TELEVISION TWELVE DAYS OF CHRISTMAS FILMS
TV FILM lISTINGS: CHRISTMAS EVE CONT.
I Meet Me In St Louis (BBC2 ) 6—7.50pm. The comfortable lifestyle of Judy Garland's family is threatened by her father's promotion and a move to New York. Nostalgic. moving and. at times. sickenineg sweet musical that’s Vincent Minnelli's best.
I Ilrop Dead Fred (Channel 4) 6.45-8.30pm. Rik Mayall is let loose in feature film format as the imaginary childhood friend of Phoebe Cates who‘s suffering the break-up of her marriage. Lively. ifa little irritating.
I Top Gun (Scottish) 9.45—l l.45pm. Tom Cruise plays the grinning American pilot whose fly-boy bid to be the best brings him into conllict with his superiors. but also into the arms of Kelly McGillis. Altogether now. on one knee. ‘Yoooo've lost that loving feeeeeliiirmgg. . . '
I Blazing Saddles (BBCZ) l()—l t.3()pm. More banal schoolboy humour from Mel Brooks when a railway company in the Wild West is thwarted in its plans by a motley crew of frontier folk. Some amusing moments. but not comic genius. I Manhattan Murder Mystery (BBCZ)
ll 3()pm—l.15am. When her elderly neighbour dies mysteriously. Diane Keaton and friends embark on some amateur sleuthing. A neat plot and snappy one-liners in the best Woody Allen style. I The Lady In White (Channel 4) ll.35pm~-l.4()am. A mildly chilling supernatural tale that is effectively filtered through the eyes of young Lukas Haas (from ll’t’nit'ss) as he discovers the truths about local child murders from the ghost of a victim.
I The Birds (BBC l) l2.5()--2.45am. That image of our feathered fn'ends amassing in the school playground never fails to send a chill down the spine. Hitchcock’s decision not to explain the cause for the birds' attacks and the open ending make it all the more disturbing.
I The Producers (BBC2) 1.15—2.50am. This early Mel Brooks film is one of his
best. with Zero Mostel and Gene Wilder as Broadway impresarios with a crazy scheme to ﬁnance a flop called Springtime For Hitler and make off with the money.
I The Innocents (Channel 4) l.4()—3.3()am. One of British cinema‘s best ever British ghost stories. based on The Turn Of The Screw. with Deborah Kerr as the Victorian governess who believes the children in her care are being victimised by evil spirits. Beautifully shot and atmospherically directed.
I Rouge (Channel 4) 3.30—5. lOam. The ghost of a courtesan roams modern Hong Kong in search of her lover. who was due to meet her in the next world as part of a suicide pact. A stylish supernatural tale with an unusually strong emotional thread running through it. Subtitled.
I The Barkleys ("Broadway (BBC2 ) 6.45—8.30am. Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers team up fora pretty tired story of a dancing couple w hose domestic difficulties are brought to a head when an acting career beckons for the lady.
I The Band Wagon (BBC2 )
8.30- l().3()am. An exuberant MGM musical. with dancer Fred Astaire attempting a Broadway comeback. Great songs. and more bite than most in its behind-the-scenes satire.
I Ballet (BBC?) 1 l.2()am—2. l()pm. Fred Wisernan. one of the greatest living documentary filmmakers. turns his attention to American Ballet Theatre and follows the company through rehearsals to the stage. No one gets behind the facade of large institutions with more skill.
I Alice In Wonderland (Scottish)
l l.20am—lZ.4()pm. There's a glimmer of Lewis Carroll‘s absurdity left in the Disney version of the book. as Alice drops down a rabbit hole and encounters all sorts of weirdness.
FILM OF THE DAY - CHRISTMAS DAY I The Ward OI Oz (BBCI) l l.20am-l pm. A tornado takes Dorothy over the rainbow to a magical land where she befriends a scarecrow, tin man and lion and sets out on an adventure hounded by the Wicked Witch of the West. One of the best children ’3 films ever, chock-full of great songs and memorable
AY - BOXING DAY I The Secret Garden (Scottish) 4.50—6.45pm. Lonely orphan Mary makes friends with a local lad and her sickly cousin in this most recent. wonderfully Gothic version of the favourite book. Touching and uncontn‘vcd.
FILM OF THE O
I The Man Upstairs (Scottish)
l. l()—2.45pm. Richard Attenborough enjoys a juicy role as the quiet man in the neighbourhood who surprises those around him when he suffers a nervous breakdown.
I Casablanca (BBCZ) 3. l()-4.5()pm. You must remember this . . . Bogart being impossibly noble. Bergman torn between two lovers. devious Nazis. a fog-bound airport. a piano-player tinkling that
I Dennis (Scottish) 5.25—7pm. Blond. cute and American rather than the British arch-menace and far closer to Home Alone than The Bt'tmu. Nevertheless. kids might cackle as the little terror causes no end of grief for his elderly neighbours when his own parents go off on business. I The Battle OI The Sexes (Channel 4) 6.50—8.30pm. Peter Sellers plays an accountant at an Edinburgh tweed factory whose dislike for a brassy American feminist causes him to plot murder. A satire on sexism at work'.’ ()r just a black Ealing comedy whose attitude to women has dated slightly?
I Jurassic Park (BBCl ) 6.30—8.30pm. Spielberg's tale of dinosaurs on the loose in an island theme park has terrifyineg believable computer effects. but the plot just isn't up to it. suggesting that this is really a chase movie with superior technology.
I Ilial M For Murder (Channel 4)
9—1 lpm. Effective but slightly theatrical
Hitchcock thriller. originally made in 3-D.
about a caddish Englishman who believes he has devised the perfect plan to murder his wife. Good playing all round.
I The Remains (It The Bay (Scottish) l()pm—12.30am. A brilliant performance by Anthony Hopkins is at the centre of this superior Merchant Ivory film about a butler‘s repressed feelings for housekeeper Emma Thompson.
I (ilengarry Glen Ross (BBCZ )
l lpm~12.40am. A hard-hitting. word- heavy account of the bonding and backstabbing in a US Real Estate Office. with a top cast — Pacino. Lemmon. Arkin — making the most of David Mamet‘s profanity-ridden dialogue. Great acting. I Boswell (Channel 4) llpm— l2.40am. Kyle Macl.achlan and Martin Sheen star in a dramatisation of X-Files conspiracists' favourite bone of contention. the crash-landing of an unidentified aircraft in New Mexico in I947 and the subsequent US Government cover-up.
I Revenge (It The Pink Panther (BBC I) Midnight—l.35am. By the time they‘d got round to the sixth in the series. both Peter Sellers and director Blake Edwards were relying on thin re-runs of past glories. sending Inspector Clouseau off on the trail ofa drug smuggler without the usual anarchic wit.
I Play It Again Sam (BBC2)
ll.4()—2.()Sam. Plagued by uncertainties about his love life. Woody Allen relies on the advice of his personal mentor. the screen persona of Humphrey Bogart. in this engaging homage to classic silver
I Invasion (Channel 4) l2.4()-2.()5am. A sense of unease builds and builds in this little known and underrated British sci-ti movie about a couple of aliens searching for a hospitalised intergalatic killer in an isolated English town.
I ladyhawke (Scottish) 12.3()—2.5()am. Splendid swords and sorcery stuff as Rutger Hauer braves all sorts of medieval obstacles in his attempt to be reunited with lover Michelle Pfeiffer. Wouldn‘t we all.
I Please Sir! (BBC 1) l.4()—3.2()am. John Aldenon takes his class of rather old- looking teenagers to a summer holiday camp in this dated film spin-off from the TV school sitCom.
I I’ll Cry Tomorrow (Channel 4) 2.40—4.45am. An Oscar-nominated Susan Hayward excels as Lillian Roth. the 30s Broadway star who eventually became a Skid Row alcoholic. in this 50s biopic.
I Breakfast For Two (BBC2) 6.55—8am. This particular round of tea and toast is marked for Barbara Stanwyck and Herbert Marshall in a screwball comedy about an heiress taking over a playboy's business.
I Cattle Queen Ill Montana (BBCZ) 8.5()—l(). 15am. Stanwyck again. protecting her herds from a bad guy rustler while sharing a little love interest with Ronald Reagan. Enjoy your Boxing Day lie-in.
I An American Tail: Fievel Coes West (BBCI) l(). l()- l l .2()am. After the sentimental but heartfelt original about pogram refugees coming to America. this animation sequel aims more squarely at the kids market as our mouse hero helps a sheriffclean up a Wild West town.
I Cannonball Run II (Scottish)
925—! l.20am. Self-indulgent stuff from an array of Hollywood stars — Burt Reynolds. Telly Savalas and ‘Rat Packers' Dean Martin. Frank Sinatra and Sammy Davis Jnr — as they speed across America squeezing in car stunts and terrible jokes all the way.
I little Dorrit - Part 1 (BBCZ) l0.lSam—l .05pm. A beautiful screen translation of Dickens‘s complex novel about the grim social duplicity of Victorian London. which manages to retain the book‘s scope while focusing more keenly on the relationship between Arthur Clennam and Little Dorrit.
I Funny Farm (Scottish) l2.50-2.45pm. Novelist Chevy Chase leaves the big city in order to get peace to write his new
74 The List 13 Dec l996-9 Jan I997