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Film Highlights Wednesday

Hitchcock (2012)


Sky Movies Drama, 10.20pm

Oddly pitched between farce and drama, Sacha Gervasi's patchy but undeniably enjoyable film is based on the making of 'Psycho', Alfred Hitchcock's most famous movie but a project considered so controversial in its day that Paramount Studios refused to back it.

Anthony Hopkins (above) plays Hitch, whose quest for cinematic perfection is matched only by his obsession with blonde leading ladies. He's kept in line by his talented and formidable wife Alma (Helen Mirren), and when he decides to fund 'Psycho' with his own money, she backs him.

The casting of Scarlett Johansson as Janet Leigh is problematic, and a series of fantasy sequences in which Hitch engages with serial killer Ed Gein don't work at all. But Hitchcock is fun, and Mirren is fantastic as the great man's long-suffering and redoubtable guardian.

The Fall of the Roman Empire (1964)


BBC2, 11.20am

Sumptuous 1960s epic that failed at the box office but is actually surprisingly intelligent and historically respectful. Alec Guinness plays Marcus Aurelius, the philosopher emperor whose death brings his depraved and degenerate son Commodus to the throne, with fatal consequences for Rome.

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The Unforgiven (1960)


TCM, 4.20pm

Not to be confused with Clint Eastwood's 1992 western, this fine John Huston drama stars Audrey Hepburn as Rachel, the beautiful daughter of a frontier family who causes a scandal when it's revealed that she was born a Native American and adopted.

Terms of Endearment (1983)


Film4, 6.25pm

Charming, multi-Oscar-winning romantic comedy from James L Brooks, starring Shirley MacLaine as a domineering mother who's distraught at having alienated her grown-up daughter until she begins a tentative relationship with a flighty ex-astronaut who lives next door. With Jack Nicholson.

Contagion (2011)


RTE One, 9.35pm

In Steven Soderbergh's gripping thriller, a deadly new virus surfaces in southern China and sweeps its way around the globe, leaving an international team of experts racing to find an effective cure before it's too late. With Matt Damon and Gwyneth Paltrow.

There's Something About Mary (1998)


3e, 10.00pm

In the Farrelly brothers' delightfully tasteless romantic comedy, Ben Stiller plays Ted Stroehmann, a 30-something bachelor who hires a dodgy private detective to track down his high school sweetheart Mary Jansen, whom he's never gotten over. With Matt Dillon, Chris Elliott and Lee Evans.

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