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The Fabulous Baker Boys head a fab week of films


JOHN GORE, founder of StokeScreen Film Club returns with his pick of the films coming on TV (from Oct 10).

Good grief! Have I been spouting drivel to you for six months now? And you are still reading it?! Each to their own, I guess.

First, a big thank-you to Kevin Cryan for filling in for me last week while we were hunting haggis moths somewhere between Brigadoon and Tannochbrae. Kevin has the knowledge and insight to fill in stories from beyond the realm of film, so his background on In Bruges was very pleasing for me to read. I hope that it met with your approval, too.

Tea break over, back to business. As if to acknowledge the six-month anniversary, there are a few repeats on our screens which I praised lavishly earlier in the summer. If you missed them, here is an opportunity to miss them again.

Satirical horror Get Out (Channel 4, 22.55, Sun, 11 Oct) becomes more poignant by the day. What starts out as Meet the Parents rapidly turns into Invasion of the Bodysnatchers. Prescribed viewing as one of the seminal movies of the decade.

Enough Said (Film 4, 19.10, Tue, 13 Oct) brings together James Gandalfini (The Sopranos) and Julia Louis-Dreyfus (Veep) in an unconventional romcom of ‘those of a certain age’. Although, alarmingly flagged as 'edited for content’ by Film 4, it is a heart-warming story of love in later life.

Fly Away Home (Sony Movies, 03.50, Wed, 14 Oct) remains one of my favourite films for late pre teens/early teens (clearly, looking at the transmission time, those with serious insomnia or a serious coffee habit) which wraps some pretty profound family issues in a literally uplifting tale of father,

daughter, and a flock of geese flying south for the winter.

The Handmaiden (Film 4, 01.10, Sat, 17 Oct) is a lush and lascivious adaptation of Sarah Waters’ Fingersmith, directed by Park Chan-wook, with whom I spent a very entertaining evening 15 years ago, while he was willingly autographing merchandise for fans. He went on to make The Little Drummer Girl for BBC TV.

In Kevin’s honour, here are a couple of top notch, classic westerns. King of the genre was John Ford. He made a trio of alienated hero films, My Darling Clementine, The Searchers and The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (Paramount, 16.00, Sat, 10 Oct). James Stewart, John Wayne and Lee Marvin lead the cast; this is iconic western stuff.

The following afternoon, in the post prandial haze, comes Rio Bravo (BBC 2, 14.00, Sun, 11 Oct). Here are John Wayne, Dean Martin, Ricky Nelson and Angie Dickinson. A small town sheriff enlists the help of ‘a cripple, a drunk and a kid’ (sic) to rid the town of the local bully. It does read like the set up for a joke, doesn’t it? Not a terribly PC one at that. It is directed by Howard Hawks, one of my favourite

directors. Witty, wise and eager to give his female characters an equal voice, he is always worth watching. Last week, Kevin was praising His Girl Friday, which is one of my Desert Island Movies. Maybe we are into a season. If so, we are in for a treat.

One of the most enduring of the series, Carry on Cleo (ITV 3, 13.10, Sat, 10 Oct) takes the team of regulars to Imperial Rome and Egypt. Cue plenty of asp references, Sid James as a leering Mark Anthony and Maestro Williams declaiming, ‘Infamy! Infamy! They’ve all got it infamy!!’

At the other end of the continent is A United Kingdom (BBC 2, 23.00, Sat, 10 Oct) in which David Oyelowo (also in The Queen of Katwe (BBC 2, 13.15, Sat, 10 Oct) is Seretse Khama, heir to the throne of Bechuanaland (that’s Botswana in today’s money) who brings home a very white wife (an impressive Rosalind Pyke) to a very traditional homeland and a very hostile representative of Her Majesty’s Government. What will South Africa think? Directed by Amma Assante (Belle, The Handmaid’s Tale), this gives a refreshingly open account of a celeb story at the end of Empire.

Iconic film of the week is Martin Scorsese’s Raging Bull (ITV, 23.00, Sat, 10 Oct). Shot in lustrous black and white, it features Robert de Niro as boxer Jake La Motta in the role which propelled him to superstar status. A bit like Citizen Kane, this regularly appears in critics’ all-time top ten for reasons that are not always immediately obvious. Time to revisit, maybe?

Since Sky Arts is now free to air (on channel 147) we can talk about White Riot (Sky Arts, 22.00, Fri, 16

Oct) which documents a critical moment in music in 1976 when Eric Clapton announced his support for Enoch Powell’s views on immigration, a serious faux pas which he has had 44 years to regret and rescind. From this was born Rock Against Racism and the full fury of punk and reggae artists joining together to denounce the obscenity of such views and making it terminally unhip to be caught in possession of them.

In the infancy of Channel 4, there was a series of films called Film on Four, made for TV but also screened in cinemas. One of the more successful ones, Those Glory Glory Days (Film 4, 11.00, Sat, 10 Oct) resurfaces this week. It is a loose autobiography of the teenage years of sports writer Julie Welch and her love affair with Tottenham Hotspur in the double winning season of 1960/61. It is charming and rose-tinted, but thoroughly engaging.

The other big Brit offering is My Name is Joe (Film 4, 18.25, Fri, 16 Oct). Directed by Ken Loach, it is the tale of a recovering alcoholic who falls for his social worker. It is as close to romance as Loach is likely to get and is graced by a towering performance by Peter Mullan (The Magdalene Sisters, Mum).

I liked the tone and sustained tension of The Book Thief (Film 4, 18.25, Fri, 16 Oct). It takes an Anne Frank variation, adds touches of Fahrenheit 451 and lets it develop in the midst of a caring family of a Nazi officer. It is quite a complex cocktail.

However, my choice for film of the week, is (pictured above) The Fabulous Baker Boys (5Select, 23.00, Fri, 16 Oct). Jeff and Beau Bridges play the eponymous brothers, a jaded cocktail lounge piano duo, playing tame standards while the punters drink. It is then decided to bring in a female singer. There is a memorable audition sequence topped off in fine style by the late arrival of Michelle Pfeiffer in full Lauren Bacall mode. Her entrance is enough to melt celluloid! Wry, affectionate and damned sensual, this will put a smile on your face!

As ever, it is always good to hear from you, so please put your thoughts down and send them to us at StokeScreenfilmclub@aol.com Find us on Facebook - StokeScreen at CNWSC or at www.StokeScreen.uk

Winner!