Liza with a Z (1972)

TV Special  -   -  Music
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Liza Minnelli stars in a television concert directed and choreographed by Bob Fosse. She performs such songs as the title number, "Liza with a 'Z'" and "Son of a Preacher Man". The concert ... See full summary »

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Title: Liza with a Z (1972– )

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Won 4 Primetime Emmys. Another 2 wins & 5 nominations. See more awards »
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Storyline

Liza Minnelli stars in a television concert directed and choreographed by Bob Fosse. She performs such songs as the title number, "Liza with a 'Z'" and "Son of a Preacher Man". The concert concludes with a medley of songs from the film Cabaret (1972). Written by Azure_Girl

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Release Date:

10 September 1972 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Liza with a 'Z' Collector's Edition  »

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1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Another song, "Mein Herr" from Cabaret (1972) was filmed, but due to time constraints of broadcast TV, this did not make it into the final show. All that remains of this number is a fair quality work print and is included as an extra on the DVD. See more »

Goofs

During "Money, Money, Money" Liza's silver necklace disappears and re-appears a few times. See more »

Quotes

Liza Minnelli: I have found for a long time people still have been calling me "Lisa." Wrong! My name is Liza. It has a "z" in it. For example, someone might come up to me and say, "Hello, Lisa, how are you?" And I'd say, "Fine, but my name is Liza." Or someone would come up and say, "Oh, Lisa, what a nice hat you have on." And I'd say, "Thank you very much, but my name is Liza, and that's my hair."
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Connections

Referenced in Becoming Fosse (2013) See more »

Soundtracks

Ring Them Bells
Written by John Kander (uncredited) and Fred Ebb (uncredited)
Performed by Liza Minnelli
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User Reviews

Minnelli Near Her Peak In Fosse-Staged T.V. Special
11 June 2007 | by (Biloxi, Mississippi) – See all my reviews

Although she received considerable attention for stage and film work, throughout the 1960s Liza Minnelli was best known as the daughter of legendary Judy Garland. In the early 1970s, however, Minnelli began to emerge as a distinct talent in her own right, and her Best Actress Oscar win for CABARET put her over the top. In the wake of the film's success, she re-teamed with director Bob Fosse for an hour-long television concert. Titled LIZA WITH A Z, the program was a critical and ratings smash--but television programing is a transient sort of thing, and soon the show was relegated to the vaults. It was not seen again for more than thirty years.

Seen today in the remastered Showtime DVD release, LIZA WITH A Z gives you a very clear idea of what all the fuss was about. It is impossible to watch Minnelli without comparing her to Garland, and it is true there is some actual basis for comparison: the sense of humor, the energy, the intensity are very similar, and from time to time Minnelli's vocal phrasing echos Garland. All the same, the comparison will only take you so far; even when performing such Garland-esquire material as Jolson's "My Mammy," Minnelli is distinctly herself.

Her glitchy body language becomes an asset for director and choreographer Fosse, who used it to such great effect in CABARET and repeats the effect here--and who backs Minnelli with a solid chorus of dancers performing his own demanding, highly eccentric work. When Minnelli blasts out "Ring Them Bells" or down-shifts to a tightly controlled "Bye, Bye Blackbird," Fosse's dancers are memorable indeed.

Whether it's a new take on Billie Holiday's "God Bless the Child" or a piece specifically written for her such as "Say Liza," Minnelli never gives less than one hundred percent. Even so, there are one or two lapses in the material. In hindsight, such selections as "I Gotcha" and "Son of a Preacher Man" are not really the best possible choices--but even so she works hard to sell them, and while you may question the choice of song you never question her talents.

Of particular interest is the "time capsule" quality of the show. Although she had many later successes, Minnelli was somehow never able to keep her career on a consistent track; LIZA WITH A Z catches her at the crest, before one bad decision too many took its toll. The same "time capsule" quality applies to Fosse's staging; it is also distinctly early 1970s--and when Minnelli steps out in an aggressively pink Halston dress it couldn't be any other period.

The remaster is quite good, and the DVD comes with a number of interesting extras, including Minnelli's audio track and bios of both Minnelli and Fosse; the deluxe DVD edition also includes the audio CD. Recommended for Minnelli and Fosse fans.

GFT, Amazon Reviewer


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