EVAN WIL­LIAMS

The Weekend Australian - Review - - Tv -

ICAN think of two Aus­tralian women who were revered celebri­ties in the US dur­ing much of the pre­vi­ous cen­tury, and each was the sub­ject of an ad­mir­ing Hol­ly­wood biopic. An­nette Keller­man, the Syd­ney girl who con­quered rick­ets in child­hood to be­come a cham­pion swim­mer and show- biz su­per­star, was played by Es­ther Wil­liams in Mil­lion Dol­lar Mer­maid. El­iz­a­beth Kenny, the bush nurse from Queens­land who claimed to cure po­lio and treated hun­dreds of vic­tims dur­ing a Bris­bane epi­demic in 1932, is the fo­cus of Sis­ter Kenny ( Tues­day, 1.35am, ABC). Kenny’s meth­ods pro­voked much sus­pi­cion among doc­tors in Aus­tralia. When a royal com­mis­sion dis­cred­ited her claims, she headed to the US and was hailed as a mir­a­cle worker af­ter treat­ing dozens of pa­tients in Min­neapo­lis with a form of phys­io­ther­apy. One na­tional poll voted her the sec­ond most pop­u­lar woman in the US af­ter the first lady. Ros­alind Rus­sell, whose hair­dos are not what you would ex­pect in a de­voted ser­vant of the af­flicted, looks too glam­orous for the part, but Dud­ley Ni­chols’s film ( nov­el­ist Mary McCarthy was among the writ­ers) gives us Kenny as she prob­a­bly wanted to be re­mem­bered: du­ti­ful, self­less and hard­work­ing. And a fine, mov­ing story it is. With two net­works run­ning Sean Con­nery films this Sun­day, I checked to see if it was his birth­day ( but no). Medicine Man ( 2.40pm, Seven) is about an ob­ses­sive Scot­tish sci­en­tist who thinks he has found a cure for can­cer in the jun­gles of South Amer­ica. So pity the uni­ver­sity bio­chemist ( Lor­raine Bracco) who ar­rives to pull the plug on his re­search grant. Action spe­cial­ist John McTier­nan ( Die Hard ) di­rected this odd blend of thriller and psy­cho­log­i­cal slugfest, and it’s far from Con­nery’s best. Bet­ter ( but not much) is Just Cause ( 11.40pm, Nine), about a Har­vard law pro­fes­sor who takes up the case of a black con­vict ac­cused of rap­ing and killing a child, and se­cures his release from death row, only to see the killings re­sume. In John Katzen­bach’s novel, Con­nery’s char­ac­ter is a cru­sad­ing jour­nal­ist, but the 1990s be­ing the golden age of le­gal thrillers, he was turned into a lawyer, and the film has the usual in­gre­di­ents of the genre: an un­likely story and much un­pleas­ant de­tail. Noise ( Sun­day, 9.10pm, SBS) was my favourite Aus­tralian film last year, an en­gross­ing drama about a Mel­bourne cop ( Bren­dan Cow­ell) who suf­fers from stress and serves a stint in a claus­tro­pho­bic sur­veil­lance car­a­van near the scene of a killing ram­page

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