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||IMDB Rating: 7.9/10 from votes
||Release: 13 February 1972 (USA) /
||Genre: Drama, Musical
||Stars: Elisabeth Neumann-Viertel, Estrongo Nachama, Fritz Wepper, Georg Hartmann, Gerd Vespermann, Helen Vita, Helmut Griem, Joel Grey, Kathryn Doby, Liza Minnelli, Marisa Berenson, Michael York, Ralf Wolter, Ricky Renée, Sigrid von Richthofen
||Synopsis: Cambridge University student Brian Roberts arrives in Berlin in 1931 to complete his German studies. Without much money, he plans on making a living teaching English while living in an inexpensive rooming house, where he befriends another of the tenants, American Sally Bowles. She is outwardly a flamboyant, perpetually happy person who works as a singer at the decadent Kit Kat Klub, a cabaret styled venue. Sally's outward façade is matched by that of the Klub, overseen by the omnipresent Master of Ceremonies. Sally draws Brian into her world, and initially wants him to be one of her many lovers, until she learns that he is a homosexual, albeit a celibate one. Among their other friends are his students, the poor Fritz Wendel, who wants to be a gigolo to live a comfortable life, and the straight-laced and beautiful Natalia Landauer, a Jewish heiress. Fritz initially sees Natalia as his money ticket, but eventually falls for her. However Natalia is suspect of his motives and cannot ... Written by Huggo
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Watch Cabaret - Alternative Versions.
Director Bob Fosse hasn't achieved an immense degree of recognition,
but his movies have a distinctive flavour. He seems to have an
obsession with the world of music-hall, which is felt in other movies
like "Sweet Charity" and "All that Jazz". In his other movies though,
musical performances tend to steal the show almost entirely. "Cabaret"
is an exception because it has an interesting background and storyline,
and the music-hall performances are cleverly used here to illustrate
and emphasize the plot. They play about the same role as the Chorus in
ancient Greek play.
Of course, the depiction of Cabaret's "Kit Kat Club" deserves attention
all by itself. It is not surprising that a cabaret buff such as Bob
Fosse took interest in the Weimar Republic period in Germany, when
"divine decadence " was the name of the game. Only Bob Fosse could
recreate with such consumed application the grotesque sleaze of
Berlin's lowlife during the rise of Nazism, a context which served as
inspiration for expressionist painters, and for Brecht's "Threepenny
Opera". During the credits, check out a woman in the public with short
hair and glasses smoking a cigarette (something quite dodgy in 1931!).
It is the exact reproduction of a famous painting by Otto Dix.
An outrageously grinning clown (Joel Grey) introduces every cabaret
number. The girls appear in all possible contorted postures keeping
deadpan faces. The Kit Kat club reminds of a roman arena, where the
public is out for anything insane (even women fights in the mud...). To
give an idea of what sort of den the club is, Michael York finds
himself at one point standing next to a transvestite in a men's
urinal...The cabaret performances get all the more provocative as the
plot gets tense. The club is an essentially immoral place where
anything is for sale, and it adapts shamelessly to the radical
political changes coming up.
Liza Minelli's character is totally at home in such surroundings. Her
persona is perfectly sketched in her song "Bye Bye Mein Herr". She is
the incarnation of the vamp, both heartless and ingenuous, the sort of
lethal woman who drives men crazy and then gives them up like toys.
Indeed, a very typical stereotype of the interwar period, think of
Marlene Dietrich in "the Blue Angel"...Minelli's performance onstage
with garter belts and a bowler hat still looks elegantly naughty today.
Though, the real nature of her character is well studied as soon as she
gets offstage. While Minelli can't help being extravagant all the time,
she turns out to be a fragile woman neglected by her father, and in
demand of constant and renewed attention. As predicted in her song, she
proves basically unable to engage in any serious relationship, despite
her involvement with Michael York ( "And though I used to care, I need
the open air, you'd every cause to doubt me Mein Herr").
The script was based a story by British writer Christopher Isherwood,
called "A Goodbye to Berlin", based on his own personal memories. He is
allegedly the character played by Michael York. A serious upper class
young man, he meets Liza Minelli out of blind chance, while looking for
an apartment to share. She introduces him to all sorts of people, from
riff-raff to aristocracy, including a gigolo, a Jewish heiress, and an
ambiguous baron who dismisses them both after having "played" with the
two of them.
Michael York's sober performance looks a bit pale as opposed to
histrionic Liza Minelli, but of course, that was necessary in order to
stress the essential difference between those two strangers. The movie
ends as they part on a railway platform, but one can guess their
experience together will have changed them both, as as far as he is
concerned, was a definite coming of age.
One of the scenes, in the middle of the movie, is quite disturbing. At
a countryside inn, a young S.A man sings a song called "Tomorrow
belongs to me", which starts out nostalgic but gradually turns into an
infectious Nazi march as the whole crowd joins him. This unexpected
number seems to have embarrassed many viewers. If Nazism had presented
itself as pure evil, would it have met any success? This daring scene
makes evident that it was for many Germans of the time the symbol of
positive values : beauty, tradition, order, pride, future. If you
didn't know how things turned out, would you not have been tempted to
sing along this powerful hymn to the fatherland as you watch this? Good
question to ask oneself even, or especially, nowadays...
Tags for Cabaret Full Movie
, Estrongo Nachama
, Fritz Wepper
, Georg Hartmann
, Gerd Vespermann
, Helen Vita
, Helmut Griem
, Joel Grey
, Kathryn Doby
, Liza Minnelli
, Marisa Berenson
, Michael York
, Ralf Wolter
, Ricky Renée
, Sigrid von Richthofen
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