Cabaret (1972) Poster



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The film won 8 Oscars, though not Best Picture. It lost that as well as Best Adapted Screenplay to The Godfather (1972).
British author Christopher Isherwood, who created the character of Sally Bowles in his short story "Goodbye to Berlin", enjoyed the attention the movie brought to his career, but felt Liza Minnelli was too talented for the role. According to him, Sally, an amateur talent who lived under the delusion she had star quality, was the antithesis of "Judy Garland's daughter".
Liza Minnelli designed all her own hair and make-up with the help of her father, famed musical director Vincente Minnelli.
The character of Sally Bowles was based on Jean Ross, an aspiring actress, singer, and writer, who lived a colorful life. She was reportedly unhappy with Isherwood's portrayal of her as apolitical, and even slightly antisemitic. She was a member of the Communist Party, and may have been in Germany as an agent of the Comintern. She was also married for a time to Claud Cockburn, the father of journalist Alexander Cockburn, who described her as "a gentle, cultivated, and very beautiful woman, not a bit like the vulgar vamp displayed by Lisa Minnelli."
In an interview given at the time of the film's release, Liza Minnelli 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.
Years before Cabaret (1972) was filmed, Liza Minnelli performed Maybe This Time when she appeared with her mother Judy Garland at the London Palladium.
"Tomorrow Belongs to Me" was written by John Kander and Fred Ebb in the style of a traditional German song, sung by the Nazi youth in the movie, to stir up patriotism for the "fatherland". It has often been mistaken for a genuine "Nazi anthem" and has led to the songwriters being accused of anti-Semitism. This would be most surprising, as they are, in fact, Jewish (This fact has not stopped openly racist and anti-Semitic rock groups, like Skrewdriver, from recording the song and performing it at White Power rallies). It is also the only song sung outside of the cabaret setting to survive the transition from stage to film.
The strange woman appearing at the beginning of the movie sitting in the back of the Kit-Kat Club holding a cigarette is based on the painting "Portrait of Journalist, Sylvia Von Harden" by German Expressionist painter Otto Dix.
Many of the interiors of the film were done on sound stages in Munich recently vacated by the cast and crew of Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory (1971).
Brian expresses surprise that Sally Bowles is an American, a sly reference to the fact that, in the musical on which the movie is based, Sally is British. In the original Christopher Isherwood books (which are semi-Autobiographical) both Sally and Brian were English.
In preparation for his revival of the role of the MC (Master of Ceremonies) in the film, Joel Grey did extensive research in order to achieve a completely authentic German accent.
The song "Married", originally in the Broadway version, was cut from the movie. It can be heard playing on a radio in the background during the scene where Brian and Sally are discussing marriage.
Originally sung in English, "Tomorrow Belongs To Me" was dubbed in German for the French and German versions of the film.
The original Broadway production of "Cabaret" opened at the Broadhurst Theater on November 2, 1966, ran for 1165 performances and won the 1967 Tony Award for the Best Musical. Joel Grey recreates his role in the movie for which the won the 1967 Tony Award for Best Featured Actor in a Musical. He later won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for this film, making him one of a handful actors to have won both a Tony and Oscar for the same role, a feat most recently achieved by Viola Davis for Fences (2016).
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.
Instead of writing a new ballad for the film, John Kander and Fred Ebb were persuaded by Liza Minnelli (and later, Bob Fosse) to use a song from their trunk - "Maybe This Time", a tune Liza had recorded for her very first album. Fosse wasn't initially a fan of the song, but changed his mind after deciding on how to stage it (in the empty nightclub). Minnelli has said that Fred Ebb jokingly blamed her for the loss of an extra Oscar nomination in the Best Original Song category for her desire to sing a previously-written title.
Selected in 2003 by the Smithsonian Institution as one of eight films being preserved for future generations.
Billy Wilder and Gene Kelly turned down the offer to direct the project before it was accepted by Bob Fosse.
In a 1972 interview with Dick Cavett, Liza Minnelli said that she learned Sally Bowles was a real person, so she put personal ads in newspapers in a futile attempt to meet her. Presumably Minnelli was unaware at the time that Sally Bowles wasn't her real name (the character was based on Jean Ross).
There is much speculation about the identity of the singer of "Tomorrow Belongs to Me". Apparently, Bob Fosse's biography states that the song was recorded for the film by Broadway actor/singer called Mark Lambert. This actor is said to have refused to dye his hair blond; so a German extra (the "Nazi youth") stood in for him on camera.
20 British actors were tested or auditioned for the role of Brian including Malcolm McDowell, David Hemmings, Timothy Dalton, Leonard Whiting, Jeremy Irons, John McEnery, Bruce Robinson, Tim Curry and Paul Nicholas.
In 2007, the American Film Institute ranked this as the #63 Greatest Movie of All Time. It was the first inclusion of this film on the list.
During the opening number "Willkommen", the Master of Ceremonies says, "Outside it is windy, but inside it is so hot." In the stage musical, he says that outside it is winter. "Winter" was changed to "windy" in the film so that exteriors could be shot in warm, sunny weather. That way, audiences wouldn't question the unusually mild German winter weather.
Five songs from the original Broadway production did not make it into the movie as "performed" songs, but appear as background music. When Brian arrives, Sally prepares two Prairie Oysters and puts on a record, which turns out to be "Don't Tell Mama". When Sally tries to seduce Brian and she brings in the gramophone, the song is "It Couldn't Please Me More". The same song, once again on gramophone, reappears when Sally is packing for Africa. In the parlor as Sally prepares to leave for dinner with her father, the song being played on the piano is "Married". This song makes a reprise when Sally and Brian talk about getting married, this time on the gramophone in German ("Heiraten") sung by Greta Keller. The German version is also heard in the park and at the train station. When Max, Brian, and Sally have lunch at the fancy restaurant, a small ensemble is playing "Sitting Pretty", which is also heard on the gramophone at Max's estate, when they are dancing. When Brian and Fritz walk into the parlor together and the other tenants are talking about the Nazis, the background music, faint and barely recognizable, is the song "So What."
Included among the "1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die", edited by Steven Schneider.
Included among the American Film Institute's 1998 list of the 400 movies nominated for the Top 100 Greatest American Movies.
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Two songs that did not appear in the musical were written specifically for the film. Liza Minelli's famous first performance in the film, "Mein Heir," and Minelli and Joel Grey's duet "Money, Money. "Maybe This Time" also did not appear in the musical, but was written by Minnelli before the film and she suggested to put it in. She felt it would fit at the part where Bob Fosee, Fred Ebb and John Kander were initially going to create another original song for (where the song appears in the film). Fosse initially didn't like the song, but changed his mind after seeing the setting for the song in the film, the empty Cabaret. Fosse later joked that Minelli lost them out on another Best Original Song nomination.
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Joel Grey is the father of Dirty Dancing star Jennifer Grey.
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The trivia item below may give away important plot points.

Tomorrow Belongs To Me" is the only song not sung in the Kit Kat Club.
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