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The Weekend Australian - Review - - Television - Evan Wil­liams

THE death this year of Ernest Borg­nine at the age of 95 robbed Hol­ly­wood of one of its most ver­sa­tile stars. With his podgy fea­tures, stocky frame and gap-toothed grin, he may have lacked glamour, and was reg­u­larly cast in heavy roles un­til Marty made him a sur­prise ro­man­tic hero in 1955. But de­spite a ca­reer span­ning six decades and more than 80 films, there has been lit­tle on TV to re­mem­ber him by. In From Here to Eter­nity (Satur­day, 10.25pm, ABC2), one of his ear­li­est films, he plays sadis­tic Sergeant Fatso Jud­son, who gives Frank Si­na­tra a hard time in the stock­ade, but in com­pe­ti­tion with the likes of Burt Lan­caster, Deb­o­rah Kerr and Mont­gomery Clift it hardly rates as one of his lead­ing roles. Based on James Jones’s novel, Fred Zin­ne­mann’s film was nev­er­the­less a Hol­ly­wood land­mark — ahead of its time with its steamy plot, raw lan­guage and on-screen vi­o­lence, not to men­tion that love scene on the beach.

Else­where in this is­sue I re­view Cate Short­land’s new film Lore, which looks at Nazi Ger­many through the eyes of a child. For ad­mir­ers of Short­land’s film I would rec­om­mend also Mar­garethe von Trotta’s Rosenstrasse (Sun­day, 10.45pm, SBS One), one of the most re­mark­able films about the Holo­caust to come out of Ger­many. And it’s a true story. For some years the Gestapo main­tained a spe­cial de­ten­tion cen­tre in Ber­lin for Jewish men mar­ried to non-Jewish wives. Such men, pro­vided their wives didn’t di­vorce them, had a fair chance of be­ing spared de­por­ta­tion to the death camps. But in 1943 a group of wives was brave enough to picket the prison (in the Rosenstrasse) and de­mand their hus­bands’ re­lease — to which Joseph Goebbels (sur­pris­ingly) agreed. We fol­low the story of Ruth, a New York Jewish woman (Jutta Lampe), who was shel­tered as a child by a mu­si­cian, the wife of a Rosenstrasse sur­vivor. With its com­plex nar­ra­tive and in­ter­gen­er­a­tional ties link­ing past and present, there has been no more mov­ing and pow­er­ful film about the plight of the Ber­lin Jews.

In a choice be­tween Re­turn of the Seven (Sun­day, 2pm, 7Two) — Yul Bryn­ner and the mag­nif­i­cent ones save an­other Mex­i­can vil­lage — and The Re­turn of the Mus­ke­teers (Tues­day, 2pm, 7Two) — Michael York and the boys re­muster for more ad­ven­tures — I’d go for The Great Es­cape (Satur­day, 2pm, ABC1), for many the great­est of all es­cape films. An all-star cast of Al­lied POWs, whom the Ger­mans have thrown to­gether in a spe­cial es­cape-proof camp, set about dig­ging not one es­cape tun­nel but three. This won’t be any old es­cape but one so big that thou­sands of Ger­man troops will be kept away from the front while they go af­ter the fugi­tives. A break­through role for Steve McQueen and a rous­ing Elmer Bern­stein score, all ex­pertly di­rected by John Sturges. The only big star miss­ing is Ernest Borg­nine.

(M) ★★★★✩ Sun­day, 10.45pm, SBS One

(M) ★★★★✩ Satur­day, 10.25pm, ABC2

(PG) ★★★★✩ Satur­day, 2pm, ABC1

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