Heart-warming lyrical fantasy. A minor, humble postman has a round which includes the country mansion of a Great Statesman. Gradually their friendship blossoms and Alan, the postman, teaches the Great Statesman to read, write and speak proper. But eventually Alan forms the view that he could do the Great Statesman’s job far better than he does himself, and he rather fancies ditching the Royal Mail pushbike for a Jaguar or two. A dilemma arises – how does he break the news? So Alan does it in the most tender, thoughtful way he knows, when no one is watching: national TV on a Sunday morning.
Starring: someone who’s dead now
CH verdict: A rose-tinted drama that will play to your emotions rather than your intellect. Definitely a film requiring two boxes of Kleenex – the extra-absorbent type, good for mopping up blood
THE POSEIDON ADVENTURE
Umpteenth remake of the classic disaster movie. We’ve been here before; you know the form. A great liner has suddenly capsized and the survivors are trying to find their way out, have to undergo many dangers, not all of them are going to make it, but somehow they emerge better people and are able to confront their personal demons and overcome their petty antagonisms and class differences. Right? Wrong. In a novel twist, in this version the survivors sit around arguing with each other and then drown. The vicar’s convinced only he knows the way out; the Bursar wants to take over the wheel; the ship’s steward is refusing to budge from any of his three large cabins; and Matron is claiming that the liner hasn’t capsized at all and is "having its best cruise ever".
Starring: Gene Hackman as the doomed vicar; and 22 washed-up has-beens all going down with the ship.
CH verdict: this succession of disaster movies is becoming a trifle boring, but if you want to watch two dozen people all at sea then this is the film for you – you might as well: you’re paying for it anyway
ON HER MAJESTY’S NATIONAL HEALTH SERVICE
Bond’s back again – in another titanic struggle against Spectre. This time Blofeld has come up with an insidious plot to spread deadly disease throughout Britain:
by running massive financial deficits in the hospitals and firing all
the doctors and nurses. What a despicably evil plan – sometimes you
wonder how that Blofeld sleeps at night, don’t you? The NHS is left
defenceless because it has to shell out zillions of pounds on
liposuction, a new IT infrastructure and Aston Martins with ejector
seats for the chairmen of the various health authorities. Only Bond
can save us once more. All the usual excitement culminating in a
gripping helicopter attack on Bart’s Hospital.
George Lazenby, holding down the role of James Bond for as long, and
with as much success, as the average Labour Health Secretary; cameo
appearance by Patricia Hewitt as Rosa Klebb
CH verdict: another change of face for Bond: how long before John Reid gets the job? he’s had all the others
the reveille! Some unspeakable blighter’s been mucking about with the
Tory Party bringing in damned unacceptable innovations like popularity
‘n’ electability – can’t have that; there’ll be a deuced bad miff in
the mess. Situation calls for two things: (1) another gin ‘n’ tonic;
(2) Her Majesty’s Own Right Wing Journalists will have to stamp it
out. I sprang to the stirrup, and Joris, and he; I galloped, Dirck
galloped, we galloped all three; "Good speed!" cried the watch, as the
— oh, dash it, wrong poem. Anyway, definitely something about
horses, going half a league down a Valley of What-d’yer-ma-call-it, and
then, at the end, it’ll come to me in a minute, yes, that was it – the
Russian cannon. Oh.
Erroll Flynn as dashing, romantic, devil-may-care Simon Heffer; David
Niven as the urbane, understated, level-headed Peter Hitchens; 600 dead
horses as the Tory Party.
CH verdict: one feels that military strategy has evolv
ed somewhat since the Battle of Balaclava
THE MANCUNIAN CANDIDATE
thriller based on a novel. A young man emerges from nowhere and is
promoted onto the Gold medal List of the nation’s best and brightest
heroes. Whenever anyone is asked about him, his friends answer
robotically that he is the finest, warmest human being they have ever
met and they are proud to know him. Soon he is being put forward as a
candidate for political office. But why do people have difficulty
remembering what, exactly, he did? Why are they beginning to suspect a
staggering conspiracy based on mind control and brain-washing?
Frank Sinatra, doing it his way; Angela Lansbury giving a rather
extreme interpretation of Women2Win; Laurence Harvey as the innocent
victim of powerful forces, wondering why on earth he bothers
CH verdict: There’s nothing to worry about. If you’re nervous, why don’t you pass the time by playing a little solitaire?