TWELVE DAYS OF CHRISTMAS FILMS TELEVISION
book. in a gentle. unatnbitious and easy- going comedy.
I Never Say Never Again (BBC I ) I.5()--Ipm. An unofficial entry in the Jatnes Bond series. with Sean Connery picking up the 007 identity again and proving that he could still cut it as the suave action hero.
I Vanya 0n 42nd Street (Channel 4 )
3. l()—5.25pm. Louis Malle's intimate camera captures an ‘undress rchearsal‘ of the David Mamet/Andre Gregory version of Uncle lltnyu. with a superb cast of American actors delivering the lines without props or costume.
I The Italian Job (BBCZ) 4.25 --(»pm. The focus is a gold heist organised by a prison- bound Noel Coward. btit this lively tnovie is most memorable for its car stunts. as a posse of Minis get caught in a traffic jam.
I Free Willy (BBCI ) ()—-7.5()pm. In an aquatic and manipulative plagiarisation of the I:"I' scenario. a mildly rebellious boy saves a killer whale frotn the bad guys and tries to reunite his new friend with his family out in the bay.
I 1492 - The Conquest Of Paradise (Channel 4) ()—-l l.5()pm. Ridley Scott's take on the ‘(liscovery' of America feels almost as long as ('olumbus‘s original voyage. Gerard Depardieu plays the explorer as a tragic idealist. whose dreams are at odds with the Spaniards who futid his journey.
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I The Seventh Victim (B BCZ) ISO—2.35am. An excellent black-arid- white chiller from producer Val l.ewton. in which a group of Satanists in Greenwich Village put orphan Kim Hunter in danger.
I In The line Of Duty: Mob Justice (Scottish) |.l5-—2.50am. When an undercover DEA agent is killed. a US attorney launches a manhunt to nail the suspect — a drug dealer with Malia Connections. Routine cop stuff supposedly based on a true case.
I Fantastic Planet (Channel 4) l.3()—2.5()am. Sci-ft animation from the mid-70s. set in a future where a blue super-race has evolved by keeping the human population in check with regular culls.
I All For Mary (Scottish) 250-4. l5am. A British character comedy. based on a successful West lind play. in which a forceful nanny looks after a pretty Swiss girl with chickenpox and the two Iinglishmen who are besotted with her. I The Raggedy ﬂawney (Channel 4) 2.50-4.45am. For his first film as actor/director. Bob Hoskitis immersed himself in the liast Iiut'opean gypsy community for a tale set during \\'()t'ltl War I about a young soldier who escapes the killing by disguising himself as a
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by Stanley Donan.
FILM DF THE DAY - FRIDAY 27 I Singin’ In The Rain (BBC2) 5.20—7pm. A genuine screen classic ﬁlled with
golden moments — Gene Kelly‘s splashing around in the title number. Donald O’Connor’s acrobatic ‘Make ‘Em Laugh' — delivered with big screen sparkle
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I Sommershy (BBC I)
It). I 5pm— I 2.05am. Take the plot of The Return (Haifa/tin Gtterrt'. transfer it to the time of the American Civil War. add stars Richard Gere and Jodie Foster. and what you get is a gripping thriller about a returning soldier who's not quite the titan his wife remembers him to be.
I Crumb (BBCZ) 10.55pm-lam. The disturbing output ofcounter-culture cartoonist Robert Crumb is examined by life-long friend Terry Zwigoff iii a fascinating and personal documentary that links madness and creativity. but skitns over the artist‘s misogyny.
I Divine Madness (Channel 4) ll.50pm—I.30am. A showcase for the talents of Bette Midler in those days at the beginning of the 80s when she was best known for her blue jokes and raunchy stage songs. A unique concert movie.
I The Graduate (BBCI) l2.05-l.45am. Dustin Hoffman became an overnight star as the young graduate who tries to decide between the ravishing Mrs Robinson (Anne Bancroft) and her all-American daughter (Katherine Ross). A Simon and Garfunkel soundtrack places the film
I A Man For All Seasons (BBCZ) 7.20—9.45am. In a more recent version of the Robert Bolt play. Charlton Heston casts himself as Sir Thomas More. under pressure from Henry VIII to ease his marriage difficulties. A bit stagey. btit worth it to see John Gielgud arid Vanessa Redgrave in action.
I little Dorrit - Part 2 (BBCZ) 9.45am—12.40pnt. The adaptation of Dickens‘s novel continues. with the viewpoint of the story shifting to that of Little Dorrit herself. as her romance with Arthur Clennam blossoms.
I Tarzan’s Greatest Adventure (Scottish) IO.30am—l2.05pm. It's Gordon Scott's turn to slip into the loincloth as he tracks down a group who are willing to stop at nothing in order to get their hands on a diamond mine. Adventure all the way (and Sean Connery in the cast) in one of the few in the series to be filmed in Africa.
I Supergirl (BBC I) l 0.40am— 12.40pm. ls it a bird? Is it a plane? Or is it a second-
rate spin-off frotn the Christopher Reeve series with Helen Slater battling it out with campy villainess liaye l)unaway against unConvincing rear projection effects‘.’
I Sinhad And The Eye or The Tiger (Scottish) 1.25—3.30pm. ()ur hero and a beautiful princess face several stop- motion monsters as they try to undo the spell that has turned her brother into a baboon. Diverting enough for the kids.
I An Altair To Remember ( BBCZI 2.50-4.40an Yes. it's the ‘chicks' movie' that the female characters sniftle over in Sleepless In Seattle. Cary Grant and Deborah Kerr test their love in New York after a meeting on board a cruise.
I Grease (BBCl ) 2.55 4.40pm. Jolm Travolta and Olivia Newton-John get it together in the hugely successful musical that drips with 50s nostalgia and hair-oil. In some forgotten cupboard. you know you've got the double album.
I The Adventures Of Tom Sawyer (Channel «ll -l--5.3()pm. A good. cvocatiye version of Mark Twain‘s book. tnade way back in I‘Bts'. which captures the Mississippi setting in some of William (’ameron Men/.ies‘s superb sets.
I Bill And Ted’s Excellent Adventure (Channel 4) 5.3()--7ptn. Keanu Reeves and Alex Winter's bozos avoid thinking their history exatns by taking a trip through time in this inventive and most bodacious movie.
I The Firm (BBCI l 9.30pm- midnight. Tom Cruise is the brash young lawyer trying to wriggle otit of the snare set by his crooked. h‘lafia-loving bosses in this somewhat implausible version ofJohn Grisham’s best-selling novel.
I The Man With Two Brains (Channel .1) l()~l |.~l()pm. Steve Martin plays a brilliant brain surgeon driven to despair when he weds Kathleen Turner. a man- hungry murderess with a penchant for driving husbands to early graves. Delirioust delightful.
I V.l. Warshawski (Scottish)
ll.55pm— l .3()am. Lame screen outing for Sarah Paretsky's female detective. although Kathleen Turner manages a reasonable itnpersonation of streetwise toughness. It was supposed to be the first in a series. btit the Ito-hum response soon scuppered that.
I Iligh Heels (BBCZ) l|.l()pm-— lam. More melodramatic frolics from Spain's Pedro Almodovat‘. this time in the shape of a murderous triangle between a mother. her daughter and the latter's husband. Victoria Abril is the star of the show. Subndes
I Night Of The Demon (Channel 4) ll.~I()pm-- l .25am. An intelligent. suspenseful British horror film frotn I957. in which an occultist takes revenge on his enemies by summoning a medieval demon.
I Carry On Matron (BBCI) l-<3.3llalll. The usual team return to the fertile ground of medical life for a procession of lame
jokes arid double entendres. when a trio of
crooks hatch a plan to rob a maternity hospital.
I Might Di The Eagle (Channel 4) 1.25—3am. A psychology lecturer discovers that his wife and some colleagues are dabbling in witchcraft in this stylish British horror movie that builds to a satisfying climax.
I Boy Meets Girl (Scottish) 2.3(Hain. A fast-paced comedy with lightning dialogue — not stll‘pt'isilig.'gi\ en that the lead characters (played by James Cagney and Pat O'Brien) are old-style Hollywood wnwm.
I The Devil Doll (Channel 4) 3—4.25am. Tod (Dracula) Browning returned to the genre. casting Lionel Barrymore as a fugitive who dresses in drag and gets back at his enemies with shrunken head killer dolls. Pretty scary in a I930s way.
FILM OF THE DAY - SATURDAY 28
I The Phantom (It The Opera (Channel 4) 12.50—2.35pm. The Lon Chaney version of the captivating story of behind-the-scenes antics at the Pan's Opera has a new score. courtesy of Carl Davis. and is presented in a superb new print with jaw-dropping colour sequences. A cinematic treat that was one of the highlights of this year’s Edinburgh Film Festival.
I Song 0! Norway (BBCZ)
7.45-- 10.05am. Dreadfully dull biopic of composer lidvard Grieg. which understandably has nice music but absolutely no dramatic impact whatsoever.
I Fantastic Island (Scottish)
‘).35~ It).5()am. Feature-length cartoon fun with Daffy Duck and friends.
I To Be Or Not To Be (BBC2)
I().()5--I l.~II)am. ()ne of wartime America's greatest films. Lubitscb's satirical comedy centring on a theatre- cuni-resistance group criticises the Nazis not so much for their politics. but for their appalling bad manners.
I Gedknohs And Broomsticks (Scottish) l().5()am—Ipm. Angela Lansbury takes three kids into a cartoon world ﬁlled with singalong songs and Disneyfied animals. The football match remains an all-time favourite.
I The Elm Ghanted Forest (Scottish) l.lS—2.45pm. Animated fantasy tale about an artist who is unwittingly given magical powers.
I Ben IIur (BBC2) l.30—4.55pm. Charlton Heston stars in this grand. lavish and tnassively long epic set in New Testament times. with rippling muscles aplenty and a damn good chariot race to boot.
I Journey To The Centre (It The Earth (Channel 4) 2.35-5pm. James Mason heads the cast in a Jules Verne adventure about a group of explorers ﬁnding monsters and unsuspected landscapes beneath a volcano. Still stands the test of time
The List l3 Dec I996-9 Jan 1997 75