Doctor Kabil
Armchair Theatre

Jarrott’s particular close-in technique is magnificently suited to the mysteries of this Algerian story about the doctor and the wounded oilman and the doctor’s daughter in the FLN, it lends a certain intimacy that throws off many a consideration as radii.

A great performance by Peter Illing, design by Assheton Gorton.


Tune on the Old Tax Fiddle
Armchair Theatre

How “the Beau Brummell of the Charing Cross Road” worked it, but the Inland Revenue know all the capers and in the end it’s “pay the two dollars”.

Norman Rossington, Raymond Huntley, John Le Mesurier.


The Noise Stopped
Armchair Theatre

Death of the Huddersfield Fascist. Departure of the collabo wife. Return of the son to U. of Bristol.

A comprehensive play on a dinner party and subsequent effects, by John Hale (Mary, Queen of Scots).

The direction is extremely attentive, the acting exquisite, the production superb, a great deal to do in less than an hour.


Anne of the Thousand Days

The entire tale is told in flashback as King Henry ponders the death decree.

She spurns, loves, defies.

And Henry has a daughter, Elizabeth I.


Mary, Queen of Scots

As beautiful a political poem as you will find since Emerson’s “Ode, Inscribed to William H. Channing”.

The two elements, the “two queens”, England and Scotland, are measured equally. There are various considerations to this parable, Mary and the French King, for example.

The ploy is an English Catholic poof sent to snare the lass.

Mary is so unwise, Elizabeth so cunning.

Much ado about these matters, leading to an inexorable annihilation.

And there is James I, on the horizon.

Canby’s review is a masterpiece of childishness.


Lost Horizon

Capra’s film is the key to the failure of Jarrott’s faithful copy to win any critical estimation at all, the critics never liked the original, finding it whimsy in wartime.

Everything depends, as the song says, on precisely the seriousness of the understanding conveyed. Without that, there can be no discussion at all. Ross Hunter’s perception of this point gave rise to Jarrott’s rigorous analysis in widescreen and color, but to no avail with critics and the public. And yet, it is Capra’s film all the way through, with Finch for Colman, Gielgud for Warner, Boyer for Jaffe, etc. The slight differences can be noted, and of course this is a musical version.

Bacharach-David songs punctuate the action in the Valley of the Blue Moon. The same problem obtains, if the film is not grasped, not even Bacharach’s excellent score can be justified as making any sense whatsoever.

And so, Shangri-La remains a mystery to the critical establishment and the public at large, though Capra and Jarrott have expressed themselves quite clearly on this point, as clearly as a mystery can be explained.


The Last Flight of Noah’s Ark

A highly significant variant of Aldrich’s The Flight of the Phoenix, involving two soldiers of the late Imperial Army, a missionary, a B-29, a pilot chased by his bookie, two children, a menagerie, a cassette-player, and a tropical island.

This basis of the satire (which ultimately is Hitchcock’s Lifeboat) does not seem to have been noticed by reviewers.



“Condorman, Vulture of the Western World”.

This is an aside to Sydney Pollack’s film. The other main reference points are Tashlin’s Artists and Models and Quine’s How to Murder Your Wife (also Avildsen’s The Formula for the “we are the Arabs” motif).

The second unit sequences are very good derivations from the Bond films.


Poor Little Rich Girl
The Barbara Hutton Story

The adventures of the five-and-dime heiress in her search for true love. A postage-stamp queen on her travels through the princes of the earth, some of them, and Cary Grant.

Her father, a partner in the brokerage firm, says “ninety-nine percent of all the people on this planet were born out of a whiskey bottle on Saturday night.” Call it a cinematic blossoming of their hopes and dreams, after a fashion.

F.W. had a penchant for Wagner and lived in a castle, setting the stage.


Night of the Fox

Rommel has a double from a camp cabaret to throw off the Gestapo.

The Allies have a man on Jersey who knows the D-Day plans.

An agent goes in, meets the double, and gets his man out.

The bare bones are nothing but victory, the double is a Jew in secret, the agent has a British nurse from Jersey disguised as a French tart, and you have a masterpiece filmed on location very ably.