TPTV Encore: 11 starting points for the Talking Pictures TV streaming service
James R | On 05, Dec 2021
This week saw Christmas come early for lovers of classic cinema, with the launch of TPTV Encore, an on-demand service from Talking Pictures TV.
The UK’s largest independent channel, Talking Pictures TV has a mission to air some of the rarest and greatest gems from film history, plundering the deepest and darkest vaults of Pinewood, Twickenham and Shepperton Studios, with everything playing out in its native aspect ratio. (Find out more about the service and how it works here.)
TPTV Encore couples that archive focus with digital availability, with hundreds of hours of films and TV series available to stream. The library includes catch-up content from the channel’s linear broadcasts (often available on-demand for 7 days after broadcast), along with exclusive interviews and more. Available through any web browser at tptvencore.co.uk, it doesn’t have an app but it does split everything up into easy-to-navigate genres, from monster movies and sci-fi to comedies and a nice smattering of crime thrillers. All presented for free (with adverts), the only question is where to start watching – which is where we come in.
From Cary Grant and Raymond Burr to Sherlock Holmes and Superman as you’ve never seen him before, here are 11 starting points for diving into TPTV Encore:
Max Fleischer’s gorgeously animated series stems from the 1940s, when Paramount held the rights to Superman and the resulting short episodes are at once curiously distinct in what they choose to leave out from the comics and beautifully vintage. You can read our rundown of the best episodes here.
It’s that age old story. Boy meets girl. Boy falls for girl. Boy discovers that girl may or may not be a sea monster with lethal intentions. The fact that you can even describe the plot of Night Tide with a straight face is testament to just how unassumingly effective it is. Curtis Harrington’s 1960 horror stars a young Dennis Hopper and the understated result is more romance than horror kept afloat by an unexpected wave of earnestness.
A Christmas Carol
With the festive season upon us, don’t miss the chance to check out two classic takes on A Christmas Carol. Old Ebenezer Scrooge has appeared in more than 90 movies over the last 100 odd years (effectively one movie per year). And, with Seymour Hicks playing the role for over 2,000 performances on the stage, he’s more than at home in Henry Edwards’ 1935 adaptation – and Alastair Sim’s performance in Brian Desmond Hurst’s 1951 adaptation makes for an interesting comparison.
The Scarlet Pimpernel
Leslie Howard is on iconic form in this 1935 take on the fascinating literary figure – an aristocrat who secretly leads a life freeing nobles from the guillotine. Howard’s charisma sets the tone for a charmingly old-school adventure romance.
If you’re all Sherlocked out from the modern takes on Arthur Conan Doyle’s detective, and you’ve already binged your way through Basil Rathbone’s definitive incarnation, then Ronald Howard’s interpretation from the 1950s – the first US TV adaptation of Doyle’s stories – is a fun alternative.
If you’ve ever felt a shiver on the back of your neck while riding the London Underground, this creepy cannibal thriller is one for you. The presence of Donald Pleasance and Christopher Lee is a bonus.
To Die For
This 1995 drama Gus Van Sant – starring Nicole Kidman, Joaquin Phoenix and Matt Dillon – is a reminder that Talking Pictures TV’s library isn’t always an old-school affair.
Double Indemnity’s Fred MacMurray and
the ever-watchable Raymond Burr square off against each other in this 1950 thriller about an undercover operation to thwart a drug-smuggling ring.
Tread Softly Stranger
Film noir meets kitchen sink realism in this British crime thriller from 1958 that sees two brothers (George Baker, Terence Morgan) in a spot of financial trouble get involved with a femme fatale (Diana Dors).
Britain gets its own answer to Godzilla in this wonderfully entertaining 1961 monster mash that sees a giant lizard wreak havoc in London, knocking down Tower Bridge and Big Ben in the process.
His Girl Friday
Howard Hawks delivered one of the best examples of Hollywood’s early screwball capers with this hugely entertaining romp about a newspaper reporter and the editor of the rag – an excuse for lightning-fast banter between Cary Grant and Rosalind Russell.