Cabaret, The Insider, Big: films on TV today

Liza Minnelli tangles with the Nazis, Al Pacino fights against Big Tobacco and Tom Hanks wrestles with his inner child: 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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Cabaret ★★★★★
11.35pm-1.35am BBC1 

The central theme of Cabaret is a bisexual love triangle involving Liza Minnelli, Michael York and Helmut Griem but the film, based on Christopher Isherwood’s Berlin Stories, is not really about that. It’s about Berlin itself in the early 1930s – the Weimar Republic is in decline, Hitler is on the rise and the citizens, denying the certainty that bad times are coming, are frenetically seeking pleasure. They find it in the Kit-Kat cabaret club where the master of ceremonies, the excellent Joel Grey, cracks dangerous political jokes to keep them laughing. This is an unusual musical, funny, serious and with some great songs, that leaves you thinking that, yes, this is how it probably was in Berlin at the time.


Carve Her Name with Pride ★★★★

12.20-2.15pm BBC2 

After being widowed during the Second World War, a woman throws herself into espionage work. It’s an extraordinary real-life story with a gutsy turn by Virginia McKenna.    


The Insider ★★★★★

12.30-3.15am C4 

Al Pacino’s intense performance as an investigative TV producer makes this fact-based drama unmissable, while Michael Mann’s meticulous direction injects tension into every scene.     


Big ★★★★

6.55-9.00pm Film Four 

Two-time Oscar winner Tom Hanks got his first nomination for acting like a big kid in this irresistible body swap comedy. He is so talented he can even play the piano with his feet.     


Raw Deal ★★★

11.15pm-1.25am ITV4 

It’s back to basics for Arnold Schwarzenegger in an entertainingly mindless action thriller in which the big man’s expressionless cop goes after a Chicago mobster.    


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