to air Burning a new leaf
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.