Duke Box #69: Our Guide to the Best Films on TV
A classic ghost story, masked killers, grand designs gone wrong and an overlooked 60s gem, 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 Man Who Fell to Earth (1976) Saturday, Talking Pictures TV, 12am
Nicolas Roeg's cult classic science fiction follows an alien who visits Earth in search of water for his dying planet, only to become ensnared by the romance and greed of human life. Full of surreal imagery, Roeg's film marked David Bowie's first (and arguably best) starring film role.
Happy Death Day (2017) Saturday, FilmFour, 10.55pm
A daft but hugely enjoyable horror that mixes together teen slasher conventions with a Groundhog Day-style time-loop story. Tree Gelbman is a typical slasher film victim, a self-possessed blonde college girl, and she is duly killed off by a masked killer, but in a twist, she wakes up alive to experience the day all over again.... and again...
Trumbo (2015) Sunday, BBC Two, 1.05am
Bryan Cranston delivers a committed performance as Dalton Trumbo, in this biopic of the famed Hollywood writer. Riding high after a string of hits, Trumbo's career as a screenwriter came to a screeching halt in 1947 when he was called to appear in front of the House Committee on Un-American Activities regarding alleged communist activity in Hollywood. Trumbo's refusal to co-operate with the investigation led to his blacklisting, resulting in the only way to get work being to do so under a pseudonym.
Pi (1998) Sunday, FilmFour 2.20am
The breakout film from The Wrestler and Requiem for a Dream director Darren Aronofsky is a shoestring budget wonder. Max Cohen is a reclusive mathematician searching for number patterns in nature and the stock market, who accidentally uncovers a 216 digit number that brings him to the attention of competing sinister forces.
The Innocents (1961) Sunday, Talking Pictures TV, 8.20pm
A gloriously made bone-chiller that'll burrow under your skin and stay there, with a fantastic lead performance from Deborah Kerr at its centre. A cinema great, based on The Turn of the Screw by Henry James.
The Swimmer (1968) Monday, Great! Movies Classic, 7.05pm
An elusive, unusual and somewhat forgotten gem from late 60s Hollywood. Burt Lancaster stars as a New York advertising executive Ned who decides to spend the day swimming in a string of his neighbour's pools. Along the way, Ned's life story and recent troubles begin to be pieced together by his interactions throughout the day.
Gravity (2013) Tuesday, BBC One, 8.35pm
On television and in two dimensions, Alfonso Cuarón's Gravity does lose some of the thrilling immersion that made it such a must-watch at cinemas in 3D, however, it's still a nail-biting rollercoaster of a film. Sandra Bullock is astronaut Dr. Ryan Stone who must use all her wits and intelligence to survive after a routine spacewalk goes disastrously wrong.
Mr Blandings Builds His Dream House (1948) Thursday, Great! Movies Classic, 8.55am
While not necessarily up there with his finest films, there's still much to recommend about this Cary Grant comedy. Grant stars as the eponymous Mr Blandings who counters his wife's plans to redecorate their New York apartment by proposing a move to a larger house in the country. But the duo are tricked into buying a house that requires much, much more work than just a lick of paint.
and on streaming...
Pride (2014) BBC iplayer
A delightful, uplifting comic drama based on the true story of a group of lesbian and gay activists who in 1984 found unlikely allies in a group of Welsh miners.