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Crime 10 Michael Caine Get Carter Crime 10 Michael Caine Get Carter


Movie Tens: Classic Crime



An identity parade of the biggest crime movies to hit the big screen since Cagney made it to the top of the world…

Crime 10 White Heat James Cagney

White Heat (1949)
“Made it, ma. Top of the world!” James Cagney spent his entire career playing gangsters, but few were quite as unhinged as Cody Jarrett, the psychotic, mother-fixated hoodlum whose dramatic rise and explosive fall is memorably charted in this seminal thriller from prolific all-rounder Raoul Walsh.

Crime 10 The Killing

The Killing (1956)
“Johnny, you’ve got to run!” “Ah, what’s the difference.” Sterling Hayden leads a gang of ruthless criminals whose plan to rob a racetrack goes spectacularly pear-shaped in Stanley Kubrick’s grim and gritty noir. Pulp fiction legend Jim Thompson brings an extra whiff of authenticity to the hard-boiled dialogue.

Bonnie and Clyde

Bonnie And Clyde (1967)
“They’re young! They’re in love! And they kill people!” Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway make a couple to die for in Arthur Penn’s landmark biopic of real-life Thirties anti-heroes Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow. Hugely influential for both its stylish retro fashion and its graphic, blood-splattered violence.

Crime 10 Michael Caine Get Carter

Get Carter (1971)
“You’re a big man but you’re in bad shape. With me it’s a full-time job. Now behave yourself!” Michael Caine is superb as the London hood who travels up north to find his brother’s killer in this tough, uncompromising Britflick. The dour Newcastle locations are a perfect complement to Carter’s relentless vendetta.

Crime 10 The Getaway

The Getaway (1972)
Steve McQueen and Ali McGraw make a run for the border with cops, crooks and former associates hard on their trail in Sam Peckinpah’s pulse-pounding thriller. The iconic scene where an impassive McQueen blows a police car to pieces with a shotgun is one of the director’s most memorable set-pieces.


The Godfather (1972)
“I’ll make him an offer he can’t refuse.” Marlon Brando and Al Pacino keep crime in the family in Francis Ford Coppolla’s unforgettable portrait of one mafia clan’s battle for power in post-war America. As good as it gets really – though some feel The Godfather Part II is even better.

Long Good Friday

The Long Good Friday (1980)
“Who’s having a pop at me?” Bob Hoskins scorches the screen in Britain’s other great crime thriller, playing an East End kingpin whose ambitious plans for London’s Docklands are ripped to shreds over the course of one fateful Easter weekend. Look out for a young Pierce Brosnan as an IRA killer.


GoodFellas (1990)
“As far back as I can remember, I always wanted to be a gangster.” Ray Liotta is the wannabe wiseguy who steers us through Martin Scorsese’s masterful portrait of the seedy underbelly of organised crime. However, it’s Joe Pesci’s Oscar-winning turn as a trigger-happy nutjob you’ll remember.

Crime 10 Reservoir Dogs

Reservoir Dogs (1992)
“Are you gonna bark all day, little doggy, or are you gonna bite?” Quentin Tarantino made a seismic impact with his debut film, an ingenious, stylish and almost unbearably tense look at a bungled heist and its brutal aftermath. Harvey Keitel and Michael Madsen would go on to become QT regulars.

Crime 10 The Usual Suspects

The Usual Suspects (1995)
So who exactly is Keyser Soze? You may be none the wiser after watching Bryan Singer’s fiendishly complex tale of six rogues who find themselves in the thrall of a terrifying criminal mastermind. Kevin Spacey won an Oscar for his performance, as did Christopher McQuarrie for his brilliantly devious script.



Kick-Ass TV Heroines: Xena – Warrior Princess




Xena Warrior Princess

What was not to love about Xena? As Lucy Lawless says: “Xena is a bad-ass, kick-ass, pre-Mycenaean girl.” Evildoers, clearly, must stand down, but not only bad guys (and girls) have Xena-phobia. Even heroes quake when she swings her broadsword.

Originally created as a syndicated complement to Kevin Sorbo’s Hercules: The Legendary Journeys, Xena pretty much kicked Herc to the curb. It was like when the Bionic Woman made us lose interest in the Six Million Dollar Man–only more so.

Unlike Lindsay Wagner’s early half-woman, half-machine, Xena wasn’t prone to frailty. Nor did she need robot parts. In fact, the Warrior Princess never lost. If she’s down, it’s not for long.

Plus, she was in touch with the dark side: This big-boned bruiser had definite moments of blood lust, as well as lust of some other varieties. Garbed in a leather miniskirt and armed with her trademark razor-edged, boomerang-action chakram, we watched Xena single-leggedly kick down entire platoons of Roman soldiers.

Sure, there were murmurings about Xena and her softer female sidekick, Gabrielle (actress Renée O’Connor). So what if they liked to conserve bathwater by doubling up? And what’s wrong with close friends frenching once in a while?

Then again, maybe it was true–and there’s anything wrong with that.

Actress: Lucy Lawless
Show: Xena: Warrior Princess
Character: Xena

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Classic TV Revisited: McMillan And Wife




McMillan And Wife

Starring Rock Hudson and Susan Saint James, McMillan and Wife was a super cute crime-solving saga from the 1970s made for the NBC’s Mystery Movie series.

Who were they?
Hubby was the debonair San Francisco police commissioner Stewart McMillan.

And wifey?
Sally was a foxy, rather scatterbrained dame with a knack for finding corpses.

Worked down the morgue did she?
Hardly. Sally’s finds were usually in some glitzy mansion which the couple were frequenting for a weekend cocktail party. She also had a habit of getting her life threatened or being kidnapped.

Who was in it?
Tragic Hollywood star Rock Hudson no less. He took on Stewart McMillan in his first TV role, after years as a matinee idol with movies such as Giant.

Fans of the lantern-jawed star were dismayed when he went public about having Aids. He had long kept his homosexuality secret. He carried on working in ’80s glam drama Dynasty, but make-up could not disguise the deterioration of this once-statuesque man. He died in 1985, aged 59.

What about Sally?
That role fell to raven-locked Susan Saint James. The Ali MacGraw lookalike was previously in shows such as Alias Smith And Jones and The Name of the Game.

Other characters
A vital ingredient to McMillan And Wife was sharp-tongued housekeeper Mildred, played by Nancy Walker. Somebody needed to keep the place tidy while they gallivanted about solving crime.

Famous guest stars?
Kim Basinger

The couple’s conception?
Like Hart To Hart, the idea was borrowed from Dashiell Hammett’s Thin Man books of the ’30s.

Gritty crime drama?
Hardly. These were cosy whodunnit cases, where the brutality of murder was never portrayed. The show was more about the interplay between McMillan and Sally.

Had viewers arrested?
Certainly in the US. It was the fifth highest-rated show in 1972 and 1973.

Fate of the golden couple?
Susan Saint James quit in 1976 over a contractual dispute. Nancy Walker also packed away her duster as housekeeper Mildred.

The dame’s exit was a fatal blow?
Certainly for the character of Sally – she was killed off in a plane crash. But Rock soldiered on with new assistant Sgt Steve DiMaggio (Richard Gilliland). The show became McMillan.

A winner?
Audiences dwindled and the plug was pulled.

Distinguishing features?
Cosy pillow talk, cocktail parties, Rock Hudson, pyjamas and numerous corpses.

Do say
Let’s go to bed. Turn the light out, darling.

Don’t say
Must you eat toast in bed, darling. Apologies, but I’ve got terrible flatulence. Separate bedrooms.

Not to be confused with
My Wife Next Door, Harold Macmillan, The Merry Wives Of Windsor and Mr And Mrs.

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Classic TV Revisited: The Royal




The Royal

The Royal was an ITV drama commission and was inspired by its sister programme Heartbeat.

The lowdown: This nostalgic family drama is set in the swinging 1960s and centres on the staff of a cottage hospital in Yorkshire. Newly qualified doctor David Cheriton (Julian Ovenden) is determined to make a difference to the world and arrives at St Aidan’s Royal Free Hospital in Elinsby full of big ideas. But he clashes with the hospital’s secretary TJ Middleditch (Ian Carmichael) who is determined to run things his way. Then there is the Matron (Wendy Craig) who rules her nurses with a rod of iron and tries in vain to stop them being distracted by the handsome arrival.

Memorable moments: Watch out for former Heartbeat favourite Bill Maynard who crosses dramas and continents as Claude Jeremiah Greengrass. Greengrass has returned from a Caribbean holiday with a mystery illness but that doesn’t stop him trying to earn a fast buck. It doesn’t take long before Claude attracts Matron’s ire.

Trivia: The Royal is a family affair for real life husband and wife Robert Daws (Ormerod) and Amy Robbins (Weatherill). No fewer than seven members of their clan have appeared in the series including their daughters and stepson.

Michelle Hardwick, who played receptionist Lizzie, says her favourite moment in the whole series didn’t come on screen but in the actors’ green room. She says: “I was sitting in there with Wendy Craig and Honor Blackman and we were having a lovely conversation. I sat back and thought ‘Wow, this is great, I can’t wait to tell my gran’.”

A modern day set version called The Royal Today aired 7 January – 14 March 2008.

First broadcast: 2003

Starred: Wendy Craig, Ian Carmichael, Michael Starke, Robert Daws and Julian Ovenden

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