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The Movie That Changed My Life 17-07-2007 - 21-08-2009 BBC Radio 2
Please take your seats, switch off your mobile phones, Radio 2 is off to the movies...
"Nothing beats listening to film on the radio"
In an unforgettable collection of programmes, six well-known figures each choose their favourite movie - one that might have even changed their life. Our presenters have each selected a landmark film which they review with the assistance of an impressive line up of expert contributors. Their choice alone reveals something about them, but through the course of each programme, they also reveal more about their preoccupations, aspirations and obsessions at different times in their lives.
From The Radio Times
It's a good title for a series and, indeed, the premise that runs with it is equally smart - famous people select and discuss their favourite films. But if this opening edition is anything to go by, it has little to do with a movie that changed their lives. Mournful singer/songwriter Suzanne Vega chooses the musical comedy Funny Face, starring Audrey Hepburn as a mousey intellectual who works in a bookshop. Apart from a passing reference to the fact that Vega loves books, there's nothing to imply that this film changed her life. But I'm just splitting hairs. It's a glorious opportunity to hear some lovely lines from a fairy-tale romance and I enjoyed it immensely.
-- Jane Anderson
1/6 Suzanne Vega's Funny Face
Suzanne Vega chooses Funny Face: a stylish, romantic musical starring Audrey Hepburn and Fred Astaire. Mousey intellectual Jo Stockton is discovered in a Greenwich Village bookshop by Dick Avery, the photographer for New York fashion magazine, Quality. Crowned the reluctant new face of the magazine, she is flown to Paris where she is to model the latest collection by France's leading designer. Jo, however, has her own motivation for visiting Paris: she wants to find Professor Flostre, the man behind the Empathicalist philosophy she follows. But when Jo finds she has to choose between Flostre and Avery, which way will she go? Directed by Stanley Donen with songs by George and Ira Gershwin and clothes by Givenchy, Funny Face is as charming today as when it was first released in 1957.
2/6 Lenny Henry's A Matter of Life and Death
From The Radio Times
In the second programme of this illuminating series, you might have expected comedian Lenny Henry to choose a movie starring a comedy idol like Richard Pryor or Steve Martin. So it's a pleasant surprise that he opts for the 1946 British classic A Matter of Life and Death. Directed by Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger, the tale of a bomber pilot (David Niven) who cheats death, falls in love with an American radio operator (Kim Hunter) and then faces a celestial trial to decide his fate, is pure celluloid magic. Henry's passion and enthusiasm for the film - the directors' ability to take the audience to another place, the mesmerising use of colour and monochrome photography by the late Jack Cardiff to illustrate life and afterlife, the unforgettable stairway to heaven - are a breath of fresh air.
-- Jeremy Aspinall
In programme two, Lenny Henry chooses A Matter of Life and Death. This 1946 Powell and Pressburger film was intended to soothe post war animosity between Britain and America. It stars David Niven as Peter Carter, a fighter pilot who escapes his burning plane as it crashes in the Channel.
He finds and falls in love with the American wireless operator (Kim Hunter), the last voice before he bailed out. But Carter is troubled by hallucinations...the powers in heaven have slipped up and want him there...he must fight for the right to live.
Listeners will be enthralled by Lenny Henry's passion for this film - a film buff through and through, his reading of the film makes compelling listening. Contributors include Ian Christie, Powell's widow Thelma Schoonmaker, and the director Martin Scorsese.
3/6 Siouxsie Sioux's Hitchcock's Psycho
From The Radio Times
When a "rebellious punk enchantress" meets the Master of Suspense, it's murder as Siouxsie Sioux hails the genius of Alfred Hitchcock and his seminal horror, Psycho. The former Banshee is an engaging and perceptive host as she reflects on the film's plot, technique, unforgettable score and legacy (not bad for a half-hour show). With anecdotes from admirers like RT columnist Barry Norman, it's a loving appreciation of a great film and a great film-maker. Hitchcock's belief that all his films were comedies and composer Bernard Herrmann's influence on the (many) guitarists in Siouxsie's band are just some of the titbits revealed. Never mind Janet Leigh's lingerie, Anthony Perkins's Norman Bates being "a bit of a perv" and that shower scene, just sit back and wallow in the enthusiasm.
-- Jeremy Aspinall
In programme three, Siouxsie Sioux chooses Hitchcock's Psycho. She vividly recalls watching it with abject horror, but ultimately it had a profound influence on her ideas about style and music. She shares with Hitchcock a flair for the subversive, always wanting to shock and disconcert the repressive suburban community in which she grew up.
She regards Hitchcock as a genius whose strong visual sense is second to none: "He used 70 or more frames for that single 45 seconds in the shower and you feel as though you can remember each one - the way the water spirals down the plug - incredible." Bernard Herrmann's score for Psycho was a direct source of inspiration for a number of her songs: "Suburban Relapse was made with aggressive strings, discordant, jarring stabs and Staircase Mystery is a tribute to both Herrmann and Hitchcock".
Contributors to this episode include Alan Parker, Peter Bogdanovich and Paul Morley.
4/6 Martin Kemp's Enter The Dragon
From The Guardian
Well-known folk sharing details of their favourite music, food, books, etc, can occasionally sound a bit forced. Not so Martin Kemp in Radio 2's hugely fun The Movie That Changed My Life. Kemp's only problem was reining in his passion for Enter the Dragon.
An over-the-top intro voiced in gravelly, movie-trailer tones got us revved up for the main feature, in which Kemp described how, aged 12, he managed to get into the Odeon Holloway Road in London to see the 18-rated film. Coming out "was mad . . . every kid was jumping in the air, doing kung fu moves". Along with three friends, he confessed, he went straight home, borrowed a dad's Super8 camera and straightaway shot a three-minute film in which they all tried to look like Bruce Lee. Paul Ross shared similar memories – "it was like a religious experience".
Kemp, now a director himself, spoke of how the film featured no clever editing, special effects, wire work or trick photography, yet "has a realness that film-makers now, with all today's techniques, still have trouble coming close to". Ross went further, saying Enter the Dragon changed cinematic history, and had his own explanation for its huge success. "Lee was teeny weeny . . . all of us weedy, underfed Londoners thought we could be supermen."
-- Camilla Redmond
In programme four, Spandau Ballet's Martin Kemp chooses the landmark martial arts film Enter The Dragon. It was the first kung fu film to have been made by a major Hollywood studio and paved the way for the genre of films which have developed into the supernatural modern legends which include Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.
Enter the Dragon is largely set in Hong Kong in the 1980s, "an impossible place" in the mind of the young Kemp, then a teenager. The film called on the best stuntmen in town, the Seven Little Fortunes including Jackie Chan and Sammo Hung. In this programme, Kemp kicks and flips his way through his life changing film.
5/6 Honor Blackman's All About Eve
Honor Blackman chooses the 1950 classic All About Eve, in which ageing actress Margo Channing (Bette Davis), sees her career threatened by young devotee and aspiring star, Eve Harrington (Anne Baxter).
The film, which includes among its cast a young Marilyn Monroe, won six Academy Awards, and its screenplay by director Joseph Mankiewicz is a sharp and witty take on the ruthless world of celebrity. Honor recalls when she first saw the film as a rising star herself, and the effect it had on her own acting career.
From The Radio Times
In the penultimate programme of this terrific series, actress Honor Blackman brings her unmistakeable voice and lively personality to an appreciation of 1950 Oscar-winner All about Eve. An inspirational movie to the young Blackman, it contains some of the juiciest roles and lines for an actress ever created for a Hollywood film. Probably the most telling insight Blackman makes is that it's a film all about women and how they have to cope with the advance of age and the ambition of youth. Some things never change.
-- Jeremy Aspinall
6/6 Joe Brown's Monte Carlo or Bust
Rock and roller Joe Brown looks at his all time favourite Monte Carlo or Bust, a film that's been making him laugh for 40 years, with its endless one-liners and hilarious slapstick calamity.
Released in 1969, it's a flamboyant last blast of a Hollywood era before the less flamboyant 1970's cinema took hold. It follows the story of the real life Monte Carlo Rally - the race to the Riviera from points across Europe, with cheating, scheming and speeding. It's a big budget family fun, with scenes from Scotland, Sicily, Portugal, Athens, India and France. It's also got a stellar line up including Peter Cook, Dudley Moore, Tony Curtis, Susan Hampshire, Terry Thomas and Eric Sykes. This episode includes an interview with Eric Sykes himself.
Type : mpeg 1 layer III
Bitrate : 160
Mode : joint stereo
Frequency : 44100 Hz
Length : 02:42:02
Encoder : Lame 3.97
Source : iPlayer
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