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Top films to watch on TV this week


Live and Let Die (Wednesday, ITV4, 8p.m.)

Live and Let Die (Wednesday, ITV4, 8p.m.)

Judi Dench and Steve Coogan in Philomena (Monday, BBC1, 11.45p.m.)

Judi Dench and Steve Coogan in Philomena (Monday, BBC1, 11.45p.m.)


Live and Let Die (Wednesday, ITV4, 8p.m.)


Live and Let Die (1973) ITV4, 8p.m.

The dashing 007 must travel from the streets of Harlem to the Caribbean to stop a drugs lord, rescue a beautiful clairvoyant, and fend off the attentions of a voodoo master, a Superfly-style narcotics baron and a henchman with a hook for a hand.

One of Roger Moore’s finest outings as Bond was also his first and it ticks all the right boxes. The action sequences rival anything that Hollywood has put out in the decades since, while Moore hadn’t yet started the tongue-in-cheek nonsense that made his later offerings so excruciating.

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Trivia fans may note: the boat chase through the bayous was originally written in the script as just “Scene 156 – The most terrific boat chase you’ve ever seen”. Jane Seymour, Yaphet Kotto, David Hedison, Lois Maxwell and Bernard Lee also star.


Funeral in Berlin (1966) BBC4, 10.45p.m.

Michael Caine, who turned 90 earlier this week, started off as the humble son of a Billingsgate fish market porter and is now an acting demi-god. Airing immediately after another chance to see The Ipcress File is this sequel, a classic Sixties drama, and the last decent Harry Palmer movie before the series went off the rails.

He plays the Cockney crook-turned-British spy who cleverly engineers the defection of a Russian officer responsible for the safekeeping of vital military secrets. Eva Renzi, Oscar Homolka, Paul Hubschmid and Guy Doleman are among the supporting cast.

The Palmer movies seemed to get progressively worse after this, with a couple of stinkers released in the mid-Nineties, by which time, Caine was clearly thinking of his pay cheque rather than his legacy.


The Curse of Frankenstein (1957) Talking Pictures TV, 9.05p.m.

Although Hammer Films had been producing movies for decades, it wasn’t until its take on Mary Shelley’s novel hit cinema screens in 1957 that the company became a household name.

Due to image rights held by Universal, Christopher Lee (in his breakthrough role) couldn’t adopt the same block-headed make-up as Boris Karloff had done in the 1930s, but thanks to the fact that he’s seen in glorious Technicolor, Lee’s Monster is far more terrifying.

Screenwriter Jimmy Sangster has taken liberties with the source material, but never mind, Peter Cushing, as the Baron, is so compelling, nobody cares. The plot charts his efforts to create a man using dead body parts – it doesn’t go well. The film was followed by six sequels of varying quality.


Halloween (2018) BBC1, 11.50p.m.

As the 40th anniversary of the Haddonfield murders beckons, true crime podcasters Aaron Korey (Jefferson Hall) and Dana Haines (Rhias Rees) visit Smith’s Grove rehabilitation facility, home of notorious inmate Michael Myers (Nick Castle).

Soon after, the bus which is transferring Michael to a new facility crashes and the hulking predator is released back into the wild. He heads to Haddonfield where Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis), the one woman to survive Myers’ bloodbath, tries in vain to prepare her daughter Karen (Judy Greer) and granddaughter Allyson (Andi Matichak) for the coming storm.

Halloween repeatedly bows its head to John Carpenter’s original film, relying on solid jump scares to ensure a spiralling body count, while Curtis transforms her ‘final girl’ Laurie into a gun-toting avenging angel.


Sister Act (1992) Channel 4, 5.50p.m.

Nightclub singer Deloris Van Cartier (Whoopi Goldberg) needs somewhere safe to stay after she agrees to testify against her gangster boyfriend (Harvey Keitel), and the cops have the perfect hiding place – a convent. She struggles to adapt to life as a nun but starts to bond with her fellow sisters after she rejuvenates the choir.

Her modernising efforts don’t go down well with the starchy Mother Superior (Maggie Smith), but they do get the church a lot of attention – which may not be the best idea for someone who’s supposed to be keeping a low profile.

This feel-good comedy had enough charm to become a box office hit that spawned a sequel and a West End musical. The script was originally written with Bette Midler in mind but it fits Goldberg like a glove, and Smith brings a touch of class to proceedings.


Philomena (2013) BBC1, 11.45p.m.

Jane Lee (Anna Maxwell Martin) discovers her mother Philomena (Judi Dench) fell pregnant as a teenager in 1950s Ireland and was forced to give up the baby to the sisters at Roscrea Abbey.

Jane pitches the story to former Labour advisor-turned-BBC journalist Martin Sixsmith (Steve Coogan), who initially scoffs at the suggestion he should pen an article about the matriarch and her heart-breaking ordeal. After a reality check from his wife Kate (Simone Lahbib), Martin agrees to help Philomena track down her boy.

The tender and unexpectedly touching relationship that forms between these two characters from different generations and backgrounds provides Stephen Frears’s uplifting film with its emotional thrust, as the search for answers moves between continents.


Glass (2019) Film4, 9p.m.

Dr Ellie Staple (Sarah Paulson) is a psychiatrist who specialises in a specific delusion of grandeur: individuals who believe they are superheroes. Working out of Raven Hill Memorial Hospital in Philadelphia, she oversees the treatment of three intriguing individuals: zoo employee Kevin Wendell Crumb (James McAvoy) aka The Beast, security guard David Dunn (Bruce Willis) aka The Overseer, who can unmask sins through touch, and Elijah Price (Samuel L Jackson) aka Mr Glass, whose brilliant mind is condemned to a painfully fragile body.

Glass is a mind-bending thriller, which orchestrates a head-on collision of characters from writer-director M Night Shyamalan’s earlier features, Unbreakable and Split, and features some splashy set pieces, including two brutal, bone-crunching showdowns between McAvoy and Willis.