That’ll Be the Day, Only You, From Dusk till Dawn, Rio, Tightrope: films on TV today

Essex joins the circus, Eastwood walks a tightrope, Downey goes to Italy and it all goes south for Clooney in Mexico: the RadioTimes team’s pick of free-to-air films on TV today

ANDREW COLLINS:  FILM OF THE DAY 
That’ll Be the Day ★★★★
9.00-11.00pm True Entertainment 

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Singer David Essex, still twinkling – and touring – in his 60s, was quite the heart-throb in 1973 when he starred in this rock ’n’ roll years fable written by Ray Connolly and directed by Claude Whatham. He plays a raffish delinquent wasting his life as a fairground lothario until lured by some old pals into joining a band (not least on the promise of further female attention). Real musicians like Ringo Starr, Keith Moon and Billy Fury add to the authenticity as Essex’s beat combo (confusingly called the Stray Cats), who, at one point, are introduced on stage by David Jacobs! Come the more racy 1974 sequel, Stardust, Essex’s character will be a burnout, but he shines brightly here.


Only You ★★★★
6.45-9.00pm Movie Mix 

Moonstruck director Norman Jewison obviously has a way with kooky, as he also carries off this this reassuringly old-fashioned but slightly bonkers romance. Marisa Tomei plays the bride who runs out on her own wedding to fulfil a romantic prediction from her childhood, with Robert Downey Jr a suitably handsome-looking alternative to bridegroom John Benjamin Hickey. If you’re looking for feel-good, stop right here.


From Dusk till Dawn ★★★★
11.10pm-1.20am Film4 

Desperado crooks George Clooney and Quentin Tarantino may be a match for the  living, but they and their hostages are up against it when they turn up at a sleazy Mexican bar full of vampires, in Robert Rodriguez’s outrageously over-the-top action horror. Tarantino also wrote the screenplay, which is maybe how he got through the casting process – though it’s Clooney who does all the acting, anyway.


Rio ★★★★
1.10-3.00pm Film4

From the outside, this is a predictable against-the-odds family tale with a set-up (Blu is a domesticated macaw who’s too scared to fly) and plot (he’s taken back to Rio to mate with the only other of his kind in captivity) that might feel squeezed into the genre template. But the colourful palette, fun characters and  Latin soundtrack give the movie a contagious feel that will survive multiple viewings.


Tightrope ★★★★
10.00pm-12.25am ITV4 

Clint Eastwood takes a walk on the wild side as a New Orleans detective on the trail of a serial killer with whom he shares the same sexual proclivities. This loosening of the moral high ground turns a straightforward crime drama into a much more daring movie, especially as Clint is also divorced, looking after his two daughters, and has to engage with Geneviève Bujold’s feminist rape prevention officer. 


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