Best Films on TV: 16-22 September

Podcaster Owen Hughes lists the films on UK freeview TV this week that you should be watching. Or at least recording and then watching at a later date.

AmatterOfLifeAndDeathMonday 16 September – A Powell & Pressburger double bill (starting Film4 15:10)

Two for the price of one to kick off the week. Film4 are showing two films by British directors Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger back to back. Kicking off the afternoon is Black Narcissus (15:10), the story of a group of nuns trying to establish a convent in the remote mountains of the Himalayas. Following that is the fantasy world war drama about an aviator (David Niven) who must debate in heaven why he deserves to live in A Matter of Life And Death at 17:15. Both films have different views on what love is and how powerful an emotion it can be. It’s just a shame that the best P&P film, The Red Shoes, isn’t on to make it a triple bill!

Tuesday 17 September – As Good as It Gets (5*, 21:00)

In honour of one of the greatest ever actors to grace our screens, Jack Nicholson, who announced his official retirement recently following his ailing memory loss problems, Tuesday’s choice is As Good As It Gets. A story chronicling the life of an OCD bigoted writer, it won both Jack and Helen Hunt an Oscar each for the performances.

Wednesday 18 September – Dreams That Money Can Buy (Film4, 2:10am (so, Thursday then))

If you enjoyed last years surreal French film Holy Motors, as discussed on on our website in various articles and podcasts over the last 12 months, then this equally bonkers American experimental film project from the late 1940’s might be right up your street. It features several short surrealist movies by various directors/artists, such as Max Ernst, Man Ray and Hans Richter to name but a few. Utterly bizarre but well worth a watch.

Thursday 19 September – Das Boot (Film4, 23:25)

The Boat (or Das Boot to give it its original German title) is the best film of 1981 and as such, it is also the best film on TV on Thursday. Wolfgang Petersen‘s claustrophobic tale on the folly of war is (as Matt describes it in his Decade in Film article) “not just a great Submarine movie, it’s a fantastic movie in it’s own right “. A true classic that deserves the 3+ hours of your life it will take to watch.

Friday 20 September – Brighton Rock (1947) (Film4, 17:25)

A good, solid British gangster flick starring an excellent Richard Attenborough as cruel, manipulative tough guy “Pinkie”, based on an extremely well regarded novel, Brighton Rock is quite rightly a classic of cinema. Maybe its reputation is slightly overrated, with one or two corny / dated bits here and there, but nevertheless, it’s a very dark film and the plot of a gangster on the run is still just as interesting now as it ever was.

Saturday 21 September – The Quiet Man (Film4, 14:50)

It’s been a very Film4 centric week so far and Saturday is continuing the trend into the weekend. Having recently become something of a John Wayne, I am yet to watch what is regarded by some as one of his most accomplished acting performances. As an American boxer returning home to Ireland, the Duke ends up battling with his neighbours, his wife (Maureen O’Hara) and his own conscience in John Ford’s romantic comedy.

Sunday 22 September – Citizen Kane (Film4, 9pm)

Rosebud… Up until last year when it was knocked off the top of Sight & Sound’s reputable list of the best films ever by Alfred Hitchcock’s “Vertigo”, Orson Welles‘ directorial debut was considered by many to be the greatest film of all time. Revolutionary in what it did for cinema, made at just the age of 26, it turned its director into an international icon. Not only is it a very important movie, it’s also a really good one! So much more than just the story of the rise and fall of a powerful publishing company owner,if you’re yet to watch it and ever wondered what the fuss was about, then make sure you don’t pass up this opportunity.

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