“ Genre: Musicals & Classical / Theatrical Release: 1972 / Actors: Liza Minnelli, Joel Grey, Michael York, Helmut Griem, Marisa Berenson, Fritz Wepper ... / DVD released 04 October, 2004 at Prism Leisure Corporation / Features of the DVD: PAL „
* Prices may differ from that shown
It has been 40 years since a young Liza Minelli and Michael York took on the lead roles for this semi-musical based based on the 1966 Broadway musical of the same name. Much of the entertainment comes from Minelli, while the vast majority of the emotion emanates from York's performance, the main plot dominating as you'd expect but with clever strings of sub plots running throughout.
This sits firmly in Empire's top 500 films of all time, but I honestly can't say I found it to be that amazing. It's certainly good, but there's nothing that astounds, amazes or makes you sit up and pay more attention than the majority of films would, to be honest.
Minelli stars as Sally, a young American singer at a cabaret club in 1930s Berlin. York is Brian, the Englishman she falls for but who resists her early advances citing his poor luck in choosing physical partners in the past. The two become friends and later lovers against the backdrop of the ever increasing hold that the Nazi party exhibits over the country, while their Jewish friends suffer, money raises its important head and music and dance seem the only genuine escapes.
The acting is very good from our two leads, and they are well supported by Joel Grey as the Emcee, who provides the bulk of the musical interludes in the film. These serve to continue the story and allow hidden meanings to come out for us as viewers, and Grey leads these very well. York's emotion fluctuates throughout the film, and his is perhaps the better performance. Minelli is very good, but there's no short measure of over acting at times, and this does put me off somewhat, and reminds me that this is an actress performing and not a real person I'm watching.
The direction from Bob Fosse is very good, patience shown throughout the film to let the story tell itself. I admired this and thought that it worked better because it wasn't rushed. The choreography in the musical sections is matched by that of the emotional choreography throughout the film, something to certainly be praised as you realise that what this is about above all else is romance, and how two unsuited people try to push their low self confidence to one side in order to be happy.
However, it does show that this is sometimes just not possible. The self destructive nature of two people in love is shown to be fickle when one charming rich person is thrown into the fray, and the elements of religion and politics are given their just desserts with the occasional scene focusing on them. I think most things are shown in here, right down to the genuine sexual illnesses certain dodgy clubs housed. Again, merely mentioned, but enough to be memorable.
It's all here, but this is probably one for the purists - its entertainment factor has limits as the story's depth is quite specific. Minelli's finale of singing is well worth a watch, as are all of the musical elements, and you can see that this is Fosse's forte, but don't be put off by my initial reluctance to warrant its place in the top 500. It's still a very good film, but not nearly as good as I had thought it would be. Still, this is the benefit of personal opinion, I suppose. Others may disagree and I know some people who think this to be genius. You can make your own mind up.
Cabaret was made in 1972 and starred Liza Minelli in the lead role of Sally Bowles. It is an excellent musical with a better than average plot when compared with similar films in this genre.
Set in between the wars Berlin when the rest of the world was enduring the Great Depression and Germany was being hit by the double wammy of recession aggravated by the cost of losing the First World War and the reperations they had to make it has as a backdrop the rise to power of the Nazi Party led by Adolph Hitler.
The Kit Kat Club is a seedy cabaret club in the city and Sally is an American singer at the club who leads a wild life of partying and frivolity and the life is the club is contrasted against the violence and poverty that is all around in Berlin. She meets a meek English man called Brian, played by Michael York and after she fails to seduce him they actually become friends however her debauched life style has a way of catching up with the pair of them.
This is an excellent musical with a number of super songs that have now become very well known thanks to the success of both the film and stage performances. Minelli is good in the lead role and while it is her singing and dancing that are most in evidence rather than her acting ability she does have a pair of legs to die for as well and I'm rather jealous.
The film does have a serious side and the contrasts between the club atmosphere and the life on the streets as the Nazi brown shirts exert greater control through fear and violence are well staged and made all the more obvious as the film progresses.
A top notch musical that has stood the test of time and in my opinion is better the the newer Moulin Rouge. It can also be picked up for the bargain price of £2.50 from Amazon.
This is a review of the film Cabaret, staring a young Liza Minnelli (well it is from 1972!).
I'm currently working my way through a pile of free DVDs my parents have collected from the Daily Mail and this is one of them. I am trying hard to review films without just retelling the storyline but sometimes it can be difficult to get the balance between opinion and content right! I quite enjoy musicals and have seen most so not sure how I got to the age of 31 without seeing a film as famous as Cabaret.
Set in Berlin in 1931 as the Nazis rise to power, the silliness and frivolity taking place in the nightclub is offset with the violence and political agenda taking place at the same time. I think you can watch the film on several levels, as there is the personal relationship(s) taking place with Sally Bowles (Liza) as well.
Cabaret is based around a seedy nightclub called the Kit Kat Klub and the songs provide entertainment with amusing dancing throughout. I found a few similarities with the Moulin Rouge storyline which also addresses serious issues throughout.
I also enjoyed the costumes in Cabaret, there is always something to look at and laugh at too - some of the dancer's outfits are outrageous!
My favourite song is 'Maybe this time' followed by 'Money makes the world go round' and the film ends with the classic self titled 'Life is a Cabaret'.
The lead character (Sally) is very likable in this film. She's a bit ditzy, a little crazy at times and quirky but she comes across as fun to be with.
I'll end this review with an amusing fact about this film: In an interview given at the time of the film's release, Liza said you could tell she was the star of the cabaret in which the movie is set because she's the only performer with shaved armpits.
Ladies and Gentlemen, wilkommen... bienvenue... welcome to the Kit Kat Klub, a world of decadence, delight and depravity- a world where your innermost fantasies and darkest thoughts can be played out in the world of cabaret.
If you thought all musicals were light and fluffy stuff, think again! Cabaret the film is the result of a long evolutionary process, being loosely based on two short stories written in the 1930s by Christopher Isherwood, 'Sally Bowles' and 'Goodbye to Berlin'. It then became a stage musical, with songs written by John Kander and Fred Ebb (who also wrote Chicago), and finally it made it onto the silver screen in 1972, courtesy of director Bob Fosse. However, compared to the glitzy dream song and dance sequences of Chicago, Cabaret has a far darker, more sinister, sleazy tone.
Cabaret is set against the backdrop of the rise of Nazi Germany and centres on the character of Sally Bowles (Liza Minelli), an American cabaret singer at the Kit Kat Klub. When Englishman Brian Roberts (Michael York), arrives in Berlin with the intention of teaching English, he encounters Sally while looking for a place to stay and rents a room in the same building. Despite the fact that Brian hasn't had much luck with women in the past, Sally sets about seducing him and he becomes sucked into the world of the cabaret. But will Sally and Brian's relationship survive once rich aristocrat Maximilian von Heune is initiated into their circle of friends? And what will become of Brian and Sally's friend, Fritz, a gold-digger, when he becomes involved with Natalia, a jewish heiress?
Joel Grey plays the sleazy, grotesque Emcee, or the Master of Ceremonies, who acts as an overseer of the entire film, commenting on the action as well as appearing on stage in the cabaret. Fosse described the film as 'a drama with music' and this is very much the vision presented in the film. The songs are confined to the stage platform and the characters don't suddenly burst into song. In fact, the recent film of Chicago steals ideas from this film by the handful! That's not to say that the songs aren't any good though- every one is catchy and guaranteed to be popping into your head weeks later! Kander & Ebb wrote 3 songs especially for the film, 'Maybe this time', 'Mein Herr' and 'Money, money.' From the disturbing Nazi anthem, 'Tomorrow belongs to me' to the stupendously sexy 'Mein Herr', the songs are just fabulous, very influenced by the musical style of Kurt Weill, with each one providing an enlightening insight into a character or a situation.
Armed with the information that this is a Bob Fosse film, it's not surprising that the choreography is stunning. One of the most iconic images of the twentieth century is that of Liza Minelli singing 'Mein Herr', with her Louise Brooks style haircut, dressed in a bowler hat, waistcoat, stockings and suspenders, draped, legs spread, across a chair in one of the most fantastically energetic dance scenes ever filmed. Like the songs, the dances aren't just there to look good, there is always a thought and an impulse behind each step, investing the dances with an strong impact.
The political tension casts a huge shadow over the film, and one of the most shocking scenes involves the cabaret performers performing a sort-of Austrian style spanking dance while, outside the club, the camera cuts to a group of Nazi supporters violently beating a man up. The tension and building atmosphere of violence in the 'real' outside world alongside the decadence of the 'dreamlike' cabaret world give this film an uneasy but powerful impact. In fact, despite being over 30 years old, Cabaret has aged very well and still maintains the same impact.
Michael York's portrayal of the quiet Englishman struggling with his sexuality amid the wild decadence of the cabaret is perfect, while Liza Minelli truly sparkles in the role of the 'divinely decadent' Sally Bowles, unsurprising when you learn that the part was originally written with her in mind. Portraying a character who is at once brash but vulnerable, and infuriating but loveable, Minelli was thoroughly deserving of the Best Actress Oscar she won for this film (and I am one of Ms. Minelli's biggest critics!) and she belts out the songs as only she can. Joel Grey was another Oscar winner, this time for Best Supporting Actor, and he plays the Emcee perfectly, knowing exactly when to camp it up and give a knowing wink or a suggestive smirk to the camera. The chemistry between Grey and Minelli is sensational, especially in the gloriously materialist 'Money, Money', where they seem to delight in feeding off each other's responses.
The only possible disadvantage of Cabaret is that, compared to the slick production of modern films, the lighting and picture quality look slightly dated but, to me, this seems to add to the atmosphere and effect of the film.
If you're looking for a DVD with a vast amount of special features you'll be delighted with the 30th Anniversary edition: It contains the 1997 documentary "Cabaret: A Legend in the Making", which includes interviews with the cast and the production team, as well as a glimpse at initial the screen tests. The 1972 documentary "The Re-creation of an Era" is also included, although this is shorter and less informative. The 'Kit Kat Klub Memory Gallery' features reminiscences from the cast (including Liza Minelli, Michael York, and Joel Grey) and creators (Kander & Ebb, Cy Feuer- the producer), showing how the characters were styled and costumed.
Moving onto more traditional DVD extras, we have the original US theatrical trailer, songs menu, photo gallery and production notes and trivia.
Overall, this is fantastically made film, providing an almost nightmarish, thought provoking glimpse into the world of 1930s Berlin. It's not an enjoyable film as such, more a well made piece of art, but if you like the darker, grittier side of cinema, you'll certainly appreciate this and if you're a fan of musicals this is a must-have for your collection. If you enjoyed Chicago, go see this now- it's much better! Just don't expect a sugar-coated, Disney-style happy ending.
The Standard price for this special edition DVD is £19.99, but dvd.co.uk have it for only £13.99
My copy of the DVD came free as part of the presentation of the Times Film Festival. The film released in 1972 by the ABC Pictures Corp has been deemed fit for viewing by the Censors Office for persons aged 15 years or over. A hit musical film of decadent, pre - war Berlin based on the Kander - Ebb musical from John van Drutens play I am camera, and book by Joe Masteroff.
The major players of the cast are:
LIZA MINNELLI as Sally Bowles.
MICHAEL YORK as Brian Roberts.
HELMUT GRIEM as Maximilian von Heume.
JOEL GREY as Master of Ceremonies.
FRITZ WEPPER as Fritz Wendel.
The film won 8 Oscars. Dances and musical numbers by Bob Fosse, screenplay by Jay Presson Allen. Produced by Cy Fever, directed by Bob Fosse.
Cabaret brings 1931 Berlin (The Weimer Republic era) to life inside and outside the
Kit Kat club ( A female girlie club). Starry eyed American Sally Bowles romances 2 men while the Nazi party rises to in power to become a brutal force in the streets outside. Whilst inside impish emcee (Joel Grey) and Sally sound the call for decadent fun. Into this world comes British language teacher (Michael York) who falls for Sallys charm and soon, the 2 of them find themselves embroiled in the turmoil and decadence of the era.
The film is a burlesque nightmare, amazingly directed and photographed, filled with great songs. Liza Minnelli is the centre piece of the film a multifaceted portrayal of a hedonistic and increasingly dangerous society. The film opens in the Kit Kat club with a live show of girlie performers. The cinematic experience in terms of technicolour and style appears a little dated by today's standards and is in my mind reminiscent of A Clockwork Orange. The songs are great and Liza Minnelli certainly knows how to belt out the numbers. Now classics songs such as Money makes the world go round and If You Could See Her. The picture often cuts between action in the Kit Kat club and the outside world, sometimes the brutal street life of rising Nazi Germany and the more intimate life of Sally Bowles.
Cabaret is more than a musical, it is a tough, satirical, acrid and provoking show, I found it racy and very sexy. As a background to the entertainment some insights into life in pre Nazi Germany as the Nazi party rise to power. An eerie, glowing tinderbox full of grinning souls and desperate laughter. I really enjoyed it and will probably watch the DVD again. The central characters are well played by York, Minnelli and Grey. York and Minnelli who went onto better and bigger things. As a trivia point in the original Broadway version, the main characters are an American writer and English singer. In the film version they are an English writer and an American singer.
Liza Minnelli has rarely had a better movie opportunity to showcase her undoubted talents than Cabaret, the 1972 satirical dissection of the rise of Nazism in the early 1930's. The daughter of the tortured Julie Garland received an Oscar nomination for Best Actress in her first starring role in The Sterile Cuckoo in 1969, and she also featured in the obscure 1970 film, Tell Me That You Love Me, Julie Moon, and appeared with Albert Finney in 1968's Charlie Bubbles, but it will always be as the vivid and vibrant performer Sally Bowles in the decadent Kit Kat club that she will be best remembered. This is with good reason as the film allowed Minnelli to make the most of her singing and dancing abilities, but it also gave her tremendous rein as an actress, opposite Michael York, who also gave a sterling performance as the reserved young Englishman Brian. The other key performance here was that of Joel Grey as the sleazy master of ceremonies in the club, and his spiteful and barbed torturing of the freak and the pervert who populated the club was at times almost frightening. However, it was the wonderful Minnelli who was the living, breathing heart of the piece, and she well merited the Oscar she ran away with. The film won eight Oscars in total and was unlucky to be up against the even more masterful Godfather as Best Picture. Cabaret is a stupendous piece of entertainment, operating effortlessly and effectively at a myriad of different levels, whether as a thrilling musical or a startling docudrama. The soundtrack consisted of the following tracks. 1. Willkommen - Joel Grey 2. Mein Herr - Liza Minnelli 3. Two Ladies - Joel Grey 4. Maybe This Time - Liza Minnelli 5. Sitting Pretty (instrumental) 6. Tiller Girls (instrumental) 7. Money, Money - Joel Grey 8. Heiraten (Married) 9. If You Could See Her - Joel Grey 10. Tomorrow Belongs To Me 11. Cabaret - Liza Minnelli 12. Finale - Joel Grey These were taken almost exclusively from the performances in the night club, with Willkommen, Cabaret and Money, Money being the most memorable. Outside of the context of the film the songs don't make that much sense, but when woven into the plotline and considered as the framework for a Europe on the brink of tyranny and war constitute an astonishing piece of work, and that is how they should be enjoyed. There are few better exposes of the terror and hatred of the rise of Nazism than Cabaret and the director Bob Fosse created a wonderful mood and atmosphere in the dark nights of Berlin. At the same time, the strange obsession and love affair between York and Minnelli are well staged and explored and a useful sub plot, but Cabaret stands or falls on its depiction of the callousness and viciousness of the Nazi youth. It's a truly memorable movie, one of the best of an outstanding decade for films and deserves to be remembered as such.
Wilkomen to the world of Cabaret. A world of divine decadence portrayed with skill; mixing laughter, romance, sexuality, song and a dash of political rumblings - the perfect cocktail that you'll enjoy drinking in all night. Cabaret was made in 1972, a year when the Godfather could have run away with all of the awards. Instead this film was the only other serious contender in that year's awards ceremonies, picking up eight Oscars and winning many more throughout the year. This film is based on the stage-play of the film of the semi-autobiographical book (getting a bit tenuous now isn't it), 'Farewell Berlin', by Christopher Isherwood. Although, I think director Bob Fosse has created a really enjoyable and well judged film Isherwood thought that this final incarnation was pretty but fake - I think it's a lot more. The film opens with the compere of the cabaret and film, Joel Grey, welcoming us to the slightly seedy but energetic world of the Kit Kat Club, at the same time as Brian Roberts (Michael York) enters Berlin in 1931. Brian first meets Sally Bowles (Liza Minelli), one of the Kit Kat Club's prime attractions, when he is searching for somewhere to stay. The room available is cramped and certainly not suitable for Brian's English lessons, so Sally suggests using her room when she is out - which is most of the time, (but unfortunately not always). She is desperately trying to get into films, and is not afraid to use her feminine wiles in order to do so. Even though Brian isn't going to be able to help her in that regard, she turns her attentions on him and tries to seduce him. Unfortunately for her, Brian has been unsuccessful with women - but is Sally going to be different? And, what will the introduction of a rich aristocrat Maximilian von Heune (Helmut Griem) do to Sally and Brian's relationship? What will happen to a friend of Sally's and student of Brian's, Fritz Wendel (Fritz Wepper
) who plays the gigolo, but might just be falling for a Jewish heiress, Natalia Landauer (Marisa Berenson), at just the wrong time? What will the rise of fascism in Germany do to all of our 'friends'? The first thing that strikes you about this film is the cabaret, and that's not just because the film opens and ends in the Kit Kat Club. Fosse's direction, choreography and the catchy and energetic songs do make these little interludes compelling to watch, but it is also the function of the cabaret that makes it interesting. Each and every scene in the club adds something to the plot, as Joel Grey plays the role of the grotesque compere commenting on the action. In one particular instance, the cabaret makes suggestions about the sexual shenanigans of certain characters that are later proven to be correct. Now, any of you with any kind of theatrical knowledge may have picked up on three words in the last sentence - 'interlude', 'commentary' and 'song'. I have one word for you 'Brecht'. For the rest of you, I had better explain. Bertolt Brecht was a theatrical practitioner working in Germany at the time this film was set. (Soon to flee when his communist ideology became more than a little unpopular.) He believed that theatre should teach the masses in a way that would encourage them to participate in the same way as spectators at a boxing match. The main difference between film and theatre is the live actor, in a theatre you would be more likely to be able to do this, but in a cinema it may be enough to hope that you can keep the audience engrossed - and these cabaret scenes certainly do that. The songs do have quite a lot to do with this. They are infectious and very catchy - just take 'Mein Herr' or 'Money! Money!' for example. Both of which are half said, half sung - wait a minute! That sounds like Brecht again. Brecht often used actors who were untrained, or w
ho certainly couldn't sing particularly well. His songs were often hits too, such as Mack the Knife, written by Kurt Weill. None of these similarities can have been accidental as Bob Fosse was a director who came from a theatrical background, appearing and directing on Broadway. Not all of the songs have this slightly home-made amateurish feel to them. You would have to have had your head permanently buried in the sand not to know that Minelli was a trained singer, and she provides the rest of the film with some very accomplished renditions of the cabaret's other songs. These tend to be more heartfelt ballads that reflect her emotions, and what is happening to her at the time. For those of you more familiar with Fosse as a famous choreographer (Chicago is basically made up of many of his routines) you will not be surprised to hear that the dances in the cabaret are also his work. The dances are dynamic pieces of group choreography which are sexually suggestive and visually strong. Although strangely I found a lot of these deliberately sexual movements were devoid of sensuality - but then again the cabaret is not about sensuality, it is about sex. One of the most enduring images of the film is the scene where Liza Minelli sings 'Mein Herr'. Dressed in top hat, waistcoat, suspenders and high heels, she sits, stands and drapes herself over a chair. The other members of the cabaret are positioned all over the stage, lying over chairs with one leg outstretched and one positioned straight upwards, they all kick one leg upwards in time to the music, whilst slapping the floor with their spare hand. To help to keep the energy within this piece the camera looks at the action from different angles, as though from the perspective of lots of different members of the audience. In another scene a spanking dance is cut with Nazis beating up a man outside the club, giving a brutal feel to the world of the cabaret, and beginning to build
a sense of foreboding about the political climate. Before this film, all musicals had shot the action straight on, neglecting that in doing this you loose some of the dynamism that the dances may contain. Joel Grey really epitomises the feel of the Cabaret, and for this reason he won himself a Best Supporting Actor Oscar for this film. His compere figure is one whose sexuality you are unsure about - is gay, is he bisexual, or is he straight? (Who knows, maybe he is 'something for everyone', because there certainly is something for everyone when you look at the girls in the club - or, in at least one case, should I say 'girls'!) All we know is that he is revelling in the sexual liberation of the time, whilst judging just how much to nudge and wink the audience into seeing the world outside as it really is - as our one man chorus. Grey wasn't the only one to win an Oscar though, as Minnelli won herself one for her depiction of Sally Bowles. I must admit to wondering exactly how much of Sally was actually Liza, as she flounces around the film being brazen and gaudy thinking that she is worldly and sophisticated - all with a little help from some enormous false eyelashes and far too much make up. To give Liza her due though, she does play the more vulnerable and insecure scenes spot on, and even though you would probably want to shoot her if you lived with her, you can understand why someone would go for her. (Strangely all of these naïve and slightly scared scenes normally involve little or no make up, which in my mind, may be betraying Fosse's theatrical background a little too much. On film these things really don't need to be quite that overstated.) It is slightly odd that only Minnelli and Grey were picked out for Oscars, because frankly York plays Brian spot on as the reserved English man struggling with his sexuality at the same time as being strangely at home with it - the man who is captivated by Sa
lly and embarrassed by her at the same time. Whilst the sub-plot of the gigolo and his heiress is played out beautifully. Which brings me on to one of the films weaknesses. Occasionally it appears to bring up sub-plots that it just doesn't complete with any kind of finality or satisfaction to the viewer. For a start there is the lack of depth to this interesting story, but there is also the question of Sally's father. She goes to meet him and returns in tears, he is then mentioned in a way that contradicts this. Surely it would be better to leave this section out than to attach such significance to it by having Minnelli in tears? Then there is the slightly surreal section with the young boy bouncing the ball and Grey squeezing Minnelli's breasts? (I think I vaguely got what this was hinting at, but at the same time it was a little bit odd!) This film is not one from the Julie Andrews fold of musicals, where people run onto the top of a mountain and spontaneously burst into song, the Kit Kat Club is the only place where songs happen. To have followed that prevalent form of musical could only have trivialised the subject matter. Well, I say the only place - that's a lie, one song does go on outside of the club. Baron Maximilian von Heune and Brian are sitting in a beergarden when a young, angelic man with blue eyes and blond hair (if you get my meaning) breaks into 'Tomorrow belongs to me', a folksy patriotic song, which at the same time as being beautiful made me squirm in my seat. From the moment that we see the Nazis beating up that man outside the club, the exact amount of tension is well judged, whether it is reflected through the cabaret or the 'real life' that goes on outside it. You do feel that growing sense of foreboding even when our characters are enjoying romantic liaisons of various kinds. So, would I recommend you sit in with a cocktail exclaiming that everything is 'deliciously
decadent' and exclaiming 'Darling!' a lot. That would be a definite 'Yes'! Just remember that this musical is gritty and has guts, and that's one thing that Hollywood ain't so good at - so enjoy my friends... enjoy!
Liza Minnelli as Sally Bowles, Joel Grey as the fey MC of the Kit Kat Klub and Michael York as Bryan, the stereotypical English gent are the three main protagonists in a simply amazing film, which is on the surface a musical, but dig deeper and you find a particularly barbed commentary on the fascist goings on in the Germany of the early 1930's, all mingled in with a story about a night club. It's lavish and sumptuous and Minnelli has never been better than she was here. The musical numbers are staged beautifully and you can enjoy this film on many different levels - you can either soak up the atmosphere and listen to the wonderful music or you can enjoy that barely disguised underlying satire on the German plans for world domination. This is a cruel, heartless film for the most part but wrapped around a love story of sorts. It's set in the decadent Berlin underworld of Germany in the 1930's with the oppression of the Nazis all around us, but in Cabaret, oh Cabaret, we don't care. Here we've got the cabaret scene as the tool of that oppression, keeping the masses under control and satiating their lust for sleaze. God, THIS FILM IS AMAZING. The LA Times described Cabaret as "An exquisitely sculpted milestone in the history of the film musical" and it won a pretty startling eight Oscars. It was only a musical by association with all the songs coming in the setting of the club, used as metaphors for the dangerous and deadly deeds that were going on in the real world all around them. It's wonderfully controlled and shaped and set in some wonderful scenery both internally and externally with the nightclub scenes in particular exuding a decadent and sinful menace under the direction of Grey. The film is set in the menacing world of Berlin in 1931, as Hitler rose to power and drove towards his peculiar goal of a world fit for the perfect Aryan specimen. Anything went in those
days and the stark menace of the Nazi hordes are perfectly pictured in the film. The story follows York as its main character. He plays Bryan a young English academic who has moved to Berlin, staying in a boarding house where he meets Sally Bowles (Minnelli) who performs as a dancer-singer in the cabaret at the Kit Kat Klub, and falls in love with her. However, Sally has her sights set on making it to the top and is more attracted by the attentions of a rich Baron than this quiet young man. The moral dilemma faced by the characters is expertly dissected as all round them the Nazi influence grows more pervasive and claustrophobic, influencing the sets at the club. The satirical number with Grey confessing his love for a gorilla and pleading that one should look beneath the surface, spikily lambasting the Nazi prejudices. Already we have seen the savage beating to death of a man who had earlier ejected a Nazi youth from the club. There are so many wonderful moments in this film that there really isn't time here to list them all, but rest assured, this is one of the most vivid denunciations of oppression, prejudice and evil you will ever come across, and everyone connected with it must take credit. The three main players each deliver probably the best performances of their careers and York and Minnelli interplay wonderfully well. RECOMMENDED IN THE STRONGEST POSSIBLE TERMS... Screenplay by: Jayne Presson Allen, based on musical stage play by: John Van Druten, which was based on the book, "Cabaret," by Joe Masteroff. Music by: John Kander. Produced by: Cy Fever
Saying Cabaret is a good film, is like saying the Taj Mahal is a nice building, or that Ayres Rock is pretty for a lump of rock. It's misses the point somewhat. This isn't a musical as such, at least, that's not the impression you are left with when you have travelled such a magnificently torturous journey through the story. It strikes you that this is one mother of a film that co-incidentally has some of the best show music around. Even now. This film was made in 1972, and hasn't even got the tiniest of wrinkles or a hint of grey in the passing years. The main characters are Liza Minelli and Michael York, and whilst it's adapted from Christopher Isherwood's book on his life in Berlin during the pre-WWII years, the stories are intrinsically different. Minelli plays American, Sally Bowles, the daughter of "a very important man, darling. He's incredibly busy." This is Sally's way of coping with a father who sees little of her and seems to care even less. So, here she is in divinely decadent Berlin, living the life of a nightclub singer in a seedy joint, surrounded by prostitutes and transvestites, which is steeped in an invasive and threatening mood due to the emergence of the Nazi party. The compare of the joint is played by Joel Gray, and in his role of weird and scary MC, he presides over the club and helps provide some of the musical entertainment. He performs the classic track, Money (Makes The World Go Around), alongside Liza on stage and the atmosphere is electric. The dancing throughout is choreographed by the amazing Bob Fosse, and blends in superbly with the corrupt and dirty feel to the film. He's also scarily amusing during his song "Two Ladies", another in the great catalogue of songs that the film produced. (Mein Leiber Herr, Cabaret, Maybe This Time to name but a few) Michael York plays a very proper young Englishman, (basically the young Isherwood) who encounter
s Sally when the end up sharing the same boarding house. He's there working as a teacher of English, and the scenes were Sally gate crashes on of his lessons and generally disgraces herself with tales of being on a casting couch all afternoon with some old guy in an effort to get work, is hilarious. It's played out in front of a prim and proper young Jewess (played by Marisa Berenson) and the contrast in personality, manners and upbringing is a wonderfully observed piece of comedy. The plot basically follows the lives of Minelli and York through their time together in Berlin before the outbreak of war. Through their lives and experiences you are witness to the increasing and increasingly violent attacks on Jews in the society, and the way that the country responded to the upsurge in national pride following the rise of Adolf Hitler. This film is many things. Funny, moving, astute, atmospheric, overwhelming, artistic, intelligent and compelling. Bob Fosse excelled himself with the choreography, Liza excelled in her acting, singing and dancing (a rightly winning an oscar in recognition of her work), Michael York plays the sensitive Isherwood to a T, and Joel Schumacher's presence is omnipresent throughout. If you look for the symbolism in the characters portraying the mood and times of a country descending into it's own hell, then they are there a plenty. Some influences are subconciously picked up on, with others slap you hard in the face. Either way, once watched, this is a film that will stay with you forever. A classic. An absolute classic that should be compulsory viewing for schools. The music is sophisticated and top-notch, the dancing is strangely erotic, and the whole mood is just one long shiver down the spine. WHATEVER ELSE YOU DO WITH YOUR LIFE, DO NOT MISS THIS FILM. DVD Extras. There are a couple of interviews included with the film, centering mainly on Minelli and York as the
y talk about their time together, and a documentary about the making of the film itself. Not amazingly brilliant value for money on their own, but the film is the real pride and joy so what the heck. ** I've rated the special effects as outstanding, not because there were any in the actual film as such, but if creating such a fantastic atmosphere for the film is a special effect, then it seriously is outstanding. Okay? So don't go rushing off thinking that it's packed with your Hollywood style effects. Just so's we're clear on the point.
Cabaret (the movie) was made in 1972 and won 8 Oscars including those for Best Actress (Liza Minelli), Best Supporting Actor (Joel Gray) and best director (Bob Fosse). I haven't seen the film for a number of years, though I remember it being memorable for the cabaret scenes alone. I came across the DVD for sale on the ever-popular and excellent www.play247.com web site. The price is £17.99 though it is only available in the Region 1 (North American) format. P&P is free and they tend to get posted to you about 2 days after the date of order. The film centres on Sally Bowles (played by Liza Minelli) who is a cabaret artiste in early 1930?s Berlin at the time of the rise of the Nazi Party. The story follows her relationship with a British academic played by Michael York who comes to Berlin as an English language teacher. They meet, fall in love and befriend 2 English language pupils as well as a very rich Count who lavishes goods on them and ends up seducing them! Interjected into the film are the famous Cabaret scenes from the 'Kit Kat' nightclub. The Master of Ceremonies is Joel Gray who played the same role in the Broadway stage play. Covered in white makeup and looking a bit like Max Wall, he and Liza sing through a number of classics including: * Cabaret * Money, Money (..makes the world go round) * If you could see her * Maybe this time The third aspect of the film is the slow rise of Nazism in Berlin and its affect on the people. From being a strange curiosity at the start of the film, the Brown Shirts gain even more power and attack those they disagree with e.g. Communists, Jews etc. The most powerful moment is the Aryan Hitler Youth member singing 'Tomorrow belongs to me' and the large crowd heartily joining in as if it was the national anthem. At the end, he raises his arm into the Nazi salute. Other than the memorable and powerful Cabaret scenes, the rest
of the film is relatively tame. The effect of the Nazi?s was very understated - perhaps this was the way films were made then. In fact, the non-nightclub bits reminded me of many Emmanuelle films from the period. They just drift along in an understated version. There are few powerful scenes. Back to the DVD. I've been told by Cath Hayes of Dooyoo not to mention too much about the plot! What do you get for your money? Not a lot really. There is a 1997 documentary 'Cabaret: A legend in the making' where Minelli, York and Grey look back on the film 25 years later. Its interesting stuff - but hardly sets the world on fire. There is also a 1972 documentary made about the film. The film quality of this documentary is dreadful - it was probably made with an 8mm cine camera! Again it fills in some of the gaps. To be fair to the DVD, you have to remember that this film was made before video and DVD existed. They probably didn't keep the outtakes. If you like the film for the Cabaret song and dance scenes alone, it's worth getting this DVD for your collection.