Directed by: Bob Fosse
Countries & Regions: United States
Studio: Pinewood Films
Length: 123 mins
Released: 1 June 2009
Cat No: FHED1444
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Cabaret (30th Anniversary Special Edition)
Classic screen musical directed by Bob Fosse and set in depression-era Berlin. Liza Minnelli stars as Sally Bowles, a singer at the... Read More
“Willkommen, Bienvenue, Welcome!” Welcome indeed to the dark underworld of the musical as realised by legendary Broadway showman Bob Fosse. Arguably the cinematic pinnacle of the musical form, ‘Cabaret’ is a shift away from the sentimental, rose-tinted shortcomings of the genre into more adult territory. In the foreground we have the love story of two conflicting characters – Sally Bowles, a flamboyant American singer, and Brian, a stiff-shirt English writer – set against the historical backdrop of the rise of the Third Reich within 1930’s Berlin.
Fosse skilfully integrates his experience of vaudeville decadence into a dark examination of desperate people clinging to their humanity in a politically charged arena of historical significance. The musical form is used to provide social and emotional commentary upon unfolding events, such as deviant sexual entanglements in “Two Ladies”, the racial prejudice against Jews in ‘If You Could See Her’, and most chilling of all, the united voice of Germany’s determined rise to be the master race in “Tomorrow Belongs To me”.
The film is a masterpiece of mood and atmosphere, dynamically drawn into an electrifying whole by Fosse’s inventive direction, and bolstered by the sensational, Oscar-winning performances of Joel Grey as a leering, demonic Emcee, and Liza Minnelli as Sally Bowles, stepping out of her mother’s shadow to project her own unique brand of star power. A timeless classic of any genre!
Some would argue that it's the last great musical -- and certainly the cult status acquired over the years by Bob Fosse’s memorable CABARET looks unlikely to be matched by any new film in the genre (although a movie of Chicago is in the works). Those who have only seen it panned and scanned on TV are in for some revelations with this 30th anniversary special edition. The wonderfully sleazy choreography of such numbers as Mein Herr absolutely demands the full widescreen image (as here) to do justice to those highly influential compositions (how many girls in suspenders and stockings have you seen awkwardly draped over chairs since this film appeared?). The performances are as powerful today as ever: Minnelli is as affecting, and Joel Gray's Emcee remains wonderfully reptilian but curiously likeable. But is the extras on this DVD that make it such a collector's item: a contemporary documentary made at the time of film's release, a new documentary, reminiscences of the film’s stars and creators and 40 pages of production notes and trivia. Come to the cabaret? It's an invitation you can't refuse.
Tell me, where else will you get the immense privilege of viewing Michael York, flexing his muscles and asking 'does my body drive you wild with desire?' Well, if that alone does not attract you like a moth to the flame to this flamboyant, sinister and fantastically extravagant musical; then maybe the fantastic performance by Liza Minelli, or the dynamic choreography of Bob Fosse will?
Set in a turbulent (and often seedy) Germany, the main character Sally Bowles (played by Minelli) will have you gawping in awe at her outrageous costumes and even more outrageous comments, as she shocks and sings her way through a rocky relationship with English teacher Brian, (York). There's no denying that the musical numbers in this movie are inspiringly dynamic and hugely fun to watch, but the underlying messages that the film displays in a rising Nazi Germany are still as intriguing and powerful as ever.
Not the proud owner of a copy? Get one! Not seen this movie? You haven't lived!