Film Four & Film Four +1 31-03-08.

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Highly Dangerous
(1950) Comedy spy thriller starring Margaret Lockwood as a straight-laced scientist sent to discover a foreign state's warfare plans.Vintage British comedy thriller starring Margaret Lockwood as an entomologist sent behind the Iron Curtain. Roy Ward Baker directs from a script by Eric Ambler
This is an odd little film from some veteran British talents. Roy Ward Baker (Quatermass And The Pit) had started out at Gainsborough Studios, becoming assistant director to Hitchcock on 1938's The Lady Vanishes but only graduating to the top job after returning from the war. This break came through novelist Eric Ambler, who he'd worked under in army photographic units and who fixed Baker up to direct the adaptation of his own novel The October Man (1947). The pair would reunite for both Highly Dangerous and for 1958's Titanic story A Night To Remember, which won a Best Foreign Film Golden Globe.

A Letter to Three Wives
(1949) A witty and mordant comedy-drama which won Oscars for both direction and screenplay for Joseph L Mankiewicz.Three wives in up-market suburbia along the Hudson River are about to leave their comfortable homes for a day out. A commentary (by the wonderful Holm) in the form of a letter to each states that the sender has run off with the husband of one of them. Cue anguish, an examination of their marriages and the dreadful realization that it could be any of them. Mankiewicz received an Oscar and went on to fame and fortune. Over written as always in his case, but the superb cast relish the lines and it becomes a true ensemble piece of smart entertainment.

(1958) Entertaining, light-weight western. Jack Lemmon plays a wannabe cowboy who quickly discovers that life on the big trail is anything but fun.An Irish-born writer travels to the American West to become a cowboy. Light western drama starring Jack Lemmon and Glenn Ford
He was an interesting man, Frank Harris. Born in Galway to Welsh parents, James Thomas Harris would become the dictionary definition of a renaissance man, enjoying success as a war reporter, newspaper editor, publisher, novelist, playwright, essayist and biographer. Good friends with the great Irishmen of letters - Wilde, Shaw, Bram Stoker - he'd become famous for his globe-trotting and his sexually frank memoirs entitled 'My Life And Loves'. His notable exploits included his unlikely befriending of arch-diabolist Aleister Crowley and his spell spent working as a cow poke on the American plains.

(2002) Washed-up Hollywood director Al Pacino fools the world with a computer-generated starlet.Fitfully entertaining but over-extended satire of the cult of celebrity, in which washed-up Hollywood director Al Pacino fools the world with a computer-generated starlet
Simone 'Synthespianism' sounds like some exotic kink, but the notion of screen performances generated entirely by computer has been kicking round for a while now, taking on increasing relevance in the age of Lara Croft and the Final Fantasy movie. Andrew Niccol, who scripted The Truman Show and wrote and directed Gattaca, clearly saw an opportunity to deliver another parable rich in ideas about media manipulation and social control, and came up with an intriguing premise that riffs on the idea of the synthespian (ie the synthetic, or computer-generated, thespian).

(2004) A hitman arrives in Los Angeles to do five hits in a night, with the unwitting help of a cab driver.A hitman arrives in Los Angeles to do five hits in a night, with the unwitting help of a cab driver. Tom Cruise and Jamie Foxx star in this Michael Mann noir
Collateral Director Michael Mann's career has taken him into the life of Muhammed Ali for Ali and all the way back to the mid-eighteenth century Native America for Last Of The Mohicans, yet he is always drawn back to noir, with two men duelling as if they were two aspects of one soul. To the cop/villain dialectic of De Niro and Pacino in Heat and the cop/serial killer doppelgangers of Will Graham and Hannibal Lektor in Manhunter, we can now add Tom Cruise's hitman Vincent and Jamie Foxx's cab driver Max Durocher in Collateral, the strong versus the weak.

(2001) Ray Lawrence's fascinating film appears, on the surface, to be a murder mystery... An adult drama in the best possible sense of the wordAn adult drama in the best possible sense of the word, Ray Lawrence's exceptional picture uses a detective's missing persons investigation to examine contemporary relationships
According to the Oxford English Dictionary, Lantana is: "a genus of tropical shrub with small, colourful blooms that hides a dense, thorny undergrowth." As symbolism goes, it's easy to think of subtler examples. When it comes to modern-day dramas, however, few come to mind that are quite as poignant and powerful as Ray Lawrence's picture.

Hotel Splendide
(1998) In a romantic and perversely comic fantasy, writer/director Terence Gross creates a surreal world of sex, seafood and bad plumbing.In a romantic and perversely comic fantasy, Gross creates a surreal world of sex, seafood and bad plumbing
Set on a remote island off the coast, Hotel Splendide follows the Blanche family's attempts to maintain a crumbling, dilapidated hotel and health spa following the death of the family matriarch.