11:1513:10 (1 hr, 55 min)

The Fighting Seabees

Although denied military service during the Second World War, John Wayne did his fair share of fighting on screen in propaganda movies like this one, which is based on a true story. He stars as the boss of a construction company who orders his workers to take up arms against the invading Japanese. It's the one where Wayne's hot-headedness causes his buddy's death, leading him to demolish all the enemy in sight, blasting his way to glory. Well, Borden Chase's screenplay worked then, and it almost works now, and if you're a fan of the Duke, give it a try. By the way, Wayne's leading lady is the young Susan Hayward.
  • John Wayne (actor)
  • Susan Hayward (actor)
  • Dennis O'Keefe (actor)
  • William Frawley (actor)
  • Leonid Kinskey (actor)
  • Jim Kerrigan [J M Kerrigan] (actor)
  • Grant Withers (actor)
  • Paul Fix (actor)
  • Ben Welden (actor)
  • William Forrest (actor)
  • Addison Richards (actor)
  • Jay Norris (actor)
  • Duncan Renaldo (actor)
  • Edward Ludwig (director)
13:0014:50 (1 hr, 50 min)

Blanche Fury

This dark, brooding tale about inheritance and forbidden passion is set in a rambling English country home and stars an impressive Stewart Granger as a maverick estate manager. Granger is pitted against the best that British melodrama had to offer at the time, including Valerie Hobson in the title role, Maurice Denham and Michael Gough. The late 1940s saw many examples of this type of movie, set against a backdrop of tall iron gates, with stooped retainers and timely thunderstorms. It also has the benefit of an excellent screenplay and some taut direction from Marc Allÿýet. Yet it's the distinctive atmosphere that lingers in the memory.
  • Valerie Hobson (actor)
  • Stewart Granger (actor)
  • Walter Fitzgerald (actor)
  • Michael Gough (actor)
  • Maurice Denham (actor)
  • Sybilla Binder (actor)
  • Edward Lexy (actor)
  • Allan Jeayes (actor)
  • Suzanne Gibbs (actor)
  • Ernest Jay (actor)
  • George Woodbridge (actor)
  • Arthur Wontner (actor)
  • Amy Veness (actor)
  • M E Clifton-James (actor)
  • Marc Allÿýet (director)
Channel 4
13:4515:25 (1 hr, 40 min)

The Gentle Sex

Viewed today, this drama seems unbearably patronising in its depiction of the contribution made to the war effort by seven socially diverse women who volunteer for service on the same day. But in its day, it served its purpose both as a morale booster and as a recruitment advertisement, thanks to some astute appeals to the patriotic spirit and some spunky acting. The top-notch cast includes Barbara Waring as a catty snob and Lilli Palmer as a timid German immigrant. Sadly, a week after the film was released, its co-director Leslie Howard was killed when his plane was shot down while he was on a secret mission to Portugal.
  • Joan Gates (actor)
  • Jean Gillie (actor)
  • Joan Greenwood (actor)
  • Joyce Howard (actor)
  • Rosamund John (actor)
  • Lilli Palmer (actor)
  • Barbara Waring (actor)
  • John Justin (actor)
  • Frederick Leister (actor)
  • Mary Jerrold (actor)
  • Everley Gregg (actor)
  • Elliot Mason (actor)
  • John Laurie (actor)
  • Leslie Howard, Maurice Elvey (director)
14:5016:55 (2 hr, 5 min)

The Sheriff of Fractured Jaw

This is the first ever western shot in Spain, its standing set later used for Sergio Leone's Dollars trilogy. The title role in this super spoof is played by British actor Kenneth More at his most diffident, and the director is the great Raoul Walsh, who films in the grand tradition of the genre. Fifties sex symbol Jayne Mansfield provides the love interest and there's a touching musical interlude in which she croons In the Valley of Love, dubbed by Connie Francis. The film's soundtrack is especially witty - check out that primitive car in Robert Morley's garage - and there's the added value of an entertaining Anglo-American supporting cast. Did you know that, with his roles in this film, Ramsbottom Rides Again and Carry On Cowboy, Sidney James appeared in all three British westerns?
  • Kenneth More (actor)
  • Jayne Mansfield (actor)
  • Henry Hull (actor)
  • William Campbell (actor)
  • Bruce Cabot (actor)
  • Robert Morley (actor)
  • Ronald Squire (actor)
  • David Horne (actor)
  • Eynon Evans (actor)
  • Reed De Rouen (actor)
  • Sidney James (actor)
  • Raoul Walsh (director)
15:1017:00 (1 hr, 50 min)

Love's Unfolding Dream

Drama set at the turn of the 20th century in which a young woman pursues her dream of a career in medicine. When she nurses a socialite back to health, the wealthy woman offers to pay her costs at medical school. But with the arrival of a handsome stranger in town, the would-be doctor is torn between following her ambitions and following her heart.
  • Scout Taylor-Compton (actor)
  • Nancy Lineham Charles (actor)
  • Patrick Levis (actor)
  • Erin Cottrell (actor)
  • Richard Herd (actor)
  • Harvey Frost (director)
16:5519:10 (2 hr, 15 min)

Heaven Can Wait

This witty satire masquerading as a 20th Century Fox family saga gets its title from the prologue in which the Devil (Laird Cregar) sits in judgement on Don Ameche in a gloriously Technicolored hell, from where Ameche reviews his life. This is as good as Ameche gets; not only is he perfectly cast, but also brilliantly directed by the comic genius Ernst Lubitsch, working in colour for the first time. The film has great warmth, charm and honesty, and grows on you until, at the end, you're sorry to leave. Gene Tierney has never looked lovelier - and that's really saying something - nor The Merry Widow been used more emotively. Each viewing confirms this film's growing status as a classic.
  • Gene Tierney (actor)
  • Don Ameche (actor)
  • Charles Coburn (actor)
  • Marjorie Main (actor)
  • Laird Cregar (actor)
  • Spring Byington (actor)
  • Allyn Joslyn (actor)
  • Eugene Pallette (actor)
  • Signe Hasso (actor)
  • Louis Calhern (actor)
  • Helen Reynolds (actor)
  • Aubrey Mather (actor)
  • Ernst Lubitsch (director)
19:1021:00 (1 hr, 50 min)

The Man Who Knew Too Little

As the parodic Hitchcock title suggests, this sweet-natured Bill Murray comedy is an entertaining throwback to the espionage thrillers of yesteryear. Murray plays a naive, slow-witted videostore clerk, who unwittingly becomes entangled in an assassination plot while visiting his brother (Peter Gallagher) in London, the inspired twist being that Murray thinks it's all part of a participatory drama group known as the "Theatre of Life". It's enjoyable to see the normally vitriolic comedian as an Inspector Clouseau-esque bumbling dimwit, even if the one-joke premise does eventually start to lose its lustre. There's great British comic support, too, from Alfred Molina as a Russian hitman and Richard Wilson as a corrupt government agent.
  • Bill Murray (actor)
  • Peter Gallagher (actor)
  • Joanne Whalley-Kilmer [Joanne Whalley] (actor)
  • Alfred Molina (actor)
  • Richard Wilson (3) (actor)
  • Geraldine James (actor)
  • John Standing (actor)
  • Anna Chancellor (actor)
  • John Thomson (actor)
  • Dexter Fletcher (actor)
  • J E Freeman (actor)
  • Maxwell Caulfield (actor)
  • Jon Amiel (director)
21:0023:20 (2 hr, 20 min)

The X-Files

The TV phenomenon of the 1990s makes an effortless transition to the big screen, and, while the plot remains firmly grounded in the themes of the series, the uninitiated should not feel put off, as this plays equally well as a classy conspiracy thriller. Here, intrepid FBI duo Mulder and Scully (David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson) investigate an explosion at a federal building and stumble across the biggest alien cover-up in the world's history. Director Rob Bowman (who has also worked on the series) is faithful to the show's paranoiac roots, but gleefully opens the action out to stage some spectacular set pieces. He is well served by his leads, and by the likes of Martin Landau, Armin Mueller-Stahl and John Neville.
  • David Duchovny (actor)
  • Gillian Anderson (actor)
  • John Neville (actor)
  • William B Davis (actor)
  • Martin Landau (actor)
  • Mitch Pileggi (actor)
  • Armin Mueller-Stahl (actor)
  • Dean Haglund (actor)
  • Tom Braidwood (actor)
  • Bruce Harwood (actor)
  • Rob Bowman (director)
22:0000:35 (2 hr, 35 min)

Notting Hill

The Four Weddings team produced another smash with this charming tale about a bumbling bookshop owner (Hugh Grant) who falls for the "most famous actress in the world" (Julia Roberts). Inevitably, the course of true love is a bumpy road, with friends, family and layabout flatmate Spike (played by Rhys Ifans in a career-making performance) getting in the way, but that's the cue for a series of screamingly funny scenarios. Saturated with wit and well directed by Roger Michell, the film was bashed by sceptics for its fluffiness and lack of realism (for a racially mixed area of London, there's not a black face to be seen). But, if you can accept the context as 100 per cent white middle class, with a light-hearted commentary on the nature of celebrity, it's an intensely enjoyable experience.
  • Julia Roberts (actor)
  • Hugh Grant (actor)
  • Hugh Bonneville (actor)
  • Emma Chambers (actor)
  • James Dreyfus (actor)
  • Rhys Ifans (actor)
  • Tim McInnerny (actor)
  • Gina McKee (actor)
  • Richard McCabe (actor)
  • Roger Michell (director)
22:0000:00 (2 hr)

True Stories

Grizzly Man

Widely acclaimed by critics and industry peers as one of the best documentaries of 2005, Werner Herzog's film offers a superb study of nature - both human and animal - in all its savage beauty, cruelty and absurdity. Star of the show Timothy Treadwell was a dropout who found redemption living among grizzly bears in the Alaskan wilds for 13 summers, until one of them killed him and his girlfriend, Amie Huguenard. Herzog knits together spectacular amateur footage shot by Treadwell with original interview material, to unfold the grizzly man's story. The result provides a salutary lesson in the dangers of over-romanticising wild animals, as well as a fascinating glimpse into a well-intentioned but very troubled soul. Despite its tragic trajectory, the director's wry sense of humour often sparkles through, and Herzog fans won't fail to spot the parallels with the other dreamers and madmen who have populated both his fiction and non-fiction work. A sparse and lovely score by Richard Thompson and some glorious images of bears round out a near-flawless package.
  • Timothy Treadwell (actor)
  • Amie Huguenard (actor)
  • Werner Herzog (actor)
  • Warren Queeney (actor)
  • Willy Fulton (actor)
  • Werner Herzog (director)
22:1000:55 (2 hr, 45 min)

Cross of Iron

Director Sam Peckinpah switches from westerns such as The Wild Bunch to another kind of savagery - Germans in retreat on the Russian Front during the Second World War - and makes this as graphic an antiwar film as anything since All Quiet on the Western Front. In this adaptation of a book by Willi Heinrich, James Coburn plays the disillusioned sergeant, sickened by slaughter and the double dealings of officers such as Maximilian Schell. There's little room for women in Peckinpah's exercise in macho ideals, though an encounter with female guerrillas shows them exacting revenge with dreadful results. This is bloody action, elegantly choreographed to chilling effect.
  • James Coburn (actor)
  • Maximilian Schell (actor)
  • James Mason (actor)
  • David Warner (actor)
  • Klaus Lowitsch [Klaus Lÿýwitsch] (actor)
  • Vadim Glowna (actor)
  • Roger Fritz (actor)
  • Dieter Schidor (actor)
  • Burkhardt Driest (actor)
  • Fred Stillkraut (actor)
  • Michael Nowka (actor)
  • Veronique Vendell (actor)
  • Arthur Brauss (actor)
  • Senta Berger (actor)
  • Slavco Stimac (actor)
  • Sam Peckinpah (director)
23:2001:30 (2 hr, 10 min)

Blade II

Mexican genre maestro Guillermo del Toro (Cronos, Mimic) took over the directing duties for this episode in the Daywalker chronicles, based on the character from cult Marvel comic Tomb of Dracula. Pitching the moody half-vampire/half-human Blade (Wesley Snipes) as a sort of nocturnal James Bond with gadgets and gimmicks galore, the film's unrelenting action kicks in within seconds and never flags. This time Blade reluctantly joins forces with vampire overlord Damaskinos (Thomas Kretschmann) to wipe out the Reapers - a new breed of super-vampire unaffected by most traditional methods of eradication - who are cutting a swathe through both the human and undead communities in Prague. It's a fabulous-looking package, elegantly orchestrated by del Toro, who has an unerring eye for undead iconography, which he takes to visually imaginative extremes. While it has zero character substance and isn't remotely scary, Blade II at least unapologetically delivers the requisite amount of attitude, splatter and grisly shock-horror.
  • Wesley Snipes (actor)
  • Kris Kristofferson (actor)
  • Ron Perlman (actor)
  • Leonor Varela (actor)
  • Norman Reedus (actor)
  • Thomas Kretschmann (actor)
  • Luke Goss (actor)
  • Matthew Schulze [Matt Schulze] (actor)
  • Danny John-Jules (actor)
  • Donnie Yen (actor)
  • Karel Roden (actor)
  • Marit Velle Kile (actor)
  • Tony Curran (actor)
  • Guillermo del Toro (director)
00:5502:50 (1 hr, 55 min)

In Enemy Country

This uninspired Second World War hokum from Universal utilised the studio's backlot when its TV series weren't in production. Still, star Tony Franciosa copes manfully, going undercover to dispose of a Nazi torpedo factory, and Anjanette Comer pouts prettily. British interest centres on import Tom Bell and the very artificial European setting. Producer/director Harry Keller does a serviceable job, however, and scores some points for effort.
  • Tony Franciosa [Anthony Franciosa] (actor)
  • Anjanette Comer (actor)
  • Guy Stockwell (actor)
  • Paul Hubschmid (actor)
  • Tom Bell (actor)
  • Michael Constantine (actor)
  • Harry Townes (actor)
  • John Marley (actor)
  • Harry Keller (director)
01:3003:40 (2 hr, 10 min)

La Antena

The continuing strength of Argentinian cinema is demonstrated by Esteban Sapir's dazzlingly inventive fantasy. Pleasingly intricate and packed with stock heroes and villains, it's set in the "City without a Voice", whose population has been struck dumb by the TV broadcasts of the sinisterly omnipresent Alejandro Urdapilleta. Revelling in his devilry, Urdapilleta enlists medical sidekick Carlos Pineiro and rodent-like henchman Raÿýl Hochman to target unassuming inventor Rafael Ferro. He alone can save mystery singer Florencia Raggi and her eyeless son, and frustrate Urdapilleta's plan to steal the very words out of the citizenry's mouths. Drawing on the look and mood of such expressionist classics as Metropolis, this is a brilliant pastiche of silent screen style. Its inspired use of captions, superimposition, silhouette and studio-bound dÿýr even surpasses that of Guy Maddin's majestic 1992 melodrama Careful. A gem.
  • Alejandro Urdapilleta (actor)
  • Valeria Bertuccelli (actor)
  • Julieta Cardinali (actor)
  • Rafael Ferro (actor)
  • Raÿýl Hochman (actor)
  • Sol Moreno (actor)
  • Jonathan Sandor (actor)
  • Carlos Piÿýeiro (actor)
  • Florencia Raggi (actor)
  • Esteban Sapir (director)