Monday 01 February 1999
Midnight Movie (15)
BBC Films. Available to buy now pounds 10.99 each.
QUITE WHY the BBC thinks these two dramas or indeed most of the other programmes its releasing in this series qualify as film is a mystery. Some of them are very impressive: I'm thinking of the rather sweet This Could Be The Last Time, starring Joan Plowright, which was broadcast last September and, in particular, the adaptation of Iain Banks's The Crow Road. But a four-and-a-half television series is never going to be thought of as a film.
Down Where The Buffalo Go is case in point: it's nothing more than an overlong Play For Today. An what an oddity it is too. First broadcast in 1988, it stars Harvey Keitel as Carl, a shore patrolman at the Holy Loch Polaris submarine base. By the time we meet him, Carl's marriage to a local woman is already on the rocks. He's better off than his brother- in-law Willie, though: he's estranged from his wife and kids and about to lose his job. The pace is funereal, the tone equally downcast , but more disappointing still, director Ian Knox has no idea how to exploit Harvey Keitel's simmering presence. Neither does playwright Peter McDougall quite know what to do with the promising material. `Local Hero' it is not.
It seems remarkable that this year we'll be commemorating the fifth anniversary of Dennis Potter's death. Famously, the last months of his life were dedicated to his cheeky suggestion that the BBC and Channel co-produce his final two dramas, Karaoke and Cold Lazarus. As a result, less ambitious Potter fare, such as Midnight Movie, was easily overlooked. First transmitted in 1994, it seems at first glance to be Potter-by-numbers. Jim Carter, a country solicitor, has acquired a country residence for film producer Brian Dennehy and his trophy wife, Louise Germaine. As Carter finds himself drawn to Germaine (sound familiar?), it turns out that the house provided the backdrop for the most famous film of Germaine's mother, a Sixties starlet who died in mysterious circumstances.
Potter seems to be in third gear here. Nevertheless, there's still enough gusto in the direction (Potter's own) and ham in the performances to speed this drama along.
Is the comedy album making a comeback?comedy
Artists unveils new exhibition inspired by Hastings beachart
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Is Gideon Levy the most hated man in Israel or just the most heroic?
- 2 Students offered grants if they tweet pro-Israeli propaganda
- 3 Satellite full of sexually experimental geckos adrift in space, Russia loses control of mission
- 5 Israel has discovered that it's no longer so easy to get away with murder in the age of social media
Fifty Shades of Grey trailer: First look at Jamie Dornan as Christian Grey
Orange Is The New Black season 3: Pornstache isn't coming back
Best movies on Netflix UK and US: 32 films that will end your endless scrolling
Fifty Shades of Grey trailer provokes moral outrage from US parenting groups
Coolio has sold his soul to Pornhub
The 'scroungers’ fight back: The welfare claimants battling to alter stereotypes
A day in the life of Vladimir Putin: The dictator in his labyrinth
Arizona execution lasts two hours as killer Joseph Wood left 'snorting and gasping' for air
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Ukrainian military jet was flying close to passenger plane before it was shot down, says Russian officer
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Massive rise in sale of British arms to Russia
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: victims’ bodies bundled in black bags and loaded onto trains