Free to air
The Last Tycoon
(M) Sunday, 11.35pm, ABC1
(M) Saturday, 10.30pm, 7Mate (NSW, Vic and QLD only)
Black Hawk Down
Seven Brides for Seven Brothers
Saturday, 2.05pm, Gem
The Last Tycoon
(G) IRVING Thalberg was the legendary Hollywood producer credited with discovering the Marx Brothers. He became the boss of MGM at 25 and made it the most influential Hollywood studio of the 1930s. A workaholic, he considered screenwriters a necessary evil, and summed up his creative philosophy with the words, “Movies aren’t made, they’re remade.” He died, supposedly of exhaustion, at 37, and was the inspiration for (Sunday, 11.35pm, ABC1), Elia Kazan’s 1974 film of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s last (unfinished) novel. With a magnificent performance from Robert De Niro as artist-businessman Monroe Stahr, it ranks among the best Fitzgerald adaptations, along with the Robert Redford version of The Great Gatsby, produced in the same year. Harold Pinter wrote the screenplay for a cast including Jack Nicholson, Robert Mitchum and Tony Curtis.
The closest equivalent of Thalberg in our time is Jerry Bruckheimer, responsible for a string of hits, including action blockbusters such as Speed, Con Air and Pearl Harbor. He’s on record as saying, “I make movies I want to see.”
(Saturday, 10.30pm, 7Mate), produced by Bruckheimer and directed by Ridley Scott, is an account of an ill-planned US raid by an elite team of Delta Force operatives in Mogadishu, Somalia, in October 1993. The aim was to capture a building occupied by henchmen of a ruthless Somali war lord, and the result was the longest sustained firefight involving US troops since the end of the Vietnam War. More than 100 US soldiers were trapped in the streets of Mogadishu while two Black Hawk helicopters were downed by rocket-propelled grenades. Eric Bana and Ewan McGregor are in the thick of
things, and Scott gives everything a heroic flavour. It remains one of the best action thrillers in recent times.
(Saturday, 9pm, Nine) helped establish Sandra Bullock as a comic actress after a career built largely on thrillers such as Speed. She plays Gracie Hart, a graceless FBI agent who is transformed from an ugly duckling into a swan to go undercover and compete in the Miss United States beauty contest, which is threatened by a terrorist. Bullock’s line, “My goal is to create small films that we are all crazy about,” was uttered in another context, but audiences were crazy enough about Miss Congeniality to demand a sequel. For a truly great comedy see
(Saturday, 2.05pm, Gem), which is also a great musical, with dance routines designed by Hollywood choreographer Michael Kidd. Howard Keel and Jane Powell are the lovers, whose decision to marry inspires a bunch of hillbilly mountain-men to kidnap a troupe of local beauties for matrimonial purposes. Corny and great fun.
for Seven Brothers