week’s best films free to air
The Killing of Angel Street (M) ★★★★✩
Thursday, 12.20am, ABC1
Beach Blanket Bingo (PG) ★★★ ✩ Monday, 1.00pm, 7Two
Project A Part II (M) ★★★ ✩ Tuesday, 10.40pm, SBS One
ALL hail Sam Arkoff, who, with much less flamboyant partner James H. Nicholson, brought the low-budget B-picture into the modern age from 1954 to 2000 with the immortal American International Pictures. Home to director Roger Corman and creative hothouse for future legends Jack Nicholson, Martin Scorsese, Bruce Dern, Francis Ford Coppola and others, the company, under Arkoff’s guidance, created the bikie genre, a cycle of Edgar Allan Poe adaptations and a series of horror films pitched at the American teenager of the 1950s and 60s. Chief among those was the beach party picture, which reached its zenith with 1965’s freewheeling and often quite funny Beach Blanket Bingo (Monday, 1pm, 7Two). Frankie Avalon and Annette Funicello star as freshly scrubbed teens Frankie and Dee Dee, and adult support comes from period character actors Don Rickles, Paul Lynde, Timothy Carey and even Buster Keaton. The whole genre started with 1963’s equally fun but more prototypical Beach Party (Tuesday, 1pm, 7Two).
Prominent among the oeuvre of producerdirector George Stevens ( Gunga Din, Woman of the Year) is the 1941 melodrama Penny Serenade (Monday, 1.45am, ABC1), in which Irene Dunne and Cary Grant, both fine, must overcome a parade of adversities to salvage their once-strong marriage.
Considered among the best showcases for the astonishing physicality of martial arts star Jackie Chan, the 1987 period action adventure comedy Project A Part II (Tuesday, 10.40pm, SBS One) continues the story of the intrepid Dragon Ma (Chan), the police sergeant who must deal with a plethora of problems and bad guys.
Though based on the real-life disappearance of activist Juanita Nielsen, set against the sweeping redevelopment of Sydney in the late 1970s, director Donald Crombie’s The Killing of Angel Street (Thursday, 12.20am, ABC1) fictionalises the character, played by Elizabeth Alexander, due in large part to the charged atmosphere in which the film was made. Jane Fonda’s last film before a retirement that lasted until 2005, and the final work of director Martin Ritt ( Hud, The Front), Stanley & Iris (Sunday, 4.15pm, 7Two) is a moving workingclass drama. Robert De Niro plays an illiterate man taught to read and write by Fonda’s recently widowed baker. Their complex relationship unfolds with deliberateness and nuance, and features subtle, affecting work from both stars.