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Funny Pages to Phil Spector: the seven best films to watch on TV this week
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Funny Pages to Phil Spector: the seven best films to watch on TV this week

Pick of the week

Funny Pages

In Owen Kline’s debut feature, teenage dreams are fairly easy to beat. His protagonist, 17-year-old Robert (Daniel Zolghadri), is a would-be cartoonist inspired by the sudden death of his supportive art teacher to quit school and leave home to pursue his vocation. He moves into a squalid basement flat and gets an office job with a public defender. There, he meets the irate, unpredictable Wallace (Matthew Maher), who used to be in the comics industry, and thinks the older man could be his new mentor. Things don’t go well. The naive Robert’s coming-of-age misadventures are frequently funny and always excruciating as the plot throws an array of everydays his way.
Monday 22 April, 10.50pm, Film4

Phil Spector

Al Pacino and Helen Mirren in Phil Spector.View image in fullscreen

With its hefty factual disclaimer at the start, David Mamet’s 2013 drama about music producer Phil Spector’s 2007 trial for the murder of Lana Clarkson is more concerned with the pros and cons of fame than actual guilt or innocence. Playing the outlandishly bewigged Spector, Al Pacino delivers Mamet’s reams of dialogue with relish – either grandstanding or touchingly vulnerable as he rails against detractors past and present – with Helen Mirren’s more measured Linda Kenney Baden both defence counsel and confidante.
Saturday 20 April, 4.30am, Sky Cinema Greats


Edmond O’Brien and Pamela Britton in D.O.A.View image in fullscreen

A man walks into a police station. “I want to report a murder.” “Who was murdered?” “I was.” So begins Rudolph Maté’s relentless thriller, starring Edmond O’Brien as small-town accountant Frank, surreptitiously given a fast-acting incurable poison while on a holiday in San Francisco and racing against time to discover the identity of his killer. O’Brien is a convincing ladies’ man turned Philip Marlowe-style sleuth, with his increasingly sweaty, desperate hunt taking him from jazz bar to swish apartment to warehouse shootout.
Saturday 20 April, 6am, Talking Pictures TV

A Hidden Life

Valerie Pachner and August Diehl in A Hidden Life.View image in fullscreen

Terrence Malick brings his eye for a heartstopping image and love of an intimate gesture to bear on this tragic, true second world war tale. August Diehl plays Franz Jägerstätter, an Austrian farmer and committed Catholic who refused to swear allegiance to Hitler and so faced incarceration and execution. Valerie Pachner is his wife, Fani, and their bond is the emotional foundation for an interrogation (mostly through Malick’s trademark voiceovers) of religion, morality and community. Like Scorsese’s Silence, a profound exploration of what it is to be a martyr.
Sunday 21 April, 12.50am, Channel 4

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The Lavender Hill Mob

From left: Alfie Bass, Alec Guinness and Sid James in The Lavender Hill Mob.View image in fullscreen

This classic Ealing comedy features another of its downtrodden little men getting one over on the establishment. Here, it’s Alec Guinness’s lowly bank employee Henry Holland, who persuades tourist trinket-maker Alfred Pendlebury (Stanley Holloway) to join his plot to steal the gold bullion whose transportation he supervises. The heist itself is only part of the fun, with director Charles Crichton mixing a terrific Keystone Cops-like chase through London and a pursuit in Paris into the caper.
Monday 22 April, 2.25pm, Film4

The Small Back Room

Kathleen Byron and David Farrar in The Small Back Room.View image in fullscreen

After the Technicolor splendour of The Red Shoes, Powell and Pressburger produced this smaller but no less dramatic war film. It’s 1943, and the “back room” is where a weapons research department resides, with David Farrar’s Sammy its resident genius. He’s also an alcoholic in constant pain since his foot was amputated – and only the love of secretary Susan (Kathleen Byron) keeps him from collapsing into depression. With a bomb defusal scene as tense as anything in The Hurt Locker, and even the most minor character fully realised, it’s a mature, gripping work.
Tuesday 23 April, 1.35pm, Talking Pictures TV

Far from the Madding Crowd

Julie Christie as Bathsheba Everdene in Far from the Madding Crowd.View image in fullscreen

Thomas Hardy’s novels are often fine source material for films or TV drama – full of romance, incident and period detail – and John Schlesinger’s 1967 adaptation is no exception. In a wonderfully evoked 19th-century rural world of harvests, folk songs and fairs, the independent-minded Bathsheba (a luminous Julie Christie) has inherited a farm from an uncle. She is also, respectively, pined over, wooed and lusted after by dependable shepherd Gabriel (Alan Bates), ageing landowner Boldwood (Peter Finch) and dissolute cavalry sergeant Troy (Terence Stamp).
Thursday 25 April, 11am, Film4

Source: theguardian.com