ARTS / Cries & whispers

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The Independent Culture
TO Philadelphia, where three things struck me. First, Tom Hanks's performance is so good, it almost justifies his epic Oscar acceptance speech. Second, the music is even better than the soundtrack LP. As well as Bruce Springsteen's moody hit (now at No 2 in the singles chart, his highest place ever) and Neil Young's lyrical lament (which should join it in the Top 40 tonight), there is a funky cover of Talking Heads' 'Heaven', which of course featured in another of Jonathan Demme's films. Most interestingly, there is a memorable scene in which Hanks makes Denzel Washington listen to Maria Callas's 'La Mamma Morta', and tells him why he loves it, which is both a sort of dream sequence and a persuasive piece of music criticism. (The aria, too, is now out as a single. There may well be a case for referring the film to the Monopolies Commission.)

Third, the fat-cat lawyers who fire Hanks, led by Jason Robards, are boringly smug, bigoted and weak. They are a fine example of Hughes's Law of Screen Toffs: they're nearly always unsympathetic. Look at James Fox in The Remains of the Day. In fact, look at James Fox in most things. Film makers get away with daylight snobbery, just because it's the inverted kind. I am now on the lookout for exceptions to the rule. Does anybody know one?

THERE will be a hole in Sunday evening from tonight. Moving Pictures, BBC2's film magazine, has ended a run in which it established itself as the perfect complement to BBC1's Film 94 - a sort of Independent on Sunday to Barry Norman's Daily Mail.

Making TV film shows ought to be a cinch, but isn't. Channel 4's Moviewatch is dismal - instead of critics, it uses punters, who proceed to give critics a good name. ITV has The Little Picture Show - as in little to recommend it beyond the smoky voice of Mariella Frostrup. Superchannel's Film Europe was rather good, but it was dropped last year, presumably for being too keen on European films. Moving Pictures is intelligent, imaginative, illuminating, and not afraid to be arty. Memo to Michael Jackson: please bring it back, for a proper run.