The Weekend Australian - Review - - Tv - EVAN WIL­LIAMS

AS Ham­let ob­serves, list­ing the of­fences of his un­cle Claudius, he’s ‘‘ popped in be­tween the elec­tion and my hopes’’: a sen­ti­ment bound to be echoed some­time this week­end by John Howard or Kevin Rudd. As the swelling pro­logue to that great event, the ABC is show­ing Lau­rence Olivier’s Ham­let ( Satur­day, 1.30pm), a tale suit­ably rich in thwarted am­bi­tion and psy­cho­log­i­cal power plays, in which Shake­speare shows us what a dab hand he would have been at writ­ing neg­a­tive at­tack ads (‘‘ lech­er­ous, treach­er­ous, kind­less vil­lain’’; ‘‘ in­ces­tu­ous, mur­der­ous, damned Dane’’, and so on). I still love the film im­mod­er­ately — it was the deep- fo­cus track­ing shots through Elsi­nore’s cor­ri­dors that got me in as a teenager — but those wish­ing to vent their anger at the elec­tion re­sult may pre­fer Scream 3 ( Sun­day, mid­night, Nine), the last of Wes Craven’s slasher tril­ogy, of which no syn­op­sis is nec­es­sary. The ABC’s other Shake­spearean of­fer­ing is Re­nato Castel­lani’s 1954 Romeo and Juliet ( 12.30am, Wed­nes­day), of all film ver­sions the most faith­ful to the text and the rap­tur­ous qual­ity of the love story. Lau­rence Har­vey and Susan Shen­tall are the lovers, both largely un­known at the time. For years I trea­sured a vinyl LP of John Giel­gud and Claire Bloom do­ing the speeches, but Castel­lani’s cast out­did them both, and the film owed much to the rav­ish­ing cam­er­a­work of Aus­tralian Robert Krasker, who shot the ex­te­ri­ors in Italy. 42 Up ( Sun­day, 9.30pm, SBS) was one of the midlife in­stal­ments of Michael Apted’s doc­u­men­tary project about or­di­nary and not- so- or­di­nary English lives, the char­ac­ters’ sixth ap­pear­ance since the se­ries be­gan on Bri­tish television in 1964. The familiar faces ( those we re­mem­ber) are back for a fresh up­dat­ing, and fate seems to have been kind to them. Even Neil, the neu­rotic dropout hid­ing from the world seven years ear­lier, has strug­gled into a col­lar and tie to be­come a mem­ber of Lon­don’s Hack­ney Coun­cil. But would the char­ac­ters have turned out this way if the film­mak­ers weren’t turn­ing them into mi­nor celebri­ties? And do we ever see peo­ple as they re­ally are? That’s a ques­tion raised by Shal­low Hal ( Sun­day, 9.30pm, Seven), a rather shal­low com­edy by Bobby and Peter Far­relly ( There’s Some­thing about Mary ), in which Jack Black plays the ul­ti­mate shal­low guy, per­suaded by a lifestyle guru to look be­yond out­ward ap­pear­ances and see peo­ple’s in­ner beauty. Nat­u­rally he falls for the in­ner beauty of the obese and awk­ward Rose­mary, whom we only see in the per­son of Gwyneth Pal­trow. It’s a for­mula that al­lows the Far­rellys to get away with old- style fatty

slap­stick jokes that wouldn’t be tol­er­ated un­der pre­vail­ing PC codes, as when the slen­der Pal­trow crashes through chairs or dives into a pool and en­gulfs other swim­mers in waves of spray. But Pal­trow fans will love it. And for James Ma­son fans there’s The Sev­enth Veil ( Thurs­day, 4.30am, ABC), a su­pe­rior 1940s melo­drama from the days when Ma­son was mak­ing a name as a sexy brute. He took a rid­ing crop to Mar­garet Lock­wood in The Man in Grey, and in The Sev­enth Veil he cracks his cane across the fin­gers of Ann Todd, a con­cert pi­anist who suf­fers from de­pres­sion. Her­bert Lom is the psy­chi­a­trist and Aus­tralian pi­anist Eileen Joyce sup­plied the sound­track for Todd, who went on to star in Al­fred Hitch­cock’s The Para­dine Case.

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