Freeview films 25 September to 1 October


This week’s film of the week is Under the Skin (2013), which is on Friday (1/10) at 01:30 on Film4. Here’s the preview, by Steve Sasanow.

World Cinema

Saturday (25/9)     21:00    BBC4            The King’s Choice (2016). Tremendous historical drama about the German invasion of Norway in April 1940, and the dilemma faced by the Danish-born King Haakon VII, who had only become sovereign because Norway opted to become a monarchy after the 1905 dissolution of its union with Sweden. Monarchies were more popular then. Intense performance by Jesper Christiansen, whose self-penned IMDB biography tells us he played worried men in theatre for 25 years, then stopped in 1998: ‘Since then only worried men on film.’

Sunday (26/9)        02:00    BBC2            The Spy Gone North (2018). A South Korean army officer is sent North to infiltrate Pyongyang’s elite and investigate its nuclear weapons programme, but finds himself used by both sides. Loosely based on a true story, and devoid of cheap thrills. Perennially topical, of course.

Monday (27/9)      01:25    Film4            Loveless (2017). Ambitious, harrowing study of a divorcing couple whose neglected child goes missing. Sets the domestic drama in the broader context of a heartless and self-seeking society, but who are we to talk? Awarded the 2017 Jury Prize in Cannes, which probably didn’t please the post-Soviet nomenklatura.

                                 01:45   Channel 4    Capernaum (2018). The story of Zain, a 12-year-old Lebanese boy who is serving a five-year prison sentence for stabbing the family’s landlord. In flashback, the film shows his impoverished and traumatic childhood before the crime. He later sues his parents for neglect, aiming to stop them having any more children. CFS’s third-most appreciated film in donkey’s years, and the most popular non-comedy. Director Nadine Labaki also directed and starred in the marvellous Caramel (2007). 

Thursday (30/9)    23:25    Film4            Monos (2019). Shown recently at CFS. Here’s a review by John Russell.

Stephen Ilott’s Picks

Saturday (25/9)    21:20    Channel 5            The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (1967). Seminal spaghetti Western featuring various shifty-eyed people. If you enjoy Sergio Leone’s stylised violence, Clint being Clint, and twangy soundtracks, this is for you.

                                23:05   BBC4                  Hurt Locker Hero (2018). Swedish/Kurdish documentary about a Kurdish colonel who disposed of countless bombs using only a pair of wire cutters and his bare hands. Also known as The Deminer.

Sunday (26/9)       16:55   Paramount          Monte Walsh (1970) (also Friday 13:35). Lee Marvin is an ageing cowboy and Jeanne Moreau is his slightly unexpected love-interns.   

Tuesday (28/9)      01:40   Film4                  Withnail & I (1987). Not exactly Laurence Llewellyn-Bowen’s idea of a weekend in the country.  Or anybody else’s really, but it launched Richard E. Grant’s career. With strong support from Paul McGann (as ‘I’) and Richard Griffiths as predatory Uncle Monty.

Friday (1/10)         23:00   Talking Pictures    He Walked By Night (1948). Semi-documentary noir thriller about a psychopathic LA cop-killer.

Other modern films of interest

Sunday (26/9)           19:10   Sky Arts   The Beatles, Hippies and Hells Angels: Inside the Crazy World of Apple (2017). Essential viewing for any Beatles fan who wants to know what went on behind the scenes of the Fab Four’s attempt to combine business and Hippie values. There was even a poetry division. Narrated by Peter Coyote, who was one of the Angels who turned up and rather ruined the party. If you want an entertaining read about the chaos, try Craig Brown’s hefty One, Two, Three, Four: The Beatles in Time.

Monday (27/9)         22:00   BBC4         Masterspy of Moscow: George Blake (2015). George Carey’s Storyville documentary about the spy who escaped from Wormwood Scrubs via a rope ladder five years into a 42 year sentence, and fled to the Soviet Union, where he lived until he died at the age of 98.  Maybe a sentence in itself.

Wednesday (29/9)   23:15   BBC2         Boy Erased (2018). Drama directed by Joel Edgerton, about a troubled young man (Lucas Hedges) who undergoes brutal gay conversion therapy. Received mixed reviews.  Nicole Kidman and Russell Crowe play the parents.  

Thursday (30/9)       21:00    BBC4        Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (2011). Tomas Alfredson’s 2011 reworking of the George Smiley spymaster story, with a strong cast, like the 1979 TV original.  A restrained Gary Oldman is impressive in the role made famous by Alec Guinness, who was fresh from Star Wars and apparently had to be persuaded to accept the part, worrying that he couldn’t put on the pounds for it. In every other way his performance was weighty. The labyrinthine, grubby, incestuous world of Cold War espionage is rendered here against a rather ersatz seventies backdrop, as the search goes on for the mole in the Circus. In 1979 it looked a bit more authentic, but never mind.


Saturday (25/9)     16:00    ITV4                         Nevada Smith (1966). (Also Sunday 18:25). Western directed by Henry Hathaway, in which Steve McQueen as the mixed race Max Sand sets out to avenge the deaths of his parents at the hands of three outlaws.  Suzanne Pleshette plays Pilar, a young Cajun woman with whom Sand becomes involved.  A prequel to The Carpetbaggers (1964), in which the part of the older Sand is played by Alan Ladd.

                                 18:35    ITV4                         Gunfight at the O.K. Corral (1957). Burt Lancaster and Kirk Douglas in John Sturges’s account of what in real life was apparently a 30-second event.  

Sunday (26/9)        07:25   Talking Pictures       Pickwick Papers (1952). One of several films of Dickens’ first novel, with James Hayter as Pickwick, the founder of the eponymous Club, who suggests members travel the country to report on what they find, which results in various escapades, culminating in a court case.  With a strong cast of British comic actors of the day, despite being made on a shoestring.                  

Tuesday (28/9)      16:40   Great Movies           Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner (1967). Made in the days when mixed-race marriages were still illegal in 17 US states. Sidney Poitier (black) and Katharine Houghton (white) meet her liberal parents for a not very relaxing evening. This was Spencer Tracy and Katharine Hepburn’s last film together, as Tracy died shortly after. Particularly memorable is the scene where Poitier’s character takes his own father to task.

Thursday (30/9)     21:00   Talking Pictures       Fantastic Voyage (1966). Not a booze cruise, but Richard Fleischer’s tale from the earlier days of special effects about a miniaturised submarine going inside a stricken scientist’s brain. Raquel Welch is among the crew.

2 thoughts on “Freeview films 25 September to 1 October

  1. If films are not in English could you put the language in brackets? I am prepared to lower my film-watching standards for films in French, Italian, Spanish, and German.

    1. Are you volunteering, Jo? Just one more job in a busy week.

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