What's on this week or so


Hell is a City (1959)

... called Manchester. And Stanley Baxter is the police inspector who tries to clean it up. It's a tough thriller, much liked in its day but now looking a bit like every other television cop drama (c.f. Gideon's Day)

3.40 pm Talking Pictures TV Sat 22 Jan

Laughter in Paradise (1951)

When an elderly prankster dies he leaves £50,000 to four of his relatives providing they perform some ridiculous tasks. Alastair Sim is the standout as the novelist who has to spend a month in jail, but still wants to keep the affections of his fiancée: judge's daughter Joyce Grenfell. It's a delightful comedy with wonderful moments and some nicely judged serious bits from Fay Compton as the domestic tyrant who has to become a maid.

7.00 pm Talking Pictures TV Sun 23 Jan

Malta Story (1953)

Starry cast (Alec Guinness, Flora Robson, Jack Hawkins and many others) tell how the island of Malta came to be awarded the George Cross in W.W.I.I.

Still from Malta StoryStill from Malta Story

12.55 pm Film4 Mon 24 Jan

Campbell's Kingdom (1957)

After a doctor tells Dirk Bogarde he's dying he goes to Canada and tries to prevent Stanley Baker from flooding a valley for a hydro-electric scheme. Nice scenery helps distract the mind from niggling plot worries (not least during the climactic dam failure only twelve hours after they start filling it. We knew Baker was using dodgy concrete but he'd have to be building with tissue paper to get that sort of failure).

Still from Campbell's Kingdom

3.00 pm Film4 Mon 24 Jan

The Admirable Crichton (1957)

When an Edwardian family are shipwrecked on a desert island, only practical butler Kenneth More can keep them from starvation

5.05 pm Film4 Mon 24 Jan

Carry On Cabby (1963)

Feminism arrives in the Carry On world as Sid James refuses to employ female cab drivers and his wife Hattie Jacques starts up a rival company using only dolly birds (and Esma Cannon!). It feels more like an Ealing Comedy than a Carry On but has glorious moments and lines (especially "What! With tweeds!" from Michael Ward)

5.00 pm Film4 Wed 26 Jan

The Proud Valley (1940)

Paul Robeson's finest film and the best portrayal of life in the Welsh valleys. Penn Tennyson may have romanticised the life a bit but this is miles better than Hollywood's "How Green Was My Valley". Robeson is given a job in the mine so he can join the choir. When the mine is closed, the village fights to reopen it.

10.35 am Talking Pictures TV Thur 27 Jan

Lucky Jim (1957)

Ian Carmichael is Kingsley Amis's hero stuck in a small town college and trying to join the smart set.

Slightly muffed version of the novel. Still, it has its good moments.

1.00 pm BBC2 Fri 28 Jan


Scott of the Antarctic (1948)

John Mills plays the ultimate stiff-upper-lipped hero in this wonderful re-creation of the doomed expedition. The visuals are grand and Vaughan Williams' score is one of the best in the movies.

6.00 pm NFT2 Mon 24 Jan