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1 correction by peter-macinnis - Show corrections



A warbling passion for

silent films

AS A GENERAL rule I am not

in favour of there being much shown on television of the

lives of the lower orders and yet I was happy to waive my principles for long enough to watch In Real Life: In Search of Dr Mabuse (ABC, 8pm, Thursday) a documen- tary account of the unlikely enthusi- asm of Robyn Brice of downmarket Minto for German silent films.

One warmed to Robyn from the first, in spite of her being a disaster as a human being, a single mother whose two children came not from her short, perishable marriage but from two meaningless interfaces with two different men. A cheerful, harassed, McDonald's-frequenting and pawnbroker-frequenting pen- sioner one might have expected her major intellectual interest to be jelly wrestling or perhaps ten-pin bowl- ing. In fact, having staggered into the living room late at night when she was nine and during an asthma attack she found herself watching the silent Hun epic The Cabinet of Dr Caligari and was hooked on the


Her life, now, is divided between caring for her two refractory child- ren and searching for scarce tapes of these epics and for learned books about them. How she rhapsodised and gibbered about her esoteric pas- sion and how she must try the pa- tience of her working class chums who looked and sounded as though they were more likely to be into jelly wrestling.

"Eric thinks I'm as mad as a cut snake" shrilled Robyn, gesturing at the unprepossessing aged hoon who is the current object of her affec- tions.

"Eric doesn't have any interest in the German cinema." Robyn reflect- ed, wistfully, "He likes fishing."

One wishes them well but I have the strong suspicion that Eric, who would like to get a word in edgewise about the nuances of mullet, will only be able to stand so much of Robyn warbling about her passion. Half an hour of her was enough for


THIS week's rib-tickling edi-

tion of the self-important se- ries Embassy (ABC, 8.30pm, Thursdays) showed the staff of our Embassy in Ragaan (the angry Ma- laysians say that Ragaan is modelled on Malaysia and I agree with them) cowering in the Embassy while a civil war of the kind that is always racking funny little third world countries like Malaysia raged out- side.

Continued on Page 2



Continued Irom pags 1

"There's political turmoil out there!" one Embassy official advised, su perfluously (most of the script of Embassy is either banal or superfluous) given the crackle of gun fire outside and the fact that the occasional grenade had blown out the windows of the Embassy.

The funniest moments involved mem bers of the local armed forces coming and going, their faces, in spite of their portray al of South East Asians, looking invinci bly European. A little artificial mahogany daubed on their hitherto pale cheeks, they

looked, with their height and their long noses, less like Malaysians than the Swed ish Davis Cup squad.

THERE is no need to blacken the

face of Avery Brooks, who plays Hawk in A Man Called Hawk (WIN, 9.30pm, Thursdays).

The Americans show an infinite amount of ingenuity in trying to find frameworks for what are really only ex cuses to have tough guys fire guns at one another as they prosecute the tussle be tween Good and Evil.

A Man Called Hawk has the nattily dressed Brooks, a man with a dark, CIAesque background, quoting poetry and doing a lot baring of his teeth when' he gets a whiff of Evil, but this does little to camouflage a weary old scenario.