Moviedrome revisited

I can’t quite recall why, but the other day someone mentioned something which put me in mind of Moviedrome, the BBC2 banner under which first Alex Cox, and then Mark Cousins, selected and introduced films.

I always preferred Cox’s era (1988-1994) to Cousins’ (1997-2000). For a start it coincided with me being of an age where I was hungry for brain food, and Cox – Elvis sneer, palsied chops, assertive voice and all – was ready to deliver. Cousins, with his nervous, Celtic purr, just seemed too artsy, too formal.

But they both introduced me to some great films. True, some pretty meh ones too, occasionally, but damn, looking down the list compiled by Kurtodrome, an impressive strike rate.

Looking through the list I decided to finally tally up how many movies Moviedrome had actually initiated me into. Of course, the passage of time buggers up one’s memory somewhat, so I can’t always definitively say if I first saw a film on Moviedrome or not; but I have had a crack. List is as follows…

COLOUR KEY
RED = HAVEN’T seen it (on Moviedrome or anywhere else)
PINK = HAVE seen it but NOT on Moviedrome
AMBER = HAVE seen it and FAIRLY CERTAIN saw it on Moviedrome
GREEN = HAVE seen it on Moviedrome

1988
The Wicker Man
Electra Glide in Blue
Diva
Razorback
Big Wednesday
Fat City
The Last Picture Show
Barbarella
The Hired Hand
Johnny Guitar
The Parallax View
The Long Hair Of Death
Invasion Of The Body Snatchers
(1956)
The Fly
(1958)
One From The Heart
The Man Who Fell To Earth
The Good, The Bad And The Ugly
One-Eyed Jacks

1989
The Man With The X-Ray Eyes
Jabberwocky
D.O.A.
The Thing From Another World
The Incredible Shrinking Man
California Dolls
THX 1138
Stardust Memories
Night Of The Comet
The Grissom Gang
The Big Carnival
(AKA Ace In The Hole)
Alphaville
Two-Lane Blacktop
Trancers
The Buddy Holly Story
Five Easy Pieces
Sweet Smell Of Success
Sunset Boulevard

1990
Assault On Precinct 13
Brazil
Get Carter
Goin’ South
Dead Of Night
The Terminator
The Honeymoon Killers
Ulzana’s Raid
The Loved One
An American Werewolf In London
Yojimbo

A Wedding
The Phenix City Story
Walk On The Wild Side
Il Grande Silenzio
Quien Sabe?

1991
The Beguiled
Vamp
Knightriders
Something Wild
Carnival of Souls
Badlands
/ The Prowler
Performance
At Close Range
The Duellists
/ Cape Fear (duels)
The Music Lovers
Manhunter
Hells Angels on Wheels
/ Rumble Fish (gangs)
Whatever Happened To Baby Jane?
Solaris
Mishima

1992
Mad Max II / F for Fake
Dead Ringers / Rabid (Cronenberg)
Inserts
The Serpent And The Rainbow
Les Diaboliques
La Strategia Del Ragno
Escape From New York
Alligator
/ Q – The Winged Serpent
Wise Blood
/ The Witchfinder General
Lolita
Play Misty For Me
Walker
Tracks
The Day Of The Locust
/ The Big Knife (Hollywood satires)

1993
Darkman
House Of Games
Escape From Alcatraz
/ Un Condamné À Mort S’est Échappé (prison)
The Hill
Cry-Baby
/ Lenny
Invasion Of The Body Snatchers
(1978) / Romance Of A Horsethief
Gothic
/ The Navigator
The Terminator
Get Carter
/ Week-end
Rebel Without A Cause
/ 200 Motels
Django
/ Grim Prairie Tales
Run Of The Arrow
/ Verboten! (Fuller)
The Long Riders
The Big Combo
Face To Face
Requiescant
¿Qué He Hecho Yo Para Merecer Esto?
Carrie

1994 (Alex Cox’s final year)
The Andromeda Strain / Fiend Without A Face
Talk Radio
Carnal Knowledge
Coogan’s Bluff
/ The Narrow Margin
The Harder They Come
Salvador
The People Under The Stairs
Halloween / The Baby
Carny
Girl On A Motorcycle / Psychomania
(motorcycles)
Race with the Devil
/ Detour (keep death on the road)
Rope
/ 84 Charlie Mopic (experimental filming)
To Sleep With Anger
/ Le Mépris
Excalibur
/ Nothing Lasts Forever
Naked Tango
/ Apartment Zero (Buenos Aires)
Major Dundee
/ Bring Me The Head Of Alfredo Garcia (Sam Peckinpah)
Kiss Me Deadly

1997-1998
Scarface
Westworld
/ Demon Seed (futuristic)
The Fly
/ Society
Exotica
Blue Collar
/ American Gigolo (Paul Schrader)
Dazed And Confused
/ La Vie Sexuelle Des Belges (growing up)
The Girl Can’t Help It
/ Take Care Of Your Scarf, Tatjana (music)
The Warriors
/ La Haine (gangs)
Spanking The Monkey
Logan’s Run
/ Fahrenheit 451 (future)
The Fog
/ Darkness in Tallinn
Storyville
/ Ruthless
Vanishing Point
/ The Devil Thumbs A Ride (road movies)
Targets
Liebestraum
Bad Timing
The Conversation
All That Heaven Allows
/ The Reckless Moment

1998
Trespass
Shaft
/ Force Of Evil
Funny Bones
Cat People
The Killers
(1946)
Caged Heat
Thunderbolt And Lightfoot
Carrie
Léon
/ Le Samourai
El Patrullero

1999
Clockers
Ed Wood
/ The Body Snatcher (B-film)
Prêt-À-Porter
Videodrome
/ Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye
Carlito’s Way
The Osterman Weekend
Mommie Dearest
Johnny Guitar

Branded To Kill
The List Of Adrian Messenger
One-Eyed Jacks

2000
Blood And Wine / Plein Soleil (nouvelle vague directors)
Rumble In The Bronx
/ Clubbed To Death (“guilty pleasures”)
The Killers
(1964) / On Dangerous Ground
The Underneath
/ The Hitch-Hiker (film noir)
Walkabout
/ Don’t Look Now (Nicolas Roeg)
White of the Eye
The Last American Hero

Totting up, I make that:

  • A total of 203 different films aired;
  • Of which I have seen 109 films;
  • 99 of those films I am either definite (56) or fairly certain (43) that I caught them on Moviedrome;
  • 10 films shown I missed on Moviedrome but have since caught elsewhere;
  • 94 films broadcast on Moviedrome I have not seen at all…

Hmmm, 94 films – reckon I have a new project for 2012…

So, how many films did Moviedrome introduce you to? Any memories of Moviedrome presentations? Who did you prefer, Cox or Cousins?

ETA1:

On his website Alex Cox supplies PDFs of the two Moviedrome guides, which collect together notes on the films covered in the 1988-1993 series:

ETA2:

After realising some films (Get Carter, One-Eyed Jacks, Johnny Guitar, The Terminator, Carrie) were repeated, I have revised the above numbers to make them more accurate – my bad.

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4 responses to “Moviedrome revisited

  1. Anarchostalinist

    Movidrome was also a crucial part of my formative years.

  2. fingertrouble

    Oh yes I watched quite a few movies via Moviedrome – I think it introduced me to Barbarella, Man Who Fell To Earth, Invasion Of The Body Snatchers and most importantly for me Terminator – I hadn’t seen it until I saw it on Moviedrome. Also think I saw Mystery Train and didn’t Alex Cox present his own movie Repoman in the series?

    On another tip – you REALLY need to see Man Who Fell To Earth, Logan’s Run and Day of the Locust – and Pret A Porter’s pretty good, and THX 1138 is legendary although not sure I’ve seen it all…The Last Picture Show I think is good too, again one I can’t remember if I saw or not.

    Leave Solaris til last, trust me on this. I survived 15 minutes, Tarkovsky is dull as fuck, makes Alain Resnais seem exciting.

  3. John Serpico

    I beg to differ. Solaris is one of the greatest films ever made. Thoughtful in the extreme, the Russian equivalent of 2001 A Space Odyssey but 20 times better. One of my favourite films.
    Surprised at some of the films you’ve not seen yet: Last Picture Show, Man Who Fell To Earth, Two-Lane Blacktop, Performance, Thunderbolt And Lightfoot (one of Eastwood’s best). You have some viewing to do.
    Alex Cox seemed to be the most inspired when presenting Moviedrome, pity he never really lived up to his potential with his own films….

  4. Heh – I thought I’d already replied, time to try again!

    anarchostalinist: So we have something else to blame Alex Cox for…

    fingertrouble: I don’t remember Cox introducing Repo Man, but I certainly recall the Walker screening!

    I have a few of the ones on my not-seen list lurking around – Tallinn Pimeduses, Performance, Two-Lane Blacktop, THX1138, Razorback etc… Definitely time I got round to watching them.

    John: Solaris definitely seems to be one of those films that divides opinion straight down the middle. I really liked cheeky Soviet SF like Kin Dza-Dza and Sexmission, so I probably owe it to myself to have a crack at the more serious side of the moon too.

    As for Cox himself, I really liked Walker, sort of the anti-Salvador; Repo Man is good fun; and whatever THE TRUTH, Sid And Nancy was certainly an accomplished love story. I think the only other of his I’ve seen is Death And The Compass, of which I have only hazy memories.

    I think we could do with Moviedrome being resurrected. There are just so many thoroughly mediocre, run-of-the-mill features released these days that a reliable Charon to help navigate the turgid waters would be a boon to any film lover looking for guidance beyond their own comfort zone…

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