I had not seen George Stevens's mammoth biblical since its release in 1965 - one can see the reasons for criticism, but it looks marvellous, shot in Utah and Arizona (I think there is even the Grand Canyon) which conjure up biblical vistas. Max Von Sydow is perfect in this retelling of biblical tales and there is an amazing cast, some of them risible (Wayne, Winters, Pat Boone) but others like Jose Ferrer and Claude Rains in his final role as Herod (above, his eyes glittering in the dark was an abiding memory from 1965) and Dorothy McGuire, Gary Raymond, Michael Anderson Jr, Sal Mineo, Van Heflin, Charlton Heston, and Donald Pleasance as a very devious satan.
|Old timers Holden & Hayward in '72|
DOWNTON trundles on, but difficult to discuss as may not have aired elsewhere. The latest Christmas Special takes place during the family's summer holiday to a Scottish castle presided over by Peter Egan and Phoebe Nicholls (good to see her again, playing nasty once more), while the staff stay behind at Downton to clean the silver and visit the local fair. Mrs Patmore has a lucky escape from the village store-keeper who wanted her for her cooking skills, while poor Thomas the unlucky in love gay footman rescues the object of his desire from a beating by the village roughs and gets beaten up himself, but at the least the footman he saved deigns to become friends with him .... Just one comment to add: Dan Stevens definitely won't be returning in Series 4 - one only has to see him driving his car after the birth of his son to realise what is going to happen next ....
If you’re a film buff, none of the clips will be a surprise, and I could have done with detail on the luminous cinematography, but this glorious doc will have you reaching for DVDs. Music from Vertigo and narration by Downton’s Elizabeth McGovern will also keep you hypnotised.