from Brixton, London
, 07 Apr 2004
Bob Fosse?s 'Cabaret? is a timeless classic and richly deserved its eight Academy Award?s. Set in Berlin in 1931, the film takes its name from the singing and dancing shows that were popular in nightclubs in the inter-war years. Sally Bowles (Liza Minnelli) is a cabaret performer. Brian Roberts, (Michael York) is a reserved English man, newly arrived in Germany to teach his native language. The two become inseparable friends and lovers despite Brian?s homosexual tendencies.
Minnelli?s dazzling Oscar-winning performance steals the show. She performs flamboyantly on stage and off, singing and dancing, flirting and fornicating. Sally is steadfast in her belief that she will someday be a movie star and throughout we see her as a dreamer. However, in the closing scenes, it seems that realism does prevail, it?s just not how we expected.
The characters are generally stereotypes. Sally is a brash liberated American. Brian is a staid upper class English-man. Natalia (Marisa Berenson) is a rich Jew heiress, a woman who takes love seriously. Fritz (Fritz Wepper) is a penniless Protestant, a man who is flippant when it comes to love and sees a rich woman as a meal ticket. Joel Grey, who won an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor is the flamboyant, transvestite Master of Ceremonies.
The movie is set against the backdrop of a rising Nazi Germany. The fervour of the German people is felt intensely when a young boy in Nazi uniform raises an Aryan crowd to its feet singing with keen passion the words of the song ?Tomorrow Belongs To Me?.
However, the two main characters are eager to embrace the fun side of life. They drink, they dance, they sing, they entertain and indulge in general debauchery which is great to watch as they never take themselves too seriously.
The setting, cinematography choreography and music are absolutely fantastic. Even if you aren?t a fan of musicals, this one is worth watching. The singing is confined mainly to the cabaret and unlike many musicals, there is a lot of straight-talking dialogue.
It is worth watching for nostalgic purposes alone. Just sit back and loose yourself in the wonderful whirling world of the cabaret.
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