Films of the week: Gary Cooper trains his sights on myths of the Old West in High Noon

 

Monday

High Noon

11am Film4

(Fred Zinnemann, 1952) Small- town marshal Gary Cooper endures a long night of the soul while anticipating one of cinema's most famous showdowns, with an old foe who is due to arrive in town on the midday train. Grace Kelly co-stars as the lawman's new wife, who tries to talk him out of it. Moral enquiry and taut, expressionistic, real-time drama combine in one of the finest films about the Old West. *****

Saturday

Mahanagar

1.20am Channel 4

(Satyajit Ray, 1963) The great Madhabi Mukherjee stars in this typically sensitive and rewarding Satyajit Ray film, as a young woman who blossoms after taking a job selling knitting machines door-to-door in Fifties Calcutta. It gets her out of her cramped apartment and into The Big City (which is the film's English title), but the disapproval of her extended family is harder to escape. ****

Sunday

London Boulevard

10pm Channel 5

(William Monahan, 2010) This familiar old story of an ex-con (Colin Farrell) attempting to go straight for the love of a woman (Keira Knightley) distinguishes itself with a cast of colourful secondary characters whom you care something for. And while it may have an air of unreality, the US screenwriter William Monahan demonstrates an impressive ear for the vernacular of British gangster films.***

Tuesday

Rio Bravo

3pm TCM

(Howard Hawkes, 1959) If you only ever see one John Wayne Western, try to make it this one: a masterful examination of masculinity and duty, with a careful approach to character building and fine action set-pieces. The Duke plays a small-town sheriff holed up in his office, attempting to fend off a clan of bad guys with the help of a young gun-slinger (Ricky Nelson) and a drunk (Dean Martin).*****

Wednesday

Ali: Fear Eats the Soul

10.20pm Sky Arts 1

(Rainer Werner Fassbinder, 1973) In this classic of the German new wave, as in All That Heaven Allows, the Douglas Sirk film that inspired it, the relationship between a middle-aged woman and a younger man throws society's prejudices into sharp relief. But this time the man is an Arab and the prejudices are racial. It's as vivid a melodrama as Sirk's film, but crueller and more uncompromising. Brigitte Mira stars. *****

Thursday

In the Mood for Love

11am Film4

(Wong Kar-wai, 2000) A masterfully controlled and elegant tango of a film, about a man (Tony Leung) and a woman (Maggie Cheung) in neighbouring apartments in Sixties Hong Kong, who find some consolation in one another's company after discovering that their respective spouses are having an affair. Impeccably styled and achingly restrained, it is this generation's Brief Encounter. *****

Friday

Primer

10.50pm Film4

(Shane Carruth, 2004) This ingenious and resolutely indie sci-fi film doesn't have any special effects at all, and is all the more convincing because of it. It's about some smart young start-up engineers tinkering in a suburban garage. Don't be disheartened if you find it hard to follow: the technical dialogue and knotty timeline paradoxes are designed to make your brain hurt. David Sullivan and Shane Carruth star. ****

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