THE PURSUIT OF LOVE (BBC iPlayer). Emily Mortimer writes and directs this mini-series adaptation of Nancy Mitford’s novel which follows the lives of an upper-class British family in the inter-war years. Lily James is the highly strung, highly unsympathetic Linda, who falls in love with a wealthy banker, an ardent communist and a sexy French Duke (Assaud Bouab). There is a scene-stealing performance from Dominic West as Linda’s eccentric father who hates everybody, especially foreigners. Emily Beecham plays Linda’s decent cousin. Their relationship (unstated lesbian) takes centre stage. The production, three one-hour episodes, grows on you.
PAPADOPOULOS & SONS (BBC iPlayer). Financial market collapses. Middle-aged Greek entrepreneur (Stephen Dillane) faces liquidation and bankruptcy. His elder estranged brother (a lovely, immensely likeable, gregarious performance by Georges Corraface) persuades him to re-open the fish and chip shop they ran in their twenties. Marcos Markos directs this, charming, kind, gentle sentimental film about business, success and friendship. Dillane’s acting is beautifully understated.
THE BATTLE OF THE RIVER PLATE (BBC iPlayer). Emeric Pressburger and Michael Powell’s last film together was, commercially, their most successful one. In 1939 German pocket battleship Admiral Graf Spee takes refuge in neutral Uruguay in Montevideo Harbour. The Germans comes out of the story well. Captain Langsdorf scuttles the ship rather than surrender and saves lives on both sides. Lots of well-known actors give totally anonymous performances.
WEST 11 (StudioCanal). A young man, a lapsed catholic (Alfred Lynch), lives in sleazy bed-sitter West London’s Notting Hill. It’s 1962 and he’s bored stiff; his life going absolutely nowhere. A bogus major (Eric Portman) persuades him to commit a murder. Convincing cameos by Kathleen Harrison and Finlay Currie cannot save this unconvincing film. Michael Winner directs.
Robert Tanitch reviews the streaming of Circus Days and Nights from Sweden – Mature Times