Easter tales res­ur­rected

The Weekend Australian - Review - - Television -

NOT to be out­done by Ce­cil B. Demille, whose cir­cus epic The Great­est Show on Earth ran for two hours and 23 min­utes, Ge­orge Stevens coun­tered with The Great­est Story Ever Told (Fri­day, 12.15pm, 7Two), which came in at just un­der four hours in its un­cut ver­sion be­fore stu­dio bosses trimmed it to man­age­able pro­por­tions. It’s dis­tin­guished by Max von Sy­dow’s mov­ing and dig­ni­fied per­for­mance as Je­sus, and it’s strange to think that von Sy­dow once played chess with the Devil (or was it Death?) in Ing­mar Bergman’s The Sev­enth Seal. Seven’s other Easter of­fer­ing is Barab­bas (Fri­day, 9.20am, 7Two), the story of the leg­endary thief who was sen­tenced to be cru­ci­fied be­side Je­sus but was spared by Pon­tius Pi­late.

Odette (Satur­day, 3.50am, Gem) is the story of Odette Churchill (played by Anna Nea­gle) who spied for the French re­sis­tance dur­ing World War II and was cap­tured and tor­tured by the Nazis. It’s mov­ing and har­row­ing and sadly true, but marked by an ex­cess of pa­tri­otic rev­er­ence typ­i­cal of 1950s Bri­tish war films.

So how about a smart ro­man­tic com­edy to cheer us up? Me­lanie Grif­fith was at the top of her form in Work­ing Girl (Thurs­day, 8.30pm, 7Two) as Tess Mcgill, an in­dus­tri­ous sec­re­tary in a bro­ker­age firm who dis­cov­ers that the woman she is work­ing for (Sigour­ney Weaver) has pinched her idea for a big deal with a client with­out cred­it­ing her. The en­su­ing feuds and ro­man­tic com­pli­ca­tions in­volve Har­ri­son Ford, who is also the lover of Weaver’s char­ac­ter. This buoy­ant, smoothly acted com­edy was among the great feel­good films of the 80s. An­other was Ten­der Mer­cies (Mon­day, noon, Gem), Bruce Beres­ford’s first Amer­i­can as­sign­ment. Sub­tle, low-key and wholly be­guil­ing, it won Os­cars for best screen­play (Hor­ton Foote) and for Robert Du­vall’s per­for­mance as Mac Sledge, a down-and-out coun­try singer who puts his life back to­gether when he meets a widow (Tess Harper) and her young son.

Za­to­ichi (Satur­day, 1.30am, SBS One) is an over-long and man­nered Ja­panese epic about a blind swords­man, played by di­rec­tor Takeshi Ki­tano. In the ver­sion I re­mem­ber from 2004, the sub­ti­tles used the ex­pres­sion

sight-im­paired’’ to re­fer to the blind: a cu­ri­ous ex­am­ple of po­lit­i­cal cor­rect­ness when we re­mem­ber that blind­ness, for Za­to­ichi, was a badge of hon­our.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.