Duke Box #67: Our Guide to the Best Films on TV

A fast-talking Cary grant, life off-grid, 70s rock and delightful stop-motion animation, here are our picks for the best films on TV

Please note that this list isn't exhaustive – just some titles selected as ones to try out or revisit, hopefully at the best times. Some films may also change if channels decide to alter their listings. 

The Producers (1967) Friday, BBC One, 1035pm

Mel Brooks’ debut film remains as funny and relevant as ever. A struggling, shady Broadway producer hatches a scheme to claim the insurance on a sure-fire flop, and so begins work on the worst idea he can think of - a musical about Hitler. However, the resulting production, including the show-stopping number Springtime for Hitler, becomes a runaway hit. 

Captain Fantastic (2016) Saturday, BBC Two, Midnight

In recent years there has been a wave of American films exploring lives lived off-the-grid, up to this year’s Robin Wright starring Land and Best Picture winner Nomadland. Captain Fantastic (along with 2014’s Wild) was perhaps one of the originators, with its tale of a family living in the wilderness away from society who are forced to return after the sudden death of the mother. 

All About Eve (1950) Saturday, TalkingPicturesTV, 8.35pm

One of classic Hollywood's greatest films, All About Eve boasts and iconic Bette Davis performance and a smart, sophisticated script by Joseph L. Mankiewicz..

Almost Famous (2000) Saturday, Great! Movies, 10.00pm

Based on writer-director Cameron Crowe’s own adolescence, Almost Famous follows a budding music journalist who lands a Rolling Stone assignment following an upcoming 70s rock band. Almost Famous is an endearing coming-of-age drama that is worth watching for the Tiny Dancer scene alone. 

Disobedience (2017) Sunday, FilmFour, 11.15pm

The English language debit of Chilean filmmaker Sebastián Lelio, Disobedience is an understated but riveting drama. After the death of her father, photographer Ronit returns to the Orthodox Jewish community that ostracised her over her attraction to a female friend. Once back they are reunited and old passions reignite. 

His Girl Friday (1940) Monday, FilmFour, 11am

A fast-talking screwball classic, starring Cary Grant and Rosalind Russell on sparkling form. Grant stars as a newspaper editor who attempts to win back his top reporter and ex-wife after she announces her plans to quit and marry again

Early Man (2018) Monday, BBC One, 2.45m

While it is perhaps not on par with the studio’s best work, this Aardman animation is still packed with fun and great gags. Set in Stone Age Britain, Early Man follows Dug, a caveman who must unite his tribe in order to win a prehistoric football tournament. 

The Handmaiden (2016) Wednesday FilmFour, 11.10pm

Chan-Wook Park's masterful 2016 film is a rip-roaring, erotic and very loose adaptation of the Sarah Waters novel Fingersmith. The tangled plot follows an orphaned pickpocket who becomes involved in an elaborate scheme to seduce and trick a Japanese woman out of her inheritance. 

And on streaming...

Phoenix (2015) Mubi

Christian Petzold’s second World War drama, unfortunately, flew under the radar when it was released in the UK in 2015, but it is a suspenseful and impressive drama with shade’s of Hitchcock’s Vertigo and Third Man. Nina Hoss anchors the film with her powerful performance as Nelly, a Cabaret singer who survived Auschwitz but is left with a disfigured face. She undergoes reconstructive surgery and returns to Berlin where she finds her former husband (and the man possibly betrayed her to the Nazis). He doesn’t recognise her but thinks she looks enough like his wife to help him claim the inheritance she is due.