On the Town, Beowulf, (500) Days of Summer, Ferris Bueller Day Off: films on TV today

A siren calls, sailors on leave, school-kids bunk off and summer loving: the RadioTimes team’s pick of free-to-air films on TV today

On the Town ★★★★★
11.40pm-1.15am BBC4 


MGM producer Arthur Freed could seemingly do no wrong between the late 1930s and mid-50s, when he made musicals such as Meet Me in St Louis, Easter Parade, An American in Paris and Singin’ in the Rain. On the Town, co-directed by Stanley Donen and its star Gene Kelly, with music by Leonard Bernstein, remains another firm favourite, with Kelly, Frank Sinatra and — the one they always forget — Jules Munshin as sailors on 24-hour shore leave in New York. There’s romance for all three — although Kelly has the hardest job trying to woo Vera-Ellen’s “Miss Turnstiles” — and actual location filming at Manhattan landmarks, which was far from the done thing in musicals at the time. The crucial tune is New York, New York, and the top of the Empire State proves the most memorable setting, where the title song is staged. Good clean fun, at a time when everyone loved a sailor. 

Beowulf ★★★★ 
10.40pm-12.40am ITV 

Ray Winstone reveals a digital six-pack as the saga of heroic derring-do, based on the epic poem, gets the performance capture treatment. But is he a match for the super sultry Angelina Jolie?     

(500) Days of Summer ★★★
7.10-9.00pm Film4 

Joseph Gordon-Levitt thinks he’s found ‘the one’ in Summer (that’s Zooey Deschanel), except she doesn’t believe in love. (Ouch.) Director Marc Webb guides us back and forth through their very indie romance.     

Ferris Bueller’s Day Off ★★★★
9.00-11.05pm E4 

Eighties’ golden boy Matthew Broderick skips school for a day of full-on fun with his friends in downtown Chicago, but the principal is hot on their trail. Another one of those classic John Hughes teen flicks.    

Don’t Say a Word ★★★ 
9.00-11.15pm More4 

Michael Douglas stars in a decent potboiler (no rabbits were harmed…) where he tries to unlock the secret to his daughter’s disappearance, from inside Brittany Murphy’s addled mind. 



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