Extracting the BBC Genome:

Film Back in 1995, as part of the century of cinema celebrations (of which more in my old post about The Fifth Element) the BBC broadcast a series of short five or ten minute programmes in which prominent people chose and described their favourite film scenes.

Being a student at the time, I was never around when they were broadcast, which was through July then throughout the Autumn and at odd times during the day but have a vivid memory of the episode in which Gale Ann Hurd describes the resuscitation scene from The Abyss and how it's the emotional climax which made it an exceedingly difficult to find a satisfying conclusion.

Sometimes they were succeeded by a broadcast of the film in question.

For years I've wondered exactly which films had been chosen and by who and the other day I realised that there was now a source in existence which could tell me.

A quick search of the BBC Genome and here they are.

Find below a list of the films and the person who chose them.  For ease of use, I've only included that information but this Genome search has all the relevant TX dates should you be interested.

They're generally in broadcast order, although I've changed the chronology whenever the same film's chosen by two people or the same person's chosen two films.  To be honest it doesn't look like they were produced to be broadcast in any particular order anyway and there were a few repeats during the run (which I've left out too).

Someone's also recently uploaded some episodes to YouTube which I've embedded so you can get some idea of what the series was like.

In case you're wondering, someone else has already listed Moviedrome.  That's on the Genome too.

Close-Up (BBC, 1995).

An American in Paris (ballet scene). John Barry (composer).

The Killing Fields. David Puttnam (director).

Casablanca (final scene). Russ Meyer (director).

Les Diaboliques. Denis Healey (politician).

Madonna of the Seven Moons. Carla Lane (writer).

Sunset Boulevard. J G Ballard (writer).

Beauty and the Beast. Janet Street-Porter (television executive).

The Wizard of Oz. John Waters (director).

Brief Encounter. Mary Whitehouse (!).

Safety Last. Mary Whitehouse (twice?).

Rio Bravo. John Carpenter (director).

Metropolis. Ken Russell (Metropolis).

Faster Pussycast Kill Kill. Jonathan Ross (presenter).

On The Waterfront. Maevy Binchy (novelist).

On The Waterfront. Lynda La Plante (author).

White Heat. Michael Mann (director).

East of Eden. Michael Mann (director).

Battleship Potemkin (Odessa steps). Roger Corman (director).

Weekend (Godard). Mike Figgis (director).

City Lights (Chaplin). Richard Attenborough (director and actor)

The Producers. Teresa Gorman (MP).

Victor Victoria. Teresa Gorman (MP).

King Kong. Alex Cox (director).

King Kong. Ray Harryhausen (sfx animator).

Night of the Hunter. Christine Vachon (producer).

A Hard Day's Night. Hanif Kureishi (director).

Gone with the Wind. Diane Abbott (MP).

Gone with the Wind. Julian Clary (comedian).

The Best Years of Our Lives. Richard Fleischer (director).

Up in the World (Wisdom). Nick Park (director).

Henry V (Olivier) (epic battle scene). Michael Winner (director).

My Darling Clementine. John Milius (director).

Return to Paradise. John Milius (director).

Citizen Kane. John Schlesinger (director).

Stagecoach. P D James (crime novelist).

Spellbound (Hitchcock). Robert Rodriguez (director).

Gun Crazy (bank robbery scene). Stephen Woolley (producer).

The Woman in Red. Nicolas Roeg (director).

The Apartment. Susan Seidelman (director).

The Apartment. Volker Schlondorff (director).

The Searchers. Brian Cox (actor).

Three Colours Blue. Brian Cox (actor).

Once Upon A Time in the West (opening scene). Maggie Greenwald (director).

Gypsy. Terence Davies (director).

The Tales of Hoffman George Romero (director).

Pather Panchali. Mike Hodges (director).

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly. Joe Dante (director).

A Touch of Evil. Joe Dante (director).

The Abyss (resuscitation scene). Gale Ann Hurd (producer).

Daddy-O. James Ellroy (writer).

Zero de Conduite. Abraham Polonsky (screenwriter).

The Wages of Fear. Perry Henzell (director).

A Fistful of Dollars. Christopher Frayling (director).

The Silence (Bergman). Jane Birkin (actor).

A Blonde in Love. Ken Loach (director).

Saturday Night Fever (opening scene). John Badham (director).

Urga. Julie Christie (actor).

Twelve O'Clock High. Bob Rafelson (director).

Kes. Kathy Burke (actor).

Jules et Jim. Mike Leigh (director).

Bad Day at Black Rock. Philip French (critic).

Klute. Lizzie Borden (director).

8½. Terry Gilliam (director).

Le Plaisir. Bernardo Bertolucci (director).

A Place in the Sun. Monte Hellmen (director).

The Third Man. Monte Hellmen (director).

The Godfather, Part II. Allen Daviau (cinematographer).

Pickpocket. Paul Schrader (screenwriter and director).

Greed. Robert McKee (screenwriting teacher).

The finale (broadcast on New Year's Eve) had John Landis going to town and choosing "his favourite comic movie moments, featuring the Three Stooges, Buster Keaton and Laurel and Hardy and includingscenes from Annie Hall and Jaws."

Also there's one episode which is simply listed as "Another favourite movie moment." But nothing else.

Brief commentary:  some of the choices are really interesting - Nic Roeg choosing The Woman in Red or Diane Abbott on Gone With The Wind - and it's frustrating not to know what they said.  Plenty of women directors too.  Oh and the youngest is Robert Rodriguez who in 1995 was on the crest of his original burst of fame with El Mariachi and Desperado.

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