Sleepy Hollow, Hugo, Becket: films on TV today

Johnny Depp seeks a headless horseman, Martin Scorsese travels to 1930s Paris, and Burton and O'Toole in one of the great screen pairings: the RadioTimes team’s pick of free-to-air films on TV today

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BARRY NORMAN:  FILM OF THE DAY 

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Sleepy Hollow ★★★★
11.15pm-1.20am Film4 

An interesting take by Tim Burton on Washington Irving’s creepy tale of horror – “interesting” being another way of saying that, while there’s much to commend it, the film doesn’t entirely work. Burton’s frequent collaborator Johnny Depp plays Ichabod Crane, a New York policeman with forensic ideas ahead of his time who, in 1799, is sent to the hamlet of Sleepy Hollow to investigate the brutal decapitation of several victims. Everyone there knows who the killer is – a headless Hessian mercenary who roams the neighbourhood, killing people and searching for his missing bonce. Depp, slightly camp, slightly English-sounding, doesn’t believe in the undead, thinks there’s a conspiracy afoot and looks for a living culprit. Burton handles the shock Hammer-type horror and general atmosphere very well, but a romance between Depp and Christina Ricci is unconvincing as is the denouement. Still, it’s entertaining and elegantly done, Depp is impressive and a strong supporting cast includes Christopher Walken, Martin Landau, Michael Gambon and Richard Griffiths.


Becket ★★★★

1.15-3.40pm BBC2 

Peter O’Toole is Henry II, Richard Burton Thomas Becket and it’s a case of stand back and marvel as two titans of acting bring one of the archetypal power struggles roaring onto the screen. 


Hugo ★★★

3.20-5.50pm Film4 

Martin Scorsese ditches the gangsters for this multi-Oscar-winning family movie about an orphaned boy living in a Paris railway station in the 1930s.     


Fools Rush In ★★★

6.45-9.00pm Movie Mix 

Wasp Matthew Perry (remember him?) has a one-night stand with Mexican Salma Hayek (remember her?) that results in pregnancy. The odd couple decide to make a go of things, but their families and cultural differences put several obstacles in the path of true love, in a 90s romcom that is worth seeking out.    


The River Wild ★★★★

11.20pm-1.35am 5STAR 

Single-minded mum Meryl Streep and crazy criminal Kevin Bacon make waves in this white-knuckle ride of a thriller set on the foaming rapids.    


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