Science is never neutral. Its discoveries and how they're applied have profound moral implications. Copenhagen, a PBS adaptation of Michael Frayn's play, explores the morality of nuclear physics and its relationship to politics. The action centers on a mysterious meeting between two of the 20th century's scientific geniuses during World War II. Werner Heisenberg (Daniel Craig), discoverer of the famous uncertainty principle, heads Germany's wartime atomic research. In September 1941, he pays a visit to his Danish mentor Nils Bohr, and his wife Margarethe, in Nazi-occupied Copenhagen. The two physicists take a walk in the woods that ends in anger. What was Heisenberg's purpose in coming? And what did they discuss during their walk?
Experts have never agreed as to the answers. Director-screenwriter Howard Davies begins with the principal characters' ghosts discussing the incident in present-day Copenhagen and flashes back to 1941 to present various interpretations as to what might have happened. The viewer may conclude that, if that conversation had gone differently, Hitler might have gotten the bomb.
Most of the news about Africa emphasizes disease, famine and political upheaval. But it is also a continent of breathtaking natural beauty and extraordinary wildlife. Cheetah, based on Alan Caillou's book, is a charming family film that accentuates the positive. Ted (Keith Coogan) and Sarah (Lucy Deakins) Johnson are typical Southern California teen-agers who're taken to Kenya for six months by their scientist parents. They befriend a young African goat herder, Morogo, and adopt a cub cheetah named Duma whose mother has been captured by poachers.
The Americans realize that they must eventually turn the wild animal loose so it can learn to hunt and live free. But some corrupt gamblers steal the cub so they can race it against greyhounds. Ted and Sarah set out in the uncharted wilderness to rescue Duma with Morogo as their guide. The result is a thrilling adventure about friendship, courage and survival.
The Lives of a Bengal Lancer (1935)
During its golden age, Hollywood made movies about Afghanistan. But, as they were set during the heyday of the British Empire, they were rarely critical of colonial occupation. Some viewers today may have trouble with these attitudes.
But if you can get past the implicit jingoism, you may find The Lives of a Bengal Lancer, based on Major Francis Yeats-Brown's novel, a rousing tribute to military courage and comradeship. Col. Stone (Sir Guy Standing) commands the 41st Lancers in Bengal. Nearby Afghan tribes under the leadership of Mohammed Khan (Douglas Dumbrille) are on the verge of rebellion. The colonel wants to lay siege to a fortified Afghan village. His subordinate, Capt. MacGregor (Gary Cooper), argues for a direct attack.
The colonel's son, a young lieutenant, and his comrade, Lt. Forsythe, take MacGregor's side. When they're captured and tortured by Khan, the colonel must decide whether or not to change his plans. Director Henry Hathaway captures the atmosphere of colonial life and stages a rousing climactic battle.