This tape opens with an extended trailer for several programmes on at the weekend: Scenes from Doctor Faustus, Ancient Woodland, Victorian Ways of Death, and Breaths of Life. “For more highlights, see the Radio Times or Ceefax page 614” – Ceefax really was the glam internet, wasn’t it?
Then, we join Barry Norman swanning around the French Riviera for the Cannes Film Festival. Madonna was the big news, publicising In Bed With Madonna.
Baz Bamigboye, of the Daily Mail, was crowing to the loathsome Piers Morgan about his scoop story where he dances with Madonna.
Wow, Morgan is a worm, even next to someone who works for the Daily Mail.
There’s an interview with David Mamet, about his movie Homicide.
Arnold Schwarzenegger is interviewed about Terminator 2. Malcolm McDowell is interviewed about his film The Assassin of the Tzar, billed as an Anglo-Soviet movie, but both McDowell and Norman bemoaned the fact that it wasn’t particularly British.
Alan Parker was also interviewed about the state of British cinema, and the fact that no British films were in competition.
Peter Greenaway was interviewed about Prospero’s Books, not ready for the competition. Also about Alan Parker’s dislike for his films…
He talks to director Isaac Julien about his new film Young Soul Rebels.
Forest Whitaker talks about A Rage in Harlem.
He also talks to his co-star, Robin Givens.
Ridley Scott talks about his forthcoming movie about Christopher Columbus, and the competing Alexander Salkind project.
Sean Penn talks about his directorial debut The Indian Runner. He pretty much announces his retirement from acting, a state of affairs that I don’t think lasted very long.
Spike Lee talks about Jungle Fever.
Next episode is a regular episode wherein Barry reviews:
- The Silence of the Lambs
- Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead
- Guilty By Suspicion
- Sibling Rivalry
In an occasional series of looks at behind the scenes jobs on a film crew, they look at Focus Puller, Boom Operator and Continuity Assistant.
After this episode, recording switches and we get the end of an episode of The Wolvis Family, which I think is supposed to be a comedy. It’s ‘based on an idea by’ five different people, which implies perhaps it is a bit of experimental theatre that escaped onto TV. It has that whiff.
Then, a trailer for Relative Values about the art world, specifically dealers.
This is followed by a Late Show Special about The Silence of the Lambs. It has exclusive interviews with the filmmakers, including Jonathan Demme and Jodie Foster.
Clearly, Foster has the better cinematographer. Screenwriter Ted Tally doesn’t have such a good DoP.
They also talk to novelist James Ellroy.
Michael Mann, director of the earlier Hannibal Lecter movie Manhunter is also interviewed.
There’s a section talking about the way Mann shot Manhunter‘s Lecter scenes, with a clip which comes from a terrible print of the film, where some of the dialogue is lost in a random cut. I guess because it wasn’t a big hit, this was the best print they could find. Production designer Kristi Zea talks about the contrast between Manhunter’s ultra-modern cell for Lecter, compared with the subterranean dungeon she designed, inspired by the paintings of Francis Bacon.
The filmmakers, in particular Jodie Foster, talk a lot about the film’s feminist credentials. It’s a fairly impressive achievement that a film ostensibly about a serial killer who skins women can work as a feminist text, but Foster’s character was, at the time, very unusual, being a capable female lead. And the reason it was rare is concisely articulated by Foster when she says “There are only four good scripts all year, you know which ones they are and you want to get them.”
I wonder if that number has improved in the last 23 years?
Next, recording switches again to the end of a documentary by Kirsty MacColl about more effective methods of sewage treatment and water purification, part of the Byline series. No, I’m not making this up. She even sings a song (co-written by Mike Love) over the end credits.
Next week’s programme is trailed, in which Judge James Pickles presents his case for legalising all drugs. 23 years later and this discussion has barely moved, with the possible exception of Marijuana.
Then, more from Barry Norman and Film 91. He reviews:
- The Hairdresser’s Husband
- Jules et Jim
- Marked for Death – Steven Seagal “goes through the movie wearing, as usual, the vaguely uncomfortable frown of a man whose bowels have been playing up lately”
There’s a location report from Hudson Hawk. Bruce Willis talks about the pace of shooting in Hungary, where things move a little bit more slowly than in Hollywood. He’s still at the stage of his career where he doesn’t make every interview sound like he’d rather be having teeth extracted.
Following this episode there’s a look ahead to Wednesday, then, the start of an episode of Cagney and Lacey. There’s about 30 minutes of detective action before the tape stops.