Spot the real stars
A BOX-OFFICE flop in its day, Bringing Up Baby (Wednesday, 12.25am, ABC1) now ranks among the greatest of Hollywood screwball comedies. Baby is a pet leopard who enjoys being serenaded with I Can’t Give You Anything But Love — typical of the inspired lunacy Howard Hawks brought to this madcap satire on money and masculinity.
There’s a famous moment when Katharine Hepburn’s elderly aunt is confronted by Cary Grant wearing a frilly negligee. I just decided to go gay all of a sudden,’’ says Grant — a remark that modern audiences will interpret as they see fit.
The week’s best feel-good offering, at least for art-house audiences, is Swedish director Kay Pollak’s As It is in Heaven (Sunday, 9.40pm, SBS One), a huge hit in Sweden in 2004 (and a long-running success in Australia). After suffering a nervous collapse, a fledgling orchestral conductor (Michael Nyqvist) returns to the village where grew up and takes charge of a church choir.
We saw something like this in the French film Les Choristes, but Pollak has given us a much richer and more satisfying film, with moving portraits of the villagers and their emotional hangups.
A Little Princess (Saturday, 5.30pm, Gem) is the latest version of Frances Hodgson Burnett’s children’s classic, first filmed with Shirley Temple and then many times after for stage and screen. In this 1995 rendering, Liesel Matthews plays Sara, whose father leaves her in a boarding school when he goes off to World War I.
The school is run by the hateful Miss Minchin (Eleanor Bron), who is determined to break little Sara’s spirit, but Matthews’s sassiness and charm carry the day.
Based on James Jones’s door-stopping best-seller, From Here to Eternity (Saturday, 3pm, ABC1) won the best picture Oscar in 1953 with a story of lust and brutality in a US military barracks in Hawaii that so troubled army authorities they insisted on modifications to the screenplay.
There were career-defining roles for Frank Sinatra, Burt Lancaster and Deborah Kerr.
I haven’t seen The Whole Ten Yards (Sunday, 11.45pm, 7Mate), which has been reliably described as an inferior sequel to The Whole Nine Yards, a witless and improbable action thriller with Bruce Willis.
The sequel has Willis’s daughter Tallulah in a small, foul-mouthed role. I think the first film must have been better.