free to air
IT’S hard to believe that in 1995 people were asking whether the Bond franchise had finally run its course. As we all know there were plenty more films to come; at least six by my reckoning, including the yet-to-be-released Skyfall. What had run out in 1995 was the supply of original source material. GoldenEye (Saturday, 8.20pm, Seven) was the first Bond that owed nothing to Ian Fleming, whose books and stories had all been used. No problem. Endless variations were possible on the standard ingredients: supervillains, exotic locations, gorgeous girls, perverted bad guys, improbable stunts.
GoldenEye was the debut film of Bond No 5, Pierce Brosnan, and first-time Bond director Martin Campbell, who between them kept everything moving briskly with a story about a deadly Russian satellite that falls into criminal hands. (Watch out, London.) It was also Judi Dench’s debut as M. A year later she appeared in Kenneth Branagh’s film of Hamlet, and no prizes for guessing in which role she is best remembered.
Paper Moon (Saturday, 8.30pm, ABC2) is a bittersweet 1973 comedy by director Peter Bogdanovich, who had made his name two years earlier with The Last Picture Show. A road movie set in the Depression-era American midwest, it boasts charming performances from real-life father and daughter Ryan and Tatum O’Neal — though charming may not be quite the word in Tatum’s case. She plays a nine-year-old orphan, Addie Loggins, whom Ryan agrees to drive from Kansas to Missouri, where she will find a new home with relatives. The adorable Addie turns out to be a handful, smoking, swearing and generally behaving in unadorable, unchildlike ways. The pair’s adventures are ingeniously plotted, and the black-and-white photography evokes an authentic period feel.
It wouldn’t do these days to mention the original title of the Agatha Christie story filmed in 1945 as And Then There Were None (Friday, 1.20am, Nine) and remade (twice, in the 1960s and 70s) as Ten Little Indians. This version, by French director Rene Clair, not only changes the title but also Christie’s original ending. Even so it remains a classic whodunit, set on a remote island off the English coast where 10 strangers — all with criminal pasts — have been invited to spend an evening in a sprawling mansion. Their host is a mad judge (Barry Fitzgerald) and it soon dawns on the terrified guests that they are being murdered one by one as part of some maniacal scheme of retribution. I can say no more.
Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa (Saturday, 6.30pm, Seven) isn’t as good as the third film, now in cinemas, but all lovers of animated talking wildlife, especially lions, zebras, giraffes and hippos, will want to see it. Likable as the franchise is, I can’t see it outlasting Bond’s.