Graham Nicholls and his TV Film Review Slot, Monday mornings Just after 9 am.
FILM HIGHLIGHTS ON TV STARTING 28th NOVEMBER 2016
FILMS ON TV W/C 28/11/16
Two prolific series
Hellboy (Sunday, 1.10am, Film 4)
Hellboy II-The Golden Army (Sunday, 8.45pm, C5)
Django (Sunday 12.35am, Movies4Men)
Don’t Wait Django, Shoot! (Sunday, 2.20am, M4M)
An afternoon of bliss with James Stewart
On Friday afternoon consecutively on Film 4 from 11.00am:
It’s a Wonderful Life
Vivre Sa Vie (Thursday, 1.45am, Film 4)
The Last Picture Show (Friday, 1.05am, Film 4)
Rebecca (Saturday, 1.30pm, BBC2)
A couple of musical contrasts and three oddities
School of Rock (Sunday, 3.20pm, C4)
Ill Manors (Sunday, 12.15am, BBC2)
The Sheriff of Fractured Jaw (Tuesday, 2.55pm, Film 4)
Quest for Love (Saturday, 4.00pm, Talking Pictures)
Britannia Hospital (Saturday, 10.30pm, Talking Pictures)
Oh, go on then, it’s the beginning of the festive season
Miracle on 34th Street (Saturday, 1.00pm, Film 4)
The Polar Express (Saturday, 3.50pm, ITV2)
It’s a week off for Flix in the Stix and Lincoln Film Society is closed until January. At The Venue there’s Queen of Katwe on Wednesday afternoon and Inferno in the evening. On Sunday there’s a sing-along showing of West Side Story.
Here is another chance to catch up with Grahams piece for Saturday Night At The Movies
(Transmitted 26th November 2016)
FILM MUSIC INPUT W/C 27/11/16
It’s just before the annual Christmas and new year TV film extravaganza so perhaps it’s not surprising that it’s a relatively low key week ahead. We’ll concentrate on some classic Hollywood and two French composers, one with a slightly curious CV.
Victor Young (1900-56) had what seems to have been a standard background for composers of the Hollywood golden age from 1930-60. Born into a Chicago Jewish family, young Victor was sent off for a classical European musical education in Poland. His return was delayed for a time by the first world war but when he did make it home he found work as a fiddler in Los Angeles and then spent several years as a popular music musician/arranger before getting his foot in the door in Hollywood in the mid-1930s. In all he received 22 Academy award nominations, including four in one year twice, but he didn’t win until, in 1956, he won posthumously for Around the World in 80 Days. This week there are two of his films on TV; Shane (1953) (Wednesday, 11.00am, Film 4) and For Whom The Bell Tolls (1942) (Thursday, 10.35am, More 4). Although not nominated, the music for Shane is particularly lush, including a tremendous piece early on as Shane (Alan Ladd) and the honest settler Starrett (Van Heflin) strip to the waist to chop down a tree stump.
Georges Auric (1900-83) was an exact contemporary of Victor Young, though his route to film music was rather different. Born and raised in France, Auric was a friend of Erik Satie and surrealists like Jean Cocteau. He wrote for various left-wing journals and espoused leftist causes but, unlike many of his friends, was not a communist. From the mid-1930s he began to write film music, notably for the films of Jean Cocteau and then, in 1945, he turned to Britain, where he wrote the score for the Ealing supernatural thriller Dead of Night (1945) (Monday, 11.10pm, Talking Pictures). Auric wrote the music for several of the best-known Ealing comedies ,as well as the classic French thriller, The Wages of Fear, but perhaps his most famous scores are those for Cocteau’s Beauty and the Beast (no Disney version this) and Orphee, his modern update of the Greek myth. Later, Auric more or less gave up his film career when he was appointed Director of the Paris Opera.
There seemed a time in the 1960s and 1970s when no film romance was complete without a score by Michel Legrand (1932- ), although his earliest film experiences were with the more radical ‘New Wave’ of directors who came to international prominence in the late 1950s. Foremost among these was Jean-Luc Godard, one of whose early films, often mentioned as one of the great French films of all time, Vivre Sa Vie (1962) (usually translated as My Life Is Mine) is on at 1.45am on Thursday on Film 4. Although Legrand wrote for several Godard films, his most famous early work was for another of the young French directors, Jacques Demy, for whom he wrote the entirely sung The Umbrellas of Cherbourg (1964). Can anyone who has seen the film forget the final scene as Catherine Deneuve stands in the snow, realising that she has lost forever the man she loves and the father of her child, singing ‘I Will Wait For You’? Legrand wrote some great songs for films, including Windmills of Your Mind for The Thomas Crown Affair (1968).
Last week I mentioned DimitriTiomkin for his work on High Noon. This week we have another of his films, the great Christmas tear-jerker It’s a Wonderful Life (1946) (Friday, 3.55pm, Film 4), not to be confused with the rather less impressive cinematic achievement that is the Cliff Richard vehicle Wonderful Life (1964), which by coincidence and for the pleasure of Cliff fans everywhere, is also on TV this week ((Wednesday, 11.45am, Talking Pictures).
Finally, Vertigo (1958) (Tuesday, 11.20pm, Film 4 and Friday afternoon) has been voted the greatest film of all time. It’s a perverse thriller with James Stewart as a cop who has suffered a breakdown after his acrophobia prevents him from saving a colleague from falling to his death and who becomes obsessed by a woman he thinks is dead. All that and one of the lushest orchestral scores I know from, yes, you guessed it, Bernard Herrmann. I can think of no greater pleasure than settling down beside the fire for eight hours straight off from midday on Friday and watching Rear Window (another great Hitchcock), Vertigo and It’s a Wonderful Life one after the other on Film 4. Bliss!