week’s best films free to air

The Weekend Australian - Review - - Television Free To Air - Ed­die Cock­rell

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.

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