Spot the real stars

The Weekend Australian - Review - - Television -

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.

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