A list of the top 5 Films on UK TV this Christmas and New Year.
Lots and lots of movies on UK terrestrial and digital TV this year. I’ve leafed through the listings and teased out the top 5 films you should watch:
Gone With the Wind (1939)
Christmas Eve, Channel 5. 9:30am
Lasting almost as long as the American Civil War that forms the backdrop to this classic romance, Gone With the Wind still divides the critic down the middle in terms of its racist content, pot-hole riddled plotting and vast duration. It also features some of the smartest dialogue around, indelible, legendary performances and general air of Hollywood greatness seeping out of every frame of celluloid. A labour of love from producer/maestro David O. Selznick that demands to be seen. If you’re one of the few people who hasn’t seen it, then do.
A film that works by stealth, Alexander Payne’s slow-burning comic drama ambles along at the same speed as the shuffling Bruce Dern, Oscar-nominated as Woody, an infirm man determined to claim a sweepstake prize that is clearly only a marketing ploy. His son and later wife (hilariously played by June Squibb) accompany him for a black and white road movie. Painfully precise in its observations, this is one to sit and enjoy, despite the fact that not much happens.
The Silence of the Lambs (1991)
30 December, Turner Classic Movies, 9pm
Jodie Foster, Anthony Hopkins and quite a few other people won Oscars for their part in this modern day Gothic horror. Uniquely unsettling, terrifying even, director Jonathan Demme takes us deep into the psychology of evil and good in the hunt for a girl who has been kidnapped by a serial killer. No one will emerge unscathed after this journey.
The Vikings (1958)
New Year’s Eve, Channel 5, 1pm
Kirk Douglas and Tony Curtis view for ridiculously over-bosomed Welsh Princess Janet Leigh in this lusty and rambunctious ‘Norse Opera’. Muscular, manly fun, in particular the scenes in the impressively designed Viking home, filmed on location in Norway.
For full review.
Mary Poppins (1964)
New Year’s Day, BBC1, 2:10pm
If there were a General Nanny Council, they’d have struck Mary Poppins off the register for some of what she gets up to in this film. Freely letting her charges (adorable Karen Dotrice and Matthew Garber) run off so she can dance with chimney sweep Bert (Dick van Dyke) and then getting drunk on duty. Tut, tut, these modern nannies, so it’s a good job then that the songs in this much-loved Disney musical are so good and the film is ‘practically perfect in every way’.