What's on this week or so



The Sound Barrier (1952)

The attempt to break the sound barrier breaks apart a family of aviators. David Lean gets the best out of a cast that includes Ann Todd and Ralph Richardson. The flying stuff is a must for fans of old aircraft (with Comets, Vampires and others in the cast list) and for the rest of us the script provides a neat study in obsession and repression English-style.

11.00 am Film4 Wed 5 June

The Moonraker (1957)

George Baker is the 17th century toff whose eponymous alter ego is helping Royalists escape in true Scarlet Pimpernel fashion. Despite being busy he still finds the time to romance Sylvia Syms in one of the best British swashbucklers.

Still from The Moonraker

 12.50pm Film4 Thur 6 June

Footsteps in the Fog (1955)

Victorian maid blackmails her employer when she discovers he poisoned his wife.

Jean Simmons and Stewart Granger returned to England for this. It's not bad, but they've both got better films on their CVs.

2.35 pm Film4 Thur 6 June, 12.50 pm Film4 Mon 10 June

Keep Your Seats, Please (1936)

An eccentric old lady decides the best way to pass on her fortune to her idiot nephew and keep it safe from her rapacious relatives is to hide it in a chair and get the nephew to buy it at auction. How could such a simple plan go wrong? Very easily when the nephew is George Formby.

1.10 pm Talking Pictures TV Fri 7 June

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

2.35 pm Talking Pictures TV Sun 9 June

Went the Day Well? (1942)

If Sam Peckinpah had made a film for Ealing, this would be it. A bunch of British soldiers billeted on a quiet English village turn out to be German infiltrators. They shoot children and vicars and mow down the Home Guard when they are discovered. The villagers fight back. You won't forget the sight of dear old Muriel George attacking a soldier with an axe, or Valerie Taylor shooting a traitor in the back. Magnificent.

11.00 am Film4 Mon 10 June

Pool of London (1950)

Realistic, down-beat portrayal of life on the docks. There's a thin plot about smuggled diamonds but it's the background of trams and pubs and a vanished way of life that now excites most interest. That, and British cinema's first black/white romance between Earl Cameron and Susan Shaw.

2.35 pm Film4 Mon 10 June, 11.00 am Film4 Thur 13 June

Rogue's Yarn (1956)

A man murders his rich invalid wife taking care to establish a perfect alibi. A Scotland Yard detective carefully unpicks the alibi to get his man.

Basically an episode of Columbo which is rather undermined by Elwyn Brook-Jones as one of the dullest detectives ever to appear on screen.

12.35 pm Talking Pictures TV Tues 11 June

Hobson's Choice (1953)

Charles Laughton in one of the few good roles of his later career as the domestic tyrant tamed by his eldest daughter. David Lean gets the best from a cast that includes Brenda de Banzie, John Mills and an impossibly young Prunella Scales.

4.45 pm Film4 Wed 12 June

The Blue Lamp (1949)

This is the movie that gave the world Dixon of Dock Green (1955-1976). Of course, Dirk Bogarde's petty crook shot him dead, but the world needed Jack Warner's cosy police sergeant and so a TV legend was born. The film is excellent, with a fab script from T.E.B Clarke, wonderful direction from Basil Dearden and some perfect performances, but the shadow of that TV series hangs over it. Forget I told you Sergeant Dixon gets topped and enjoy the surprise.

Still from The Blue Lamp

12.45 pm Film4 Thur 13 June

Millions Like Us (1943)

The classic Home Front drama. It's surprisingly unsentimental considering the times in which it was made. Launder and Gilliat had the knack of getting British stiff-upper-lip-ness just right, so that the wartime optimism and heroism of ordinary people seems natural. This film is probably their crowning glory.

7.05 pm Talking Pictures TV Fri 14 June



Nothing this week.