EVAN WIL­LIAMS

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The Weekend Australian - Review - - Tv -

IT’S 70 years since Or­son Welles made his fa­mous ra­dio broad­cast of The War of the Worlds , caus­ing panic in the US and in­spir­ing end­less silly movies about alien in­va­sions. Is there is a con­tem­po­rary equiv­a­lent of Welles, the ge­nius film­maker who made Cit­i­zen Kane and ended his ca­reer do­ing com­mer­cials for pho­to­copiers? An­other cel­e­brated Welles en­ter­prise was his stag­ing ( with John House­man) of The Cra­dle Will Rock , Marc Bl­itzstein’s 1930s mu­si­cal about a US steel strike, a project re­sisted by the busi­ness es­tab­lish­ment and New York city au­thor­i­ties, who feared Nazi ag­i­ta­tion. Tim Rob­bins’s film Cra­dle Will Rock ( Satur­day, mid­night, Seven) cap­tures much of the po­lit­i­cal and artis­tic fer­vour of those days, a time when John D. Rock­e­feller was form­ing an un­likely al­liance with the Mex­i­can revo­lu­tion­ary painter Diego Rivera and an Ital­ian diplo­mat was sell­ing Da Vin­cis to rich New York­ers to raise money for Mus­solini. The ensem­ble cast is fab­u­lous: Emily Wat­son, John Tur­turro, Susan Saran­don, John Cu­sack, Vanessa Red­grave and Bill Murray. In 1948 Welles made his ne­glected film Mac­beth ( Tues­day, 12.35am, ABC), re­put­edly shot in 23 days on a cheap West­ern back­lot at Repub­lic. I love the ABC syn­op­sis: ‘‘ Moved by his own am­bi­tion and that of his un­scrupu­lous wife, Mac­beth mur­ders Dun­can, the king of Scot­land, and takes his crown.’’ Jeanette Nolan isn’t much as the un­scrupu­lous wife, but Welles is in fine form and John L. Rus­sell’s icy black and white cam­er­a­work ( he was Hitch­cock’s cin­e­matog­ra­pher on Psy­cho ) cre­ates a night­mar­ish world of lust­ful in­trigue and su­per­nat­u­ral skul­dug­gery. Over­shad­owed by Olivier’s Ham­let , made in the same year, Mac­beth was fol­lowed by Welles’s other great Shake­speare films, Othello and Chimes at Mid­night . Bride & Prej­u­dice ( Satur­day, 9.25pm, Nine) is Gurinder Chadha’s sur­pris­ingly lik­able Bol­ly­wood mu­si­cal ver­sion of Jane Austen. I showed a DVD of it for my grand­daugh­ter’s 12th birth­day party, af­ter which the girls thanked me po­litely and said how much they en­joyed it, de­spite the Bol­ly­wood re­stric­tion on lip kisses. But plenty of gaudy vi­su­als and the ex­pected ten­sions be­tween an ar­ro­gant bach­e­lor ( Martin Henderson) and his bride- to- be ( Aish­warya Rai). In Gigi ( Satur­day, 1.30pm, Nine), Lerner

and Loewe did their best to re­peat the suc­cess of and al­most suc­ceeded, with the help of Les­lie Caron’s cour­te­san- in­train­ing, Ce­cil Beaton’s gor­geous de­signs and Mau­rice Che­va­lier’s leer­ing num­ber about the charms of lee­dle girls ( which the NSW vice squad should look at be­fore more dam­age is done). And here’s an in­ter­est­ing one:

( Wed­nes­day, 12.25am, ABC), di­rected by the play­wright Ge­orge F. Kauf­man ( who co- wrote the Marx Brothers clas­sic ). Dick Pow­ell is the pres­i­den­tial can­di­date whose lost diary con­tains all sorts of scan­dalous de­tail, some of it sup­ported by stat decs kept in Myrna Loy’s freezer. Very funny ( the film).

My Fair Lady

Sen­a­tor was In­dis­creet

A Night at the Opera

The

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