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

free to air

Star Wars: Episode IV — A New Hope (PG) Satur­day, 7pm, Seven The God­fa­ther: Part II (MA15+) Sun­day, 12.40am, ABC The Texas Chain Saw Mas­sacre (MA15+) Wed­nes­day, 10.05, SBS Two The week lead­ing up to Hal­loween of­fers the alert viewer chances to see many of the best, and some of the worst, hor­ror films of the past gen­er­a­tion. By far and away the most as­tute choice is di­rec­tor Tobe Hooper’s ground­break­ing and still quite ef­fec­tive 1974 shocker The Texas

Chain Saw Mas­sacre (Wed­nes­day, 10.05pm, SBS Two).

Crewed by univer­sity stu­dents from Austin, Texas, and acted with creepy verve by lo­cals, this in­de­pen­dent pro­duc­tion set the tem­plate for gen­er­a­tions of genre films to come. The movie does what it says on the tin, fol­low­ing a group of trav­el­ling 20-some­things as they run afoul of a bizarre fam­ily with a taste for bar­be­cue. Hooper’s de­lib­er­ate pac­ing and some deft edit­ing en­sure view­ers imag­ine more than they ac­tu­ally see, which is the hall­mark of good hor­ror.

The week also brings an op­por­tu­nity to ex­pe­ri­ence some of — but not all — the God­fa­ther films. A sur­prise hit when first re­leased in 1972,

The God­fa­ther made in­stant stars of Al Pa­cino, Robert Du­vall and James Caan. But the un­de­ni­able mas­ter­piece of the three is

The God­fa­ther: Part II (Sun­day, 12.40pm, ABC), in which Pa­cino’s Michael Cor­leone con­sol­i­dates his power in the wake of his fa­ther’s death. And spare some love for the much-ma­ligned but ad­mirably am­bi­tious The God­fa­ther: Part III (Mon­day, 12.20am, ABC), which finds Michael try­ing to go le­git. With global an­tic­i­pa­tion for Star Wars: Episode

VII — The Force Awak­ens now at a fever pitch (a new trailer is on­line, the film it­self ar­rives here on De­cem­ber 17), this is a good time to re­visit the first film in the iconic fran­chise, the 1977 sci-fi hit Star Wars: Episode IV — A New Hope (Satur­day, 7pm, Seven). Ge­orge Lu­cas had only made a hand­ful of shorts and two rel­a­tively mod­est fea­tures prior to cre­at­ing this au­da­cious, in­ge­nious and fully formed ga­lac­tic ecosys­tem in­hab­ited by Luke Sky­walker, Princess Leia, Han Solo (Harrison Ford had for­merly been Lu­cas’s car­pen­ter) and the rest of the gang. Seen to­day, the prac­ti­cal sets and spe­cial ef­fects are charm­ingly tac­tile, de­spite Lu­cas hav­ing mas­saged them years later. A much-loved must-see.

Meryl Streep’s two col­lab­o­ra­tions to date with di­rec­tor Phyl­l­ida Lloyd re­ceive back-to-back air­ings, al­low­ing the mo­ti­vated viewer to com­pare and con­trast their styles and ap­proaches to ma­te­rial.

First comes the crim­i­nally un­der­val­ued 2008 ABBA mu­si­cal adap­ta­tion Mamma Mia! (Satur­day, 7pm, 7Two), fol­lowed by the more som­bre yet no less am­bi­tious 2011 Mar­garet Thatcher biopic The Iron Lady (Satur­day, 9.20pm, 7Two). Streep is fine, in her chameleon­like way, in both of them.

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