The Weekend Australian - Review - - Television -

STEVEN Spiel­berg is not only Hol­ly­wood’s most suc­cess­ful liv­ing film­maker, he is also the most prolific, with 36 films to his name since 1971 (as pro­ducer or di­rec­tor). Their to­tal box-of­fice earn­ings have been reck­oned at more than $8 bil­lion. The past two years have seen Lin­coln, War Horse and The Ad­ven­tures of Tintin, all of which he di­rected, and Juras­sic Park IVis just around the cor­ner. The Ad­ven­tures of Tintin (Mon­day, 8.10pm, M Fam­ily), based on the comic-book char­ac­ter cre­ated by Bel­gian artist Herge, had grossed nearly $400 mil­lion the last time I checked. Jamie Bell pro­vides the voice for the in­trepid boy re­porter in a swash­buck­ling yarn in­volv­ing pi­rates and sunken trea­sure. And in a Hol­ly­wood sat­u­rated with vi­o­lent ac­tion films laced with crude lan­guage, Tintin will be wel­comed by many par­ents as a model for teenage boys. He’s a cour­te­ous, coura­geous, quick-wit­ted, kind-hearted lad, whose favourite ex­ple­tive is great snakes!’’

Vladimir Nabokov’s novel Lolita was filmed by Stan­ley Kubrick in 1961 — Hol­ly­wood’s first take on pae­dophilia, with a beau­ti­fully sub­dued and touch­ing per­for­mance from James Ma­son as Hum­bert Hum­bert, the lit­er­a­ture pro­fes­sor in­fat­u­ated with his un­der-age nymphet, Lo. If pae­dophilia was a sen­si­tive sub­ject 50 years ago, it ranks now al­most as a na­tional ob­ses­sion, which makes Adrian Lyne’s 1997 Lolita (Tues­day, 2.55pm, World Movies) a top­i­cal piece of pro­gram­ming to say the least. But sen­si­tive au­di­ences should have lit­tle to com­plain about. Lyne is more in­ter­ested in Hum­bert’s mo­ral wretched­ness and con­fu­sion than he is in the tit­il­lat­ing pos­si­bil­i­ties of the story; body dou­bles were used for cer­tain shots, and what might be called the erotic scenes are dis­creet to the point of ba­nal­ity. But Jeremy Irons gives one of the great per­for­mances of his ca­reer as Hum­bert, and there is fine sup­port from Do­minique Swain as Lo and Me­lanie Grif­fith as her sex-hun­gry mother. It’s a sad and mov­ing film, and one can’t help won­der­ing what Ro­man Polan­ski would have made of it.

I’ve al­ways rated Joseph L. Mankiewicz’s bit­ter, bitchy, bit­ingly witty script for All About Eve (Satur­day, 7.30pm, Fox Clas­sics) the best screen­play writ­ten for a Hol­ly­wood film. It’s the con­sum­mate ex­pose of back­stage Broad­way — the egos, ri­val­ries and tem­per­a­men­tal con­spir­a­cies of the the­atre world (at least as we like to imag­ine them). Bette Davis gives her leg­endary per­for­mance as Margo Chan­ning, the fad­ing Broad­way star who sees her ca­reer and mar­riage threat­ened by am­bi­tious young new­comer Eve Har­ring­ton (Anne Bax­ter). Ge­orge San­ders is the poi­sonous the­atre critic and there are fine small roles for Thelma Ritter and Ce­leste Holm, with Mar­i­lyn Mon­roe mak­ing her first screen ap­pear­ance as a dreamy star­let. All About Eve won six Os­cars.

Critic’s choice

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

(M) ★★★ ✩ Tues­day, 2.55pm, World Movies

(PG) ★★★✩✩ Mon­day, 8.10pm, M Fam­ily

All About Eve

Anne Bax­ter, left, and Bette Davis in the bitchy and bit­ingly witty

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