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
Joel Grey's Oscar winning performance in this film is his only Academy Award nomination. See more »
After she's tried to seduce Brian, Sally brings her record player into his room and plays a record....this is the 1930s so the record should be spinning at 78rpm. But it isn't...it's clearly playing at 33. See more »
In my time on this planet, I have passed this film by at least a hundred times, curious, but not enough to warrant seeing it. Well, this weekend curiosity got the better of me and I finally broke down and saw it. I was pleased to find a very tightly constructed piece of musical drama, in which the drama and the musical elements are separate yet interconnected.
A story ostensibly about the end of decadence in Germany and the simultaneous rise of the Nazi party, "Cabaret" winds up being much more. Unlike "Titanic"(1997), which also intermingled historical events with a love story, "Cabaret" uses the cabaret as a device to comment on the goings-on in the story surrounding it, yet doesn't feel tacked on or phony like the former film. Part of this is because of the wonderful performances all around, and part is the sheer craftsmanship involved in putting the film together. Liza Minnelli and Michael York make us actually care about their characters, and Joel Grey brings a creepy verisimilitude to the Master of Ceremonies. Marisa Berenson, Fritz Wepper, and Helmut Griem put in fine supporting performances, lending dimension to what could have easily been cardboard characters.
The craftsmanship of Geoffrey Unsworth and Bob Fosse is no less impressive. I was familiar with Unsworth's work from "Superman: The Movie" and was amazed with his ability to make Liza look so breathtaking here. Fosse's direction and staging of the dance numbers is classic Fosse, even if the film had to be tightened up by the studio prior to release. This is great entertainment, with food for thought, and the Kander & Ebb songs stay with you long after the film ends.
Come to think of it, so does the film itself. Well worth seeing, and the ending is very thought-provoking.
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