to air Se­duc­tion in con­cert

The Weekend Australian - Review - - Television - Evan Wil­liams

MAX Ophuls made Letter from an Un­known Woman (Satur­day, 10.15pm, ABC2) dur­ing a post­war so­journ in Hol­ly­wood, and it sounds like the purest soap. Lisa (Joan Fon­taine) falls for a con­cert pi­anist (Louis Jour­dan), who heads off on a tour and promptly for­gets about her. She mar­ries an­other guy when she dis­cov­ers she’s preg­nant with Ste­fan’s child, then the rot­ter turns up and, still not know­ing who she is, starts se­duc­ing her all over again. In Ryan’s Daugh­ter (Satur­day, 1.20am, Gem), Sarah Miles finds her­self in a love­less mar­riage with Robert Mitchum be­fore fall­ing for a shell-shocked Bri­tish of­fi­cer dur­ing World War I. Ophuls’s film, full of sweet, lyri­cal sad­ness, is con­sid­ered his great­est Amer­i­can work; Ryan’s Daugh­ter is slow, self-in­dul­gent, more than three hours long, and by com­mon con­sent the least suc­cess­ful of David Lean’s epics. Of course you could watch them both.

What Lies Be­neath (Late Satur­day, Syd­ney, Ade­laide and Bris­bane, Ten) is an above-av­er­age ghost story star­ring Har­ri­son Ford , mar­ried to Michelle Pfeif­fer. Clark Gregg’s screen­play sets the story in an idyl­lic lake­side house in an idyl­lic lo­ca­tion, which means that less than idyl­lic events are in store for Pfeif­fer dur­ing her hus­band’s ab­sence.

See The Barbarian In­va­sions (Tues­day, 11.20pm, SBS2), a French-Cana­dian film from di­rec­tor Denys Ar­cand, who brings to­gether char­ac­ters from his 1986 film The De­cline of the Amer­i­can Em­pire. It’s as mis­er­able as sin but beau­ti­fully acted and fi­nally very mov­ing. And speak­ing of Shake­speare films (see op­po­site, thank you), I should men­tion one of the best of them all: Akira Kurosawa’s Ran (Mon­day, 10.30pm, SBS Two), an adap­ta­tion of King Lear set in 16th-cen­tury Ja­pan. Tat­suya Nakadai plays the age­ing war­lord di­vid­ing his king­dom be­tween his three sons. It’s vis­ually stun­ning.

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