9.05am. Chaplin's ﬁrst sound ﬁlm still relies on silent screen tricks. but his subject is much more mature: a Jewish barber is mistaken for a Hitler-like dictator and takes his place. A unique mix of satire. lampoon and lecturing.
I What Price Hollywood? (BBC2) 9.05-10.30pm. More satire. this time on the ﬁlm industry itself as the rise of a waitress-tumed-actress is mirrored by the decline of her director-mentor. George Cukor handles the slide from bubbly comedy to darkness like a master.
I The Three Musketeers (BBCI) 10.30am-12. 15pm. Richard Lester‘s version has an all-star cast (Michael York. Oliver Reed. Charlton Heston. Raquel Welch) romping through the Dumas story as the King of France’s loyal troupe regain the Queen's jewels.
I The Bishop’s Wile (Channel 4) 1.45-3.45pm. Cary Grant is a charming angel who pops down to Earth to help a churchman who’s become too wrapped up in his plans for a new cathedral. Light. old-fashioned and cheerful.
I Superman 3 (BBCI) 3.05—5.05pm. They thought that only kryptonite could fell the superhero — all it took was another sequel. This time Richard Pryor becomes a likeable baddy in a wired performance as a computer wizard.
I Fiddler On The Boot (BBC2) 3.10—6pm. A Jewish milkman in early 20th century Ukraine tries to many off his daughters. while the community suffers harassment from the Tsar and local Cossacks. Some good songs. but director Norman Jewison ladles on bigger helpings of schmaltz. than mom does with her chicken noodle soup. I Big (Scottish) 3.25—5.10pm. Tom Hanks is perfectly cast as the adult-sized kid who gets his wish to be taller granted by a strange fairground machine. Now an exec at a toy company. he brings much needed innocence to the world of commerce. A delightfully fresh and funny look at modern adult life.
I The Agony And The Ecstasy (Channel 4) 3.45—6pm. They come to paint your ceiling. and all they do is knock off with a cup of tea and the paper. Mind you. Michelangelo (Charlton Heston) has his work cut out as he tackles the Sistine Chapel. particularly when he clashes with the Pope. Better than watching paint dry.
94-10.50pnt.- Kenneth Branagh’s,
Tuscany sun Ontoa’du'sty text-The cast bring the lines to life. Branagh knows better than . anyone else in ﬁlm how to handle the pace and rhythm of the language to . getthe most laughs and accessibility;
I Man Of The West (BBC2) llpm—12.35am. Not automatically on the critics' lips as one of the greatest westerns of all time. but this underrated gem from Anthony Mann has all the perfect ingredients- Gary Cooper as an ex- outlaw pressurised into returning to the bad life. superb landscapes. and strong themes ﬂowing beneath the surface.
I Eyewitness (Channel 4) 11.05pm-1am. Decent thriller (also known as The Janitor) from British director Peter Yates. Caretaker William Hurt hints he knows more than he does about a murder in the building where he works when he’s interviewed by a TV reporter (Sigoumey Weaver) with whom he‘s completely infatuated. I True Identity (Scottish) ll.25pm-l.05am. Lenny Henry’s ﬁlm career failed to take off after this dubious comedy bombed at the box ofﬁce. He stars as a struggling actor who disguises himselfby ‘whiting up' to escape the clutches of a mob leader. I Carry On Behind (BBCI) 12.15-1.50am. A Russian archaeologist becomes the foil for a stuffy English professor (Kenneth Williams). Relies too much on dropped trousers rather than a witty script. I The Big Knife (BBC2) 1.15-2.55am. Robert Aldrich’s sharp expose of Hollywoodhoasts tremendous performances from J ack Palance as a star on the way down and Rod Steiger as a dominating studio boss. Packs a literate unch. I Sherlock Holmes And The Spider Woman (Channel 4) 1.30—2.40am. Basil Rathbone and Nigel Bruce return as Holmes and Watson in a mystery that involves deadly spider venom. painful death and a femme fatale. I Too Young The Hero (Scottish) 3.05—4.50am. A 12-year-old boy leaves his family to ﬁght in World War 11 with the US Navy. and goes on to win the Bronze Star, Hmm:
I limelight (BBC2) 6.45—8.55am. Charlie Chaplin wrote, produced. directed. starred in and composed the music for his last American movie, and although he indulges himself in sentimental nostalgia. this story of a young ballerina who rejuvenates an older comedian is touching.
I The Errand Boy (BBC2) 8.55—l0.30am. Next up in auteur territory comes another vanity project written and directed by and starring Jerry Lewis. A hamﬁsted farce set in a ﬁlm studio. it's got no redeeming features.
I The Four Musketeers (BBCI) 10.30am—12. 10pm. The stars of Richard Lester's The Three Musketeers. seen yesterday. return for further romps and battles against Charlton Heston's Cardinal Richelieu. The perfect companion piece to the original.
I The Man In The Iron Mask (Scottish) 10.30am—12.20pm. Meanwhile, there's more Dumas adventure on this channel in the 1977 version of the much ﬁlmed tale. with Richard Chamberlain as the French king's twin brother (and rightful heir to the throne) who’s kept prisoner on an island.
I The Return Di The Musketeers (Scottish) 1.30—3.20pm Scottish complete Lester's trilogy (shown yesterday and earlier today on BBCl), but get a bum deal. The slapstick is too forced.
I The Princess And The Pirate (Channel 4) 1.50-3.40pm. Dearie me. we are swashing our buckles today. Bob Hope spoofs the genre as a ham actor captured by 18th century pirates along with princess Virginia Mayo. Entertaining only if you've nothing better to do. I Supergiri (BBCI) 3.05—5.05pm. Helen Slater is probably the dullest superhero in eternity. but she‘s only as bland as her surroundings in this pointless spin-off. I Straight Talk (Scottish) 3.30—5.10pm. Dolly Parton is pretty good as a country girl posing as a professional radio agony aunt and, surprisingly. James Woods provides the perfect romantic foil I The Three Musketeers (Channel 4) 3.40-6pm. Look. am I missing something here? is this national sword-duelling day or what? Gene Kelly puts his poise and acrobatic skills to good use as D'Artagnan
I The Sound (it Music (BBC2) 5.15-8pm. ‘The Hills Are Alive' again. ‘Climb Every Mountain' again. ‘Doe a bloody deer' again.
I Gremlins 2: The lien Batch (Scottish) 9—1 lpm. More little monsters. more fun. When the nastier mogwai take over a cable station. it gives director Joe Dante the excuse to overdose on a hilarious series of skits and movie references. Better than the original.
I Ghost (BBCI) 9.30—1 1.30pm. Hugely popular romance with a slight thriller edge. as Patrick Swayze comes back from the dead to solve his own murder and protect his sweetheart Demi Moore from the baddies. Hollywood doesn’t come slicker and more perfectly polished than this.
FILM 0F TIIE DAY
I The Player (BBC2) 10.20pm—12.20am. A massive array of stars play ﬁctional roles and themselves as Robert Altman deftly weaves together reality and fantasy in this A-plus HollyWood satire. At the heart of it is Tim Robbins. a man with the face of an innocent but a heart stolen from Machiavelli.
I little Big Man (BBCI) 12.15—2.30pm. One of cinema’s most unusual shaggy dog stories - and a great revisionist western in itself - this looks at a huge chunk of American history through the eyes of 121- year-old Dustin Hoffman. who has either led an amazing life or is a brilliant liar.
I Men Don’t Leave (Scottish) 12.20pm—1.20am. When her husband is
killed in an accident. Jessica Lange is left with a pile of debts and two sons to bring up. This is one actress who has the emotional range to take on a part like this and not let it get bogged down in easy pitiability.
I Hearts Di Darkness (BBC2) 12.20-2am. This behind-the-scenes documentary on the making of Apocalypse Now tells a story that's almost more dramatic than the ﬁlm itself. Heart attacks. breakdowns. political problems. typhoons -— Francis Coppola is made to confront his own inner demons.
I The Return Of Dracula (Channel 4) 12.40—2.05am. Chances are. you won't have seen this one — an intriguing piece of cult schlock from the late 50s. A vampire leaves Transylvania and tries to establish himself in the New World.
I A Month or Sundays (Scottish) 2.20—4.10am. Hollywood old boys Hume Cronyn and Vincent Gardenia star in this gentle British TV comedy about two friends in a nursing home. Written by the co-creator of The Good Life. it’s a sweet late-night ﬁller.
I Independence (Scottish) 4.10-5.55am. A vet turns sheriff and has his chance to revenge himself against the marauders who killed his family. Confused mix of the western with late 80s TV genres like rhinysomerhing.
I Windhag The Sailor (BBC2) 7.45-9.05am. Will Hay stars as an old seaman who's swept away to a South Seas island. This early in the day, they’ll show anything that washes up on shore.
109The List 15 Dec 1995-11 Jan 1996