Small Screen Machine

Our weekly recommendations of great films on the telly

We hope you found time to watch one or more of last week’s recommendations. Thanks to all of you who got in touch to show your appreciation.

So for this week’s eclectic mix we have a Top Pick from 1948 plus 6 others, including a children’s film and documentary. The top pick is from Robert, who is a huge fan of Talking Pictures TV.

Ealing Studios didn’t just make comedies.  Saraband for Dead Lovers (1948is a sumptuous tragic romance, and, given its scandalous insights into the private lives of what became the Hanoverian dynasty, would make a fascinating double bill with last year’s hit, The Favourite, as well as being a lot more historically accurate! The cast is ideal, including a very touching Joan Greenwood, and Dame Flora Robson as you’ve never seen her.  Unusually for Ealing, it’s in gorgeous Technicolour.  This is just one of many treasures to be discovered on the wonderful Talking Pictures TV channel.

Saraband for Dead Lovers (1948, U)
Talking Pictures TV (Freeview 81)
Sunday 29 March at 11am

And a few more ideas from me, but I admit I have nicked a couple of these from other members of the team.

Until next week, stay safe and well everyone.


(1985, 15)
Friday 27th at 9pm

Oscar winning crime thriller, starring Harrison Ford and Kelly McGillis. Whilst in Philadelphia, a young Amish boy witnesses a murder. Ford plays the cop who goes undercover to find the killer.  Look out for the ‘building the barn’ scene and Viggo Mortensen in his first role.

The Last Days of Frank and Jesse James
(1986, 15)
Tuesday 31st at 1.05pm
Sony Movies Action
Country music legends Johnny Cash and Kris Kristofferson star in this made-for-TV Western as the outlaw brothers, Frank and Jesse James. June Carter Cash (Johnny’s wife) plays their Mum and Willie Nelson is a Confederate general. Lovely cinematography. Sound like 100 minutes well spent.

Vice Versa

(1988, PG)
Monday 30 March at 4.50pm
Sony Movies
Fantasy comedy which is a very decent example of ‘body-swap’ films that gripped Hollywood in the 1980s. An executive returns from a trip to Thailand with a mysterious artifact that causes him to change places with his 11 year old son. Horrified Dad struggles to cope with the world of teachers and school – his Son loves the perks of being a grown-up.

Evil Under The Sun
(1982, PG)
Sunday 29th at 3.05pm

We know Screen Machine customers enjoy a murder mystery – Knives Out and Murder on the Orient Express both had sell out screenings. So here’s an Agatha Christie from 1982, with Peter Ustinov starring as Hercule Poirot. When a murder is committed om an exclusive island resort, everyone has an alibi. Also stars Maggie Smith, James Mason and Jane Birkin.

Score: Cinema’s Greatest Soundtracks
(2016, 15)
Thursday 2 April at 11pm

This week’s documentary pick is Score: Cinema’s Greatest Soundtracks. Hollywood composers including Hans Zimmer, Ennio Moriconne, Danny Elfman, John Williams and Quincy Jones give a privileged look at the musical and creative challenges of writing a filmscore. The history of film music is also covered. We think the sound quality on the Screen Machine is really very special, which is great because as director James Cameron says, a film score is a film’s “heart and soul”.

A Taste of Honey
(1961, 15)
Tuesday 31st at 9pm
Sony Movies Classic


Ground breaking in its time. Based on Shelagh Delaney’s play, Jo is an unwanted teenage daughter who is saved from a living hell by two social exiles: a black sailor, who makes her happy, and a friend who is homosexual. It’s a romance and a comedy, but most importantly it stands as a record of society’s attitudes in the early 60s.


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