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The Fourth Protocol (1987)

This Cold War thriller was based on the novel by Frederick Forsyth and gives an early lead role to future James Bond star Pierce Brosnan. This time, though, Brosnan plays a Soviet spy, working on a plot to detonate a nuclear bomb in Britain, and Michael Caine is the British agent who has to stop him. Caine plays John Preston, an agent of Britain's internal security service MI5. Preston is one of those troublesome mavericks so popular in the movies, who are always breaking rules and clashing with their bosses. Preston is barely tolerated by the acting head of the service, the unctuous Brian Harcourt-Smith (Julian Glover), and when the opportunity arises Preston is shuffled off to the relative backwater department overseeing airports and ports.  In his new post, Preston is sent to investigate when a sailor is killed in an accident while trying to leave a Soviet ship in Glasgow docks at 2 am. The Russian sailor was challenged as he tried to leave and ran into an oncoming lorry. Among
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2020: The Year in Review

Yes, it's the end of another year and time to find out what's been happening this year on your favourite website with the words "cinema" and "essentials" in the name. This year we have Top Tens, lame jokes, weird web searches and even some sexy pictures.  So grab your brew of choice, make yourself comfy in your favourite chair, and we'll get started. For me that means slouching decoratively on the sofa, with a decent cup of coffee and a plate of dark chocolate digestives (the king of biscuits!). Are you comfortable? OK then, let's start.

The Great St. Trinian's Train Robbery (1966)

The Great St. Trinian's Train Robbery is the fourth and penultimate film in the long-running St. Trinian's comedy series. It's the first in the series to be made in colour, and the only one to be directed by both Frank Launder and Sidney Gilliat. It's also the final film in the series to star George Cole as "Flash Harry", the last remaining principal character from the original film. The film begins with a gang of crooks carrying out a daring heist. According to the newspaper headlines the next day, the gang have made off with £2.5 million in the biggest ever mail train robbery. They stash the stolen loot under the floorboards of an old country house, Hamingwell Grange. The house is currently standing empty and the gang intend to return to it and recover the money when the coast is clear. Meanwhile, a new Labour Government has just been elected and the civil servants at the Ministry of Schools are ecstatic. It looks like this will mean the end of the nation&#

16 Alternative Takes on Sherlock Holmes

Arthur Conan Doyle's fictional sleuth Sherlock Holmes was first introduced to readers in 1887 in The Strand magazine's serialisation of   his first adventure A Study in Scarlet . Well over a hundred years later and Holmes is still going strong, having become comfortably the most famous fictional detective of all time. Even his death, in  The Final Problem in 1893, proved to be only a minor setback in his career.  Martin Freeman as Watson and Benedict Cumberbatch as Holmes in the BBC's "Sherlock"

The Pure Hell of St. Trinian's (1960)

This second sequel to   The Belles of St. Trinian's  begins with the inevitable finally happening. The young tearaways of St. Trinian's School have managed to burn the whole building to the ground. The entire school of 200 pupils is then put on trial for arson at the Old Bailey. It seems that nothing can save them, until glamorous blonde sixth former Rosalie (Julie Alexander) catches the eye of the Judge (Raymond Huntley), hoping to get the school more lenient treatment. Thanks to Rosalie, the Judge is better disposed towards St. Trinian's by the time a child psychologist and doctor of philosophy, Professor Canford (Cecil Parker), formerly of the University of Baghdad, steps forward with a proposal to build a new school. These girls aren't bad, he argues, they are simply the inevitable product of today's troubled society. All they need is some love.  At that point the Judge seems to be lost in reverie thinking about Rosalie again. But Professor Canford regains hi

Miss Grant Goes to the Door (1940)

Britain's Ministry of Information produced or sponsored a range of short films during World War II. Some were stirring and inspiring, like Words for Battle , narrated by Laurence Olivier, or Britain at Bay , written and narrated by J. B. Priestley.  Others were informative, passing on important messages. These included a series on the dangers of "careless talk" , as well as individual films about the importance of observing the blackout ( Mr. Proudfoot Shows a Light ), how to deal with incendiary bombs ( Go to Blazes , with the comedian Will Hay), what to put out for salvage ( Salvage with a Smile ) and how to grow your own veg (Dig for Victory ). But 1940's  Miss Grant Goes to the Door offers a more sobering lesson - how to act during a German invasion.

Left, Right and Centre (1959)

This comedy stars Ian Carmichael as Robert Wilcot, a zoologist and explorer turned TV personality, who has decided to run for Parliament. Wilcot will stand as the Conservative Party candidate for the Parliamentary constituency of Earndale. The area was his childhood home and the location of Wilcot Priory, the family seat and current residence of his uncle, Lord Wilcot (Alastair Sim). Robert Wilcot is confident of his prospects in the election, and doesn't think he will have too much trouble against the Labour Party candidate, a "bluestocking battleaxe" from the London School of Economics. Especially as he can deploy the most potent new political weapon of the age - his television fame. Wilcot swapped zoology and exploration for the life of a celebrity and TV personality on a popular panel game show called  What on Earth Was That? On the train up to Earnley, the biggest town in the area, Wilcot meets an attractive young woman, Stella (Patricia Bredin). They get along fam