High Anxiety – The Movie Life of George – tape 652

Mel Brooks’ pastiche of Hitchcock, High Anxiety, might not be his best, but there’s plenty of fun here, starting with the spiral-filled titles and the pulsing Hermannesque score from John Morris. The great effects guru Albert J Whitlock gets two credits here – for special effects, but also as an actor.

BBC Genome: BBC Two – 8th January 1989 – 20:10

Following High Anxiety is a Granada production The Movie Life of George which looks at George Harrison’s Handmade Films. There’s lots of interviews – Graham Chapman is interviewed, presumably not very long before he died.

In the interviews on Time Bandits, Terry Gilliam admits he had disagreements with Handmade’s Denis O’Brien towards the end.

                              GILLIAM
               I just think I would prefer him to stay
               doing what he does extremely well, and 
               let those other people deal with the other 
               things.

CUT TO:
                              O'BRIEN
               I think that would be a very silly thing 
               for us to do.

The Pythons give Gilliam a good-natured ribbing over his tendency to fall out with everyone he works with.

                             ERIC IDLE
                He's just made a $45m film and he's 
                still complaining he didn't have 
                enough money.

This is an excellent documentary – lots of good clips, but best of all, some very good interviews with the principals – Harrison himself is interviewed by Michael Palin. It’s even honest enough to look at some of the failures – the most famous of which was Shanghai Surprise.

Towards the end, when we get to the films in production, there are a few duds (remember Pow Wow Highway? Me Neither.) But on the whole, it’s an impressive catalogue, making for an interesting documentary.

Following this, there’s an unbilled episode of Alfred Hitchcock Presents – the 80s revamp. It features colourised introductions from the original series, and often remade stories from the original too. This episode is Man from the South, and starred John Huston and Melanie Griffith, with Kim Novak in a guest role. It’s based on the classic Roald Dahl short story of a gambler who makes a dangerous bet with the eponymous man.

Writer and director is Steve DeJarnatt, who made the interesting end of the world movie Miracle Mile.

This was originally one segment of the show’s Pilot episode, but here it’s shown as a separate episode.

After some ads, there’s a bit of golf, until the tape stops.

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