free

to air Burn­ing a new leaf

The Weekend Australian - Review - - Television - Evan Wil­liams

WITH all sorts of peo­ple pre­dict­ing the demise of the book, Fahren­heit 451 (Thurs­day, 12.20am, ABC1) can be rec­om­mended as a morale-booster for bib­lio­philes. This is Fran­cois Truf­faut’s dev­as­tat­ing cri­tique of to­tal­i­tar­i­an­ism, and the ti­tle refers to the tem­per­a­ture at which pa­per burns. In a fu­ture po­lice state, all books are banned for their sub­ver­sive ten­den­cies. Oskar Werner plays a fireman whose job is to fer­ret out books and burn them. It’s a fas­ci­nat­ing film for many rea­sons: Julie Christie’s two roles, the strik­ing cin­e­matog­ra­phy by fu­ture di­rec­tor Ni­cholas Roeg (it was Truf­faut’s first colour film), and a score by the great Bernard Her­rmann.

Robin Hood was fight­ing for free­dom and jus­tice be­fore books were in­vented, and the best Robin Hood film is the 1938 one with Er­rol Flynn, The Ad­ven­tures of Robin Hood (Sun­day, 10.35am, Gem), di­rected by Michael Cur­tiz and Wil­liam Keigh­ley. It’s one of the all-time great ad­ven­ture movies, with Flynn, never more dash­ing and ath­letic, up against Basil Rath­bone’s vil­lain­ous Sir Guy de Gis­bourne. Flynn turns up again in San An­to­nio (Satur­day, 10.15am, Gem), a 1945 west­ern I haven’t seen but am as­sured has all the stan­dard in­gre­di­ents: gun­fights, cat­tle rustlers and a great bar-room brawl.

Trail­ers are of­ten bet­ter than the films they ad­ver­tise, for the good rea­son that they’re shorter. The Long, Long Trailer (Satur­day, 8am, Gem) is a clas­sic com­edy about hon­ey­moon­ers Lu­cille Ball and Desi Ar­naz hav­ing ad­ven­tures on a cross-coun­try trip. Mike Ni­chols’s es­sen­tial Work­ing Girl (Tues­day, 10pm, 7Two) is a sparkling rom­com about of­fice pol­i­tics and in­trigue. Me­lanie Grif­fiths stars; Sigour­ney Weaver is won­der­ful as her bitchy ri­val. It’s dated a bit since 1988 (no desk­top com­put­ers?), but that’s part of the charm of old movies.

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