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CABARET (1972)

An adult story set in decadent 1931 Berlin with affairs, dances, romances, music, Nazis, and the night life at the Kit Kat Klub. As American cabaret performer, Sally Bowles spends most her nights at the Klub entertaining many a guest with lavish stage performances. Enter one rich German politician; an experimental Jewish man; a London teacher; and a dynamic Master of Ceremonies, and you have one sexy, seductive, chaotic expose' of the true nightlife of a politically unstable Berlin.

The cast includes: Liza Minnelli, Michael York, Helmut Griem, Joel Grey, and Marisa Berenson.

CABARET was nominated for the Best Picture award. Winner of 8 Academy Awards including: Best Director, Best Actress, and Best Supporting Actor.

Bob Fosse brilliantly directed the story dramatically and with great musical numbers.

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In decadent 1931 Berlin, life inside and outside the Kit Kat Klub is brilliantly told through the clever blend of story and musical numbers, as the outside world of Nazi politics grows into a brutal force, slowly affecting everyone.

Cabaret has been described as "An exquisitely sculpted milestone in the history of the film musical" - L.A. Times. Winner of 8 Oscars, Cabaret managed to "shape a triumph of style, showmanship, and substance." Everything from great production values, authentic German locations, a terrific script, inspired direction to an incredibly talented cast, and great musical numbers that were so well done, came together to create a truly wonderful musical, setting a new standard of excellence.

The opening of the film has Bryan (Michael York) a young, English professor moving into a boarding house in Berlin, where he meets Sally Bowles (Liza Minnelli) an impulsive, morally liberal, wanna-be actress, who makes a living performing as a singer at the morally decadent German cabaret, The Kit Kat Klub. The "impish" emcee, played by Joel Grey, hosts the show offered to the audience, and sings as well. Joel Grey recreated his role in the Broadway play of Cabaret, and won a Best Supporting Actor Oscar for his brilliant efforts.

Bryan and Sally first become good friends, which evolves into an intimate relationship, which is put to the test when the rich Baron enters the scene, as Sally will do anything to advance her career, and Bryan has a secret of his own. Moral consequences and choices determine their destiny; and, as with all the other characters, the rise of the Nazi forces change them as well.

Michael York and Liza Minnelli have great screen chemistry, and played well off each other, under Fosse's direction. Their talented performances are sure to entertain, Liza won the Best Actress Oscar, which she truly deserved.

A side story involves two of Bryan's English students, played by two German actors. Helmut Griem plays a Gigolo, who wants to improve his English, so he can impress the rich women at parties. Marisa Berenson plays a rich, moral, Jewish heiress who wants to improve herself.

What was special about the often humorous musical numbers, besides the terrific staging, direction, and style, was that they tied the story together by either expressing what was going on in the plot, or what was soon going to happen. One Favorite musical number is the humorous "Money" sequence, with Joel Grey and Liza Minelli performing in their polished, professional, amusing style. In the story, Bryan and Sally go to the Baron's huge estate for the weekend, because Sally feels that this handsome, yet morally corrupt Baron might be able to get her into the movies, and she is also attracted to his money and loose lifestyle. While the three of them head off toward the Baron's estate, the emcee and two women performers do a funny, but bawdy song/routine on the advantages of having a threesome in a relationship, to put it politely.

As the Nazi forces grow, the musical numbers in the Kit Kat Klub are influenced by the movement. In one instance, all performers, with Joel Grey in drag, dance an Austrian folk dance in a humorous fashion, and march around in Nazi hats at the end of the scene. This scene is inter spliced into the scene of a man, who had earlier kicked a Nazi youth out of the Klub, being brutally beaten to death outside the club by Nazi youth. The tempo of the song, is the same tempo of the beating. Another humorous bit has the emcee walking around the stage with a gorilla, singing,"If you could see her like I do," but ends the song with a brief, serious plea to live and let live. This song also reflects on the storyline of Bryan's two German students, whom he was tutoring (Marisa and Helmut Griem).

Also, if you look out in the audience, in the final, closing number, Nazi officers can be seen visibly in the audience, and the attitude of the emcee is solemn, as he says his ending lines, that are supposed to be said in a funny way, but aren't.

This movie is rated PG, but the brief but graphic scene where the man is beaten to death, could upset sensitive children, and adults as well. The dead dog scene as well could be upsetting. The ending isn't the typical, happy musical one, but is realistic, and ends on sort of an up note. The film does show the consequences of a morally loose lifestyle, and makes the point that where true love is valued, behaviors and attitudes can be changed, even if it's hard to do. Nothing sexually graphic is shown, just mildly to moderately insinuated. Some musical numbers are a little naughty, but still in good taste; pretty bland by today's standards. Cabaret is a classic, genre changing musical, that is entertaining on several levels, and should be enjoyed by most people.

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.

If you enjoyed CABARET, you may like ALL THAT JAZZ, WEST SIDE STORY, SWEET CHARITY, REMAINS OF THE DAY, JULIA, and/or NEW YORK, NEW YORK.

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