TELEVISION TWELVE DAYS OF CHRISTMAS FILMS
FILM OF THE DAY - SUNDAY 29 I Allie (BBC!) ll.45pm—l.35am. Michael Caine’s cheeky. winning performance as a Cockney master of seduction helps the film over a couple of hurdles: blatant misogyny and a dated portrait of swinging London.
TV FILM llSTlNDS: CHRISTMAS EVE CONT.
I Arthur 2: On The Books (Scottish) 2.45—4.45pm. Lacking the charisma of the original. this sentimental indulgence stars Dudley Moore as the drunken millionaire who is faced with the prospect of having to work for a living when his fortune disappears.
I White Hunter, Black Heart (Channel 4) 8.30— l0.35pm. Clint Eastwood stars in and directs a ﬁctionalised account of John Huston‘s experiences while making The African Queen. An affectionate picture of an old-style filmmaker at play.
I War OI The Roses (Scottish)
9.05-1 |.lOpm. After Rmnuncing The Stone. Douglas. Turner and De Vito teamed up again for this searingly bleak anti—divorce comedy about a couple who turn vicious when their marriage begins to collapse.
I Death Train (BBC 1 ) 9. 15—10.50pm. Pierce Brosnan is a United Nations agent trying to put the brakes on Christopher Lee’s deadly nuclear plan in an Alistair MacLean story that also stars Patrick Stewart.
I Hang 'Em High (Channel 4) l().35pm—l2.40am. Clint Eastwood brought his spaghetti western persona home to the States for this typically cynical story of a deputy who hunts down the men who lynched him and left him to die.
I The Woman In Bed (Scottish) ll.lOpm— l 2.45am. Gene Wilder fantasises about stunning model Kelly LeBrock. but ﬁnds that it leads to the collapse of his domestic life. Diverting romantic comedy.
I Cat People (BBC2)
Midnight—l . lOam. The original. superbly atmospheric version of the story about a young woman who fears she is turning into a panther. Not the usual Freudian image. but the sexual tensions are marked nonetheless.
I The lpcress File (BBCI) 1.40—3.25am. ‘My name is Harry Palmer‘ says Michael Caine in the first of Len Deighton‘s Cold War series. Admirably cynical and enjoyany gripping.
I Side Street (Channel 4) 140-3. 10am. Farley Granger turns to crime in order to support his wife. but gets out of his depth. Anthony Mann. one of the best directors of a western. proves competent in a different genre.
I Johnny Eager (Channel 4) 3.10—5.05am. Lana Turner falls for a vicious gangster in an overly glossy MGM production that should have made more of its masochistic undertones.
I Those Magnificent Men In Their Flying Machines (BBCl) 7—9. 10am. Big stars. big spectacle. as an oddball bunch of pilots make their way from London to Paris in an air race. Jolly holiday stuff. I Duo Vadis (BBCI) lOam—1245pm. A Roman soldier falls in love with a Christian girl and risks death as the Empire begins to fall apart under Nero (Peter Ustinov). Lavishly shot with the proverbial cast of thousands.
I Fantastic Voyage (BBC2) l.lO—2.45pm. Raquel Welch and some other scientists are shrunk in order to enter the bloodstream of a defecting scientist and clear a clot from his brain. Trippy visuals make for much fun.
I The Bobe (Channel 4) 2.30-5.05pm. Richard Burton plays a Roman centurion who is given the task ofcrucifying a certain holy radical. but his love for a slave girl complicates matters. These religious epics from the 50s have become turgid through time.
I Pete‘s Dragon (Scottish) 3.05—5.20pm. Well. it might not have the technical wizardry of Drttgtmheurt. but even that doesn‘t excuse the shabbiness of this Disney effort about a boy escaping from his foster parents with a large green pal. I Sleeping Beauty (Scottish) 5.55—7.20pm. A pretty princess. a noble prince. a wicked witch. cute forest creatures - yep. all the elements are in place for a classic fairytale. Disney-style. And as always. the magic of animation casts a winning spell.
I The Living Daylights (Scottish) 8—10.25pm. Highly creditable 007 outing. with Timothy Dalton’s slightly humourless presence serving to reinvigorate the series and bring Bond back to basics.
I Hide The High Country (Channel 4) 830—10. 15pm. Sam Peckinpah‘s nostalgic western stars Randolph Scott and Joel McCrea as two old-time lawmen who — like many of the director’s heroes — realise that the times have left them behind. but try for a final bid at glory when they’re hired to guard a gold shipment.
I Heaven a Earth (BBC2)
l0. lOpm—12.30am. The third in Oliver Stone’s trilogy of Vietnam movies tells the true story of Le Ly Hayslip. a farmer‘s daughter tortured by both armies and whose move to America as a soldier's bride only brings further abuse. Looks great. but the direction is over-emphatic. I The Ballad OI little Jo (Channel 4) 10.15pm—12.30am. The western is
redefined through modern. politically correct eyes as a young woman cuts her hair and passes herself off as a cowboy after her family disowns her for becoming an unmarried mother
I The Oklahoma Kid (Channel 4) l2.30—2am. Double-take time: it’s Cagney and Bogart sure enough. but this is the land of the wide open prairie. not the mean streets of gangstel'ville. Respectively. they're good and bad outlaws going head-to-head over past misdeeds.
I Funeral In Berlin (BBC l )
1.35—3. ISam. Harry Palmer (Michael Caine) goes to Berlin to work out who's spying on whom and why a Russian security chief wants to defect. A complicated sequel to The [pt-revs file.
I The Public Enemy (Channel 4 ) 2-3.30am. Cagney again. this time as a petty thief who graduates to bootlegging. murder and crime kingpin status. squashing a grapefruit into his moll's face on the way.
I Hindle Wakes (Scottish) 240—421(1). Surprisingly feisty for its time. this tale of a northern working lass who exerts her independence by having a ﬂing with her boss's son during a holiday ill Blackpool is worth setting the video for.
I Command Decision (BBC2)
8.50— l().4()am. Clark Gable comes into conflict with his superiors when he tries to rush through a series of bombing attacks on German aircraft factories despite the heavy losses that will be incurred.
I The Barefoot Executive (B BCl ) l0.3()am—l2.()5pm. An unusually sharp satire on the TV industry from the Disney studio. as a network uses its most avid viewer — a pet chimp — to test its output. I Black Beauty (Scottish) l0.3()am-l2.2()pm. Not the more recent version of the horsey classic. but an early 70s story with a nauseating Mark Lester being reunited with his much sought-after stallion.
I TWIST (Channel 4) l2.5()--2.2()pm. Chubby Checker and the dance of a generation (it always gave me a stitch in the side) are chronicled in this Canadian documentary from a couple of years back. I The First Creat Train Robbery (Scottish) 1.25-3.20pm. Sean Connery
run or HE DAY -
MONDAY 30 I El Mariachi (BBC2) l0.35-l 1.55pm. Robert Rodriguez’s ultra-low budget precursor to Desperado is an engaging thriller which peppers its tale of a lone musician’s transformation to action hero with touches of comedy.
Subtitles. . ‘
and Donald Sutherland team up as Victorian criminals in an appealing comedy adventure written and directed by Michael (Jurassic Park) Crichton.
I Silk Stockings (Channel 4) 2.20—4.30pm. Fred Astaire and Cyd Charisse get out their dancing shoes as an American songwriter sways a Russian conunissar to the joys of western capitalism via the music of Cole Porter. I The Boy Who Could Fly (BBCI) 2.45—4.30pm. The new girl in town befriends an autistic boy whose belief in his ability to ﬂy has attracted the attention of the authorities. Sadly any hope of charm is abandoned for sentiment and a disappointing script.
I Big Foot (Scottish) 3.30—5. 10pm. A Disney family adventure made in the same year as the better known Big Foot .‘Illtl T/lt’ Hentlt'rsrms.
I Brief Encounter (BBC2 ) 4.50—6. 15pm. Stiff upper lips and emotionally charged brushes of the hands are all that are allowed as an extra-marital affair doesn’t develop beyond unspoken longings at a railway station. A tear-jerker for some: excruciatingly moral for others.
I The Witches (BBC2) 6.15—7.45pm. Roald Dahl‘s tale becomes a superior children's movie in the hands of Nic Roeg. Nine-year-old Luke is transformed into a mouse by a convention of witches at a small English hotel.
I Death Becomes Her (BBC l)
9.30—1 |.()5pm. An actress in decline and a frumpy author discover the secret of eternal life and carry their mutual jealousy to outrageous extremes. Impressive special effects draw attention away from the bitterness at the film's core.
I Billion Dollar Brain (BBC l) l2.55—2.4()am. The third and final Harry Palmer movie. with Michael Caine thwarting an American fascist general’s invasion of Russia. Directed by Ken Russell and scripted by John McGrath. I The 8 Men (Channel 4) 1235—2. 10am. James Cagney is on the side of truth and justice for a change as a punk tumed lawyer turned federal agent sets out to avenge the murder of his friend.
I The Curse Di The Cat People (BBC2) 12.55—2.()5am. A change of tone from the tense original. but memorable nonetheless: a lonely girl imagines that she's visited by the ghost of her father's first wife. An excellent psychological horror movie.
I Invisible Stripes (Channel 4)
2. l0—3.35am. Another descent into the gangster world. this time with good- hearted George Raft being lured back into a life ofcrime by Humphrey Bogart when society doesn't forgive his past indiscretions.
I Passionate Summer (Scottish) 2.10—3.55am. Filmed on location in Jamaica. this overheated effort centres on a divorced headmaster who ﬁnds himself the object of three different women‘s attentions.
I Angels With Dirty Faces (BBC2) 8.45—l().20am. James Cagney is a hero to a gang of street kids. but he‘s persuaded by his priest pal to go to the electric chair screaming in order to break his spell as a role model. It was never the same after that Sham 69 song anyway.
I Return To Snowy River (Scottish) 10.30am-12.20pm. Disney‘s all- consuming grip on the holiday season continues with a live action outdoor adventure.
I Snowball Express (BBC l) l0.30am—l2.05pm. Slapstick live action comedy from the Disney camp. with Dean Jones playing an accountant whose life is unexpectedly shaken up when he inherits a rundown ski lodge.
I Beyond The Poseidon Adventure (Scottish) 1.25—3.30pm. Okay. there's a