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The Weekend Australian - Review - - Television -

WITH Hol­ly­wood more than ever ob­sessed with mon­sters, su­per­heroes and flat­u­lent spec­ta­cle, You Can Count on Me (Fri­day, 9.30am, Show­time Drama) comes as a pre­cious re­minder that the best films don’t have to be vi­o­lent and noisy. This low-bud­get US fea­ture, di­rected by Ken­neth Lon­er­gan, cred­its Martin Scors­ese as ex­ec­u­tive pro­ducer, and there are re­minders of Alice Doesn’t Live Here Any­more, Scors­ese’s 1974 film about a lonely mother, played by Ellen Burstyn. This time the sin­gle mum, Sam, is played beau­ti­fully by Laura Lin­ney, who is bring­ing up eight-year-old Rudy (Rory Culkin) in the ab­sence of Rudy Sr.

Lives are changed when Sam’s brother Terry (Mark Ruf­falo) ar­rives on the scene — broke, use­less, and keen to sponge on his sis­ter. Lon­er­gan’s film is about the bond be­tween broth­ers and sis­ters, the need for love and the need for free­dom, and the need of boys — es­pe­cially boys — for fathers and male role mod­els, even those whose influence isn’t al­ways for the best. You Can Count on Me is a joy, a reve­la­tion, and I guar­an­tee you will be think­ing of it for days after­wards.

Ver­tigo was a wor­thy win­ner of the re­cent Sight & Sound poll of the great­est films, though some would ar­gue that Rear Win­dow and The Birds were bet­ter ex­am­ples of Al­fred Hitch­cock in his prime. Re­becca (Satur­day, 7.30pm, Fox Clas­sics), Hitch’s first Hol­ly­wood film, and a pres­tige project for pro­ducer David O. Selznick af­ter his tri­umph with Gone with the Wind, cer­tainly beat Ver­tigo at the box of­fice.

This is Hitch­cock with­out a trace of hor­ror or vi­o­lence, but with oo­dles of spook­i­ness and sus­pense. Joan Fon­taine is the shy, sec­ond wife of the ur­bane Maxim de Win­ter (Lau­rence Olivier), who is haunted by mem­o­ries of Re­becca, the first Mrs de Win­ter, whom we never see. Adapted from a Daphne du Mau­rier novel, it re­mains one of my all-time favourite films, with Ju­dith An­der­son and Ge­orge San­ders mem­o­rable in sin­is­ter roles. Its great box-of­fice ri­val a year ear­lier was Good­bye, Mr Chips (Tues­day, 8.30pm, TCM), with a poignant per­for­mance by Robert Donat as the re­tir­ing school­mas­ter beloved by gen­er­a­tions of boys. Donat beat Clark Gable (star of Gone with the Wind) for best ac­tor Os­car in 1939.

Af­ter a string of more am­bi­tious films, Woody Allen re­turned to sim­ple, home­spun ter­ri­tory in Broad­way Danny Rose (Wed­nes­day, 7pm, Movie Greats), a charm­ing com­edy shot in his beloved black-and-white and set in his beloved Man­hat­tan. Woody ap­pears as the tit­u­lar Danny, a the­atri­cal agent who spe­cialises in bizarre and out­landish acts — one-legged tap-dancers, washed-up lounge singers — that no other agent will han­dle. Plenty of ver­bal gags, with much non­sense in­volv­ing mob­sters, love tri­an­gles. cheat­ing hus­bands and mis­taken iden­ti­ties.

Critic’s choice

(M) ★★★★✩ Fri­day, 9.30am, Show­time Drama

(M) ★★★★✩ Wed­nes­day, 7pm, Movie Greats

(PG) ★★★★✩ Satur­day, 7.30pm, Fox Clas­sics

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