Tonight's uncomfortable movie, Murder in the First (World, 9.30pm) is based on the true story of a man called Henri Young who, in the middle of the Depression, stole US$5 (HK$39) to feed his little sister. The court was not impressed with 17-year-old Henri's mitigating circumstances and packed him off to Alcatraz. There, he fell in with some real criminals and tried to escape. The wardens decided to make an example of him and he was sent into solitary confinement not for the usual eight days, but for three, uninterrupted years, where the only exercise he got was half an hour on Christmas Day. His jailers treated him as an animal and he became one. Kevin Bacon plays Henri and it is a thoroughly chilling performance, showing utter degradation. But he had not yet reached rock bottom. When released into the general prison population, he finds and kills the inmate who betrayed the escape plan to the authorities, and is promptly charged with first degree murder, which carries an automatic death penalty. Christian Slater plays the inexperienced attorney assigned to defend Henri, and Gary Oldman does his dastardly sadist routine as the warden who tormented Henri for all those years. Henri Young's story had been considered for a screenplay for a long time before it actually made it into production. The story of Michael Pardue, currently serving a life sentence in Alabama, will probably get there rather quicker. It has already been the subject of a bidding war between two rival television networks in the United States. Pardue was also only 17 when local police arrested him for double homicide. He was incriminated by two companions, and interrogated for 78 hours by a policeman later dismissed for 'inappropriate behaviour'. The confession he gave, and then retracted, was the only real evidence against him. Twenty five years later almost everyone admits he should never have been sent to jail, including the Alabama Supreme Court. Unfortunately, between his wrongful arrest, and this ruling, like Henri Young, Pardue attempted to escape, not once, but three times. And Alabama has a 'three strikes and you are out' rule which means that any felon convicted three times, gets an automatic life sentence. So poor old Pardue must remain in prison for the rest of his life for trying to escape what he knew was a miscarriage of justice. Tonight, TVB Pearl responds to popular demand and will screen a repeat of March's excellent Pearl Report (Pearl, 8pm) on how the millennium bug is likely to affect Hong Kong. Apparently TVB bigwigs have been inundated with requests from corporations as well as individuals, after the last screening, and so we are getting it again. This is the first time anyone can remember a Pearl Report being repeated like this. We have the power, it seems, to make our television stations do our bidding. An inspiring thought.