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PostPosted: Sun Jan 20, 2013 6:54 am 
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Next Saturday morning, BBC2 are showing a 1954 British B-movie, The Black Rider, directed by Wolf Rilla and only just over an hour long. It's followed by The Mouse That Roared, which is the first of the films shown in these weekend morning slots to be in colour.

There isn't anything next Sunday morning due to coverage of the Australian Open tennis men's singles final.


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 27, 2013 3:10 am 
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Just one eash per day next weekend. On the 2nd is Devil's Canyon (1953) - in colour but I bet they won't be showing it in 3D. On the 3rd is Lewis Milestone's A Walk in the Sun (1945).


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 05, 2013 1:28 pm 
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A rare outing for Edgar G. Ulmer's The Wife of Monte Cristo next week. Film4 are showing it on Tuesday 12th at 12.50pm and again on Friday 15th at 11.00am.


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 10, 2013 3:54 am 
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BAT 21, Bruce Willis in COLOR OF NIGHT, and Russell Crowe in CINDERELLA MAN on the BBC this week. Pissing licence fee money right down the fucking grid.


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 10, 2013 7:37 am 
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Especially since Cinderella Man seems to have been BBC4's tie-in movie to Danny Leigh's surpirisingly good "Boxing In The Movies" documentary - a programme that covers everything from the early Edison boxing movie, The Set-Up, Kubrick's Day of the Fight and Killer's Kiss and On The Waterfront, through to the Rockys and When We Were Kings, comparing it to Michael Mann's Ali (with the interesting comment by Antonia Quirke that we will likely see another spate of boxing films (i.e. "one man against the system" films) with the current economic circumstances!), but which strangely doesn't seem to mention Cinderella Man at all!

I think the BBC must have placed all their film money on Made In Dagenham this week, given the feverish way they have been advertising it. Although that Talking Pictures series is still ongoing: Saturday's was James Stewart, and there was a chance to see The Man From Laramie in its original widescreen format straight afterwards, which was quite nice.


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 13, 2013 5:55 am 
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Color of Night is a remarkable 'bad' movie, you could discuss for ages just how bad it is.


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 13, 2013 3:01 pm 
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Next week, Edwardian Insects on Film, in which wildlife cameraman Charlie Hamilton James attempts to recreate Percy Smith's 1910 short The Acrobatic Fly. (BBC4, 19th March, 9pm).

You can watch The Acrobatic Fly on the BFI's YouTube channel.


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 20, 2013 2:25 pm 
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Edwardian Insects on Film was very interesting and while the programme focused entirely on Percy Smith's work (I don't think that I would have liked to be his next door neighbour!) and on The Acrobatic Insect, a film not on the set, it still makes a great companion to the BFI's Secrets of Nature set. In fact many of the other films that were included in that set get discussed during the programme including The Strangler (screened with David Attenborough commenting on it) and Magic Myxies.


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 17, 2013 9:26 am 
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I see that Four Lions has been pulled from TV schedules because of Boston. Whoosh!


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 17, 2013 12:57 pm 
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What have they replaced it with?


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 17, 2013 1:01 pm 
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Role Models.


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 17, 2013 1:45 pm 
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So nothing that they haven't screened a couple of dozen times already.

This isn't film related but I'm quite upset that The Review Show has been moved from a weekly post-Newsnight slot on BBC2 Friday nights to BBC4 on Sunday evenings but only once a month. I almost never agreed with the opinions put forward but it was nice to see a regular debate on films, books, music, theatre and arts on television (and by that I'm not counting 'arts magazine' shows like The Culture Show interviewing the creators, but more critical discussion programmes). Worryingly this move to once-monthly seems like it could be a precursor to dropping the show altogether.


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 24, 2013 4:49 pm 
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Satyajit Ray's Jalsaghar (The Music Room) is showing on Channel 4 next Thursday night/Friday morning (12.55am).


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 24, 2013 5:03 pm 
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antnield wrote:
Satyajit Ray's Jalsaghar (The Music Room) is showing on Channel 4 next Thursday night/Friday morning (12.55am).


I think it's Friday night/Saturday morning. It's listed here as 00:55 on Saturday 4 May.


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PostPosted: Sun Apr 28, 2013 5:24 am 

Joined: Tue Dec 15, 2009 1:02 pm
neilist wrote:
I think it's Friday night/Saturday morning. It's listed here as 00:55 on Saturday 4 May.

It's the first of a 5-part Satyajit Ray series. The following nights/mornings will feature ...
    The Big City: Mahanagar
    Charulata: The Lonely Wife
    Nayak: The Real Hero
    Agantuk

Charulata and Nayak are listed as HD. A bit disappointing that Jalsaghar is not in HD as there's obviously an HD transfer available.


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PostPosted: Sun Apr 28, 2013 5:24 am 

Joined: Tue Nov 22, 2011 7:10 am
Jalsaghar is part of a Centenary of Indian Cinema Season. Mahanagar (1963), Charulata (1964), Nayak (1966) and Agantuk (1991) are also being screened.


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PostPosted: Wed May 01, 2013 5:04 pm 
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aewb wrote:
Jalsaghar is part of a Centenary of Indian Cinema Season. Mahanagar (1963), Charulata (1964), Nayak (1966) and Agantuk (1991) are also being screened.

And they're all newly restored versions with the exception of Agantuk.


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PostPosted: Tue May 21, 2013 3:25 pm 
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An interesting RKO film is showing on BBC2 at 5.55 a.m. Sunday 26th May - The Mad Miss Manton, a pre-Lady Eve screwball comedy team up of Henry Fonda and Barbara Stanwyck. It even features a just pre- Oscar winning turn in Gone With The Wind Hattie McDaniel in the cast! (The film is out on the Warner Archive in the US)

I also noticed that Festen is getting a screening on Film4 Sunday 26th May at 11.20 p.m. - I don't think it has been shown on television for twelve years or so, since it got its premiere in Channel 4's season of Dogme films back in 2000.


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PostPosted: Wed May 22, 2013 6:38 am 

Joined: Sat Jun 07, 2008 3:31 am
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colinr0380 wrote:
An interesting RKO film is showing on BBC2 at 5.55 a.m. Sunday 26th May - The Mad Miss Manton, a pre-Lady Eve screwball comedy team up of Henry Fonda and Barbara Stanwyck. It even features a just pre- Oscar winning turn in Gone With The Wind Hattie McDaniel in the cast! (The film is out on the Warner Archive in the US).

Also a pressed UK release though I recall it's one of Odeon's NTSC-PAL conversions.


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PostPosted: Sun May 26, 2013 4:25 am 

Joined: Sat Jun 07, 2008 3:31 am
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BBC2's early morning RKO slots get much more adventurous next weekend with a triple-bill of obscure theatrical comedies on Saturday, starting at 6.40am with Curtain Call, followed by Footlight Fever and William A Seiter's pre-Code Sing and Like It (great cast including Zasu Pitts and Edward Everett Horton). Then on Sunday at 7am a rare screening of another pre-Code, Mark Sandrich's Melody Cruise, which I recall has traces of the Lubitsch/Mamoulian musical style.


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PostPosted: Wed May 29, 2013 2:25 am 
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Jonathan S wrote:
BBC2's early morning RKO slots get much more adventurous next weekend with a triple-bill of obscure theatrical comedies on Saturday, starting at 6.40am with Curtain Call, followed by Footlight Fever and William A Seiter's pre-Code Sing and Like It (great cast including Zasu Pitts and Edward Everett Horton). Then on Sunday at 7am a rare screening of another pre-Code, Mark Sandrich's Melody Cruise, which I recall has traces of the Lubitsch/Mamoulian musical style.


They're certainly obscure - Curtain Call and Footlight Fever don't get entries in Maltin's Classic Movie Guide and none of Saturday's three have been shown on UK television before, according to Radio Times. Melody Cruise was apparently last shown in 1995, but I didn't see it and don't remember it, and to be honest all four of these are new ones on me. And Pre-Codes on UK television have become a rare thing these days. Digibox recorder set!


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PostPosted: Sat Jun 01, 2013 8:45 am 
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Amusingly the Daily Mail has chosen today to run a variation on their standard boilerplate article on the BBC, BBC2 in particular, showing nothing but repeats! They have a semblance of a point given that everything else on today has been shown a couple of times already, but it seems almost willfully obtuse to beat with that stick on a day when three RKO Films, two from the 40s and one from the 30s, have been premiered!

The first two films are quite neat. Curtain Call turns out to have been scripted by Dalton Trumbo and there seem like a lot of 'Trumboisms' throughout in the bitchy, cynical dialogue about the trials of theatrical production and the cruelties heaped upon (usually pompous, and therefore kind of deserving!) writers!

The plot involves a young, idealistic, but awful, aspiring playwright from a small town getting her script into a theatrical agency and obliviously ending up in the middle of a feud between the bankrupt producers and their diva leading lady. The film kind of prefigures The Producers as when their leading lady states that she will leave after the last play she is contracted to do with them (thereby destroying the agency) the producers decide to produce the worst script available to them to destroy her reputation and get her to come crawling back and re-sign with them. Unfortunately the diva loves the script! (I don't think that I've ever seen a comedy film before where a lot of the drama and fun comes out of haggling over the fine print of all the various character's contracts!)

Although a lot of this is broad the film straddles the line between comedy and drama quite nicely. Interestingly the awful playwright is treated with a modicum of respect - she might be a terrible writer but she doesn't deserve to be treated the way that the conniving producers, or on the other side the diva, treat her! There is a great scene where the writer returns to the theatre to see the play being performed and in another moment where the gales of laughter from an audience signify a terrible tragedy that seems to prefigure The Producers (I wonder if the filmmakers of that later film saw this?) she sits in the audience aghast at the changes the producers have made to turn her awfully written tragedy into a hilarous farce! (Of course the diva is none the wiser and thinks she has given the dramatic performance of her life!)

There is also a really neat moment of stylistic set up and pay off in the film where in the scene where one of the producers has to wine and dine the playwright in order to get her permission to make changes to the play there is a moment where they go out onto the balcony and look at the cityscape. The sham, fake relationship is contrasted against the 'real' (in terms of the film, although there is a fourth wall breaking moment where the producer looks out over "Philadelph....New York", catching himself just in time as he looks at the backdrop!) city. Then at the very end of the film the playwright gets reunited with her hometown beau, they walk onto the stage of the play and share a kiss in front of the 'fake' cityscape backdrop (which looks suspiciously like the one from earlier, just with a faker balcony piece in front of it!)

A great little film and well worth getting wider exposure. I couldn't resist copying down some of the bitchy exchanges from Trumbo's script!:

"You've read the play haven't you?"
"It's the most unspeakable atrocity that has ever been perpetrated in the history of the American theatre"

"If Charlotte takes charge, I quit"
"Quit? Why, you rat"
"Exactly, and that's why I'm deserting this sinking ship"

"Mr Crandall, there are a lot of ways to commit suicide - poison, gas, shooting, hanging, but why do you have to do it in anything so public as a play?"

"If it's worth writing it's worth saving...you've got to fight for it as you would your very soul!

From the diva, indignant at the changes to the play: "He's delayed my entrance until page 9, and look at this...three other speeches besides mine on the same page! Why, it's monstrous! [And] people are always entering and exiting in the middle of my big scenes!"

A stagehand on the diva: "She's been eating scenery for fifteen years and hasn't hiccupped yet"

I hadn't realised beforehand (although the alliterative titles had raised slight suspicions) but Footlight Fever is a kind of follow up to Curtain Call with the same characters of theatrical producers Grandall & Avery getting into yet more trouble trying to put on their latest play whilst trying to stave off their creditors . This isn't quite on the same level as Curtain Call - there's no Trumbo script this time, though there are some neat comic one-liners, and much more reliance on Abbott & Costello/Laurel & Hardy physical comedy, double takes and eye rolls at the partner's antics. That's not quite as good but I was amused throughout all the same, especially when the film takes a bizarre turn into Looney Tunes-style 'painting an 'X' on the floor of the stage and painstakingly trying to cajole the victim into standing under the bag of sand' final section, a device which gets milked for all it is worth!

While the film is actually structured the same as Curtain Call (starting with the office and finding the money to put on the play, a mid-section of trying to deceive another character, followed by the difficulties on the run up to the first performance itself) there is also the move into more outlandish non-theatrical moments here. The best comparison is the mid-section where the wining and dining attempt to romance the playwright by one of the producers in Curtain Call, which is broad but ties in with the theatrical world somewhat, gets replaced in Footlight Fever with a trip by the pair of the producers to a wealthy dowager's mansion where they dress up as sailors and pretend that they are shipmates of her old lover who was lost at sea, and whose last wish was to have a play produced if she would put up the money!

It is fun in its own way, especially the way that the dowager after being cajoled into leaving her house for the first time in three decades immediately takes them on a trawl of all the riverfront bars picking fights with sailors! (In a great fast montage sequence of the trio moving from bar to bar and the producers getting steadily more beaten up while she is having great fun, which parallels with the scene from Curtain Call of the producer bored out of his mind whilst having to take the deliriously happy playwright around all of the nightclubs in a pretend love affair!) But it does feel much closer to broad comedy skits strung together than Curtain Call, for all of its comic moments, did. Not just there but also in the deus ex machina appearance of a pair of gangsters trying to rob the theatre in the final act, whose only purpose is to put one of the producers out of commission! (Incidentally I haven't watched all of the third film that the BBC showed this morning, Sing And Like It, yet but whoever programmed them together did so really well as an appearance of gangsters here neatly segues into the gangster protagonist of that third, unrelated film!)

Underlining the broad comedy tone of Footlight Fever there is also a amusing moment where, after both of the producers have been knocked out by that falling bag of sand mentioned earlier, they wake up in the hospital and rush back to the theatre (without changing out of their gowns) desperate to see the show before it finishes only to find that they have been in comas for the last two months! Very funny and strangely reminded me of that moment at the end of that Simpsons clip show programme!


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 07, 2013 3:30 am 

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The plot of Curtain Call is a great comic premise but for me the development was sometimes weak, esp. the sentimental portrayal of the playwright and her beau. I couldn't help comparing parts of it to the wittier and wackier Twentieth Century but for a 1940 B comedy it's pretty good - and so unusual (for that date) to let those two character comedians carry the film and its sequel. For a Code era film too there were some surprising hints that Mowbray's character is gay (e.g. his obvious distaste in romancing the playwright).

More rarely broadcast (in the UK) RKO films coming up:
Star of Midnight (1935) Saturday 8 June 7.15am
Christopher Strong (1933) Sunday 9 June 7.00am
The Gay Diplomat (1931) Saturday 15 June 6.25am
Love Affair (1939) Sunday 16 June 6.45am

I think even the Arzner and McCarey films have only been shown on UK TV once before, at least in recent decades, and Love Affair seems impossible to find in a good DVD edition. I don't recall any broadcast of The Gay Diplomat.


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 07, 2013 12:13 pm 
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I agree about the playwright and her beau in Curtain Call, although that relationship did feel treated with a tinge of irony as it seemed to be eerily following the plot of the awful play that she has written that we get told about, such as in the scene where the producers choose the play and have their secretary describe the plot of a successful woman forced to choose between a career in the big city and her small town beau gets immediately followed by the saccharine departure between the playwright and her love on the veranda of her family home as she decides to pursue her dreams (flying in the face of the shattered ambitions of her heroine when push comes to shove, and suggesting that even she doesn't believe in her character's motivations!)

Though I do agree that little is done with the playwright beyond this after she initially seems as if she will be a major character driving the action along in the first section of the film. Instead the producers come to the fore. Perhaps a film with a longer running time or a more ensemble approach to the characters and their drama would have pushed the playwright a little more in the later sections, perhaps even pushing the parallels to the play even more as she gets returns back home broken and gets saved from a contrived suicide attempt (or perhaps gets disillousioned by the theatre world and attempts suicide there, with her beau saving her as the male lead in the play failed to do).

However for all of that (and after the initial scene of the family suffering through another performance of her pompous play!) I was very impressed that the playwright was not portrayed as totally insufferable throughout. More grandiose, naive and prone to being manipulated, but underserving of being too severely punished for those understandable flaws!


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 07, 2013 1:30 pm 
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Jonathan S wrote:
I don't recall any broadcast of The Gay Diplomat.


FWIW that's another without an entry in Maltin's Classic Movie Guide.


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