The Masque Of The Red Death – Newsnight – The Bill Moyers Interview – One On Two – tape 964

This tape opens with the end of Where on Earth are we Going? with Jonathan Porritt talking about the dangers of ignoring environmental change. Almost 30 years ago. We knew then, clearly, and yet still we’re not taking it seriously.

There’s a trailer for Saturday Night Clive.

Then, as part of a surprisingly long season of films, The Curse of Corman – 9pm on a Monday on BBC2 – we have one of his Edgar Allan Poe adaptations, The Masque Of The Red Death. It certainly looks impressive.

The director of photography for this movie is Nicolas Roeg.

Vincent Price plays the evil Prince Prospero.

Jane Asher plays a young villager, taken to his castle because he’s a lech. or perhaps he really likes cakes.

Patrick Magee plays Alfredo, one of Propero’s men. He ends up being burnt to death in a monkey suit, which is about what he deserves.

There’s a very creepy scene – a small dancer, clearly played by a very young girl, is actually an adult (but tiny) woman, and there’s a scene with her and Prospero’s resident fool that’s just all kind of wrong.

Prospero locks himself and his couriers in the castle, to protecct against the Red Death that’s sweeping the local villages. He holds a Masquerade Ball to keep people entertained, and bans the colour red. A rule that’s broken by the bringer of the Red Death.

And it all gets a bit Prisoner when Prospero pulls of the Red Death’s mask, and it’s his face underneath.

I’m afraid I don’t get much out of these movies. They just don’t grip me, and since it’s mostly nasty people being nasty, there’s little to care about. I know these movies are well regarded by film historians, but I think they’re definitely of their time.

BBC Genome: BBC Two – 2nd July 1990 – 21:00

There’s a trailer for Under The Sun.

Then, Newsnight, leading with the opening of the 28th Communist Party Conference in Russia, and featuring coverage of Imelda Marcos’s acquittal in the Philippines.

Jeremy Paxman takes a Russian sociologist to one of the shops that local Russians aren’t allowed in to.

This interviewee looks like he’s just contracted the Red Death.

“Production of Lenin badges is down this year” was a serious piece of reporting that made me laugh out loud. These are ‘Baby Lenin’ badges, popular for children.

BBC Genome: BBC Two – 2nd July 1990 – 22:30

There’s a trailer for World Cup Grandstand.

Then The Bill Moyers InterviewSteven Weinberg, an interview with the nobel prize winning physicist, and author of The First Three Minutes.

BBC Genome: BBC Two – 2nd July 1990 – 23:15

There’s another trailer for Saturday Night Clive.

Then, a short programe, One On TwoDirty Weekend, a comedy monologue written by Arthur Smith and performed by Caroline Quentin.

BBC Genome: BBC Two – 2nd July 1990 – 23:45

There’s Weather from Bernard Davey, followed by a look at programmes for Tuesday. The tape ends here.


  1. I really enjoyed BBC2’s Corman/Poe season, it was the first time I’d seen the films and wanted to see what the fuss was about. Of course, now I would shun the broadcasts because they weren’t in the correct aspect ratio (!).

      1. Yes, I well recall an article in Video Watchdog magazine back in the 1990s about pan and scan etc – it was like the scales had fallen from mine eyes.

  2. I think I remember seeing a bit of The Masque with my sister back then in July 1990. Vaguely recall it being on a Monday night and to my 11 year old eyes, it was quite macabre. About 8 or 9 years later, I taped another Vincent Price chiller House Of Wax on Channel 4 partly because it featured a young Charles Bronson as Igor. I was going through a run of his films including Death Wish 2 and 3. One of my favourite action heroes of all time.

    Vincent was also watchable in The Fly.

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