Life is a cabaret, old chum, come to the Cabaret… on Blu-ray. Bob Fosse’s award winning anti-musical finally makes its high definition debut and the results are spectacular. It’s a show you don’t want to miss. So come to the Cabaret!!
1931 – Willkommen! English academic Brian (Michael York) is a new arrival in Germany and finds a cheap boarding house. He makes fast friends with an American named Sally (Liza Minnelli) who is a singer at the Kit Kat Klub, where the show is hosted by the ghoulish Master of Ceremonies (Joel Grey).
Brian eventually takes on students Fritz (Fritz Wepper) and Natalia (Marisa Berenson), who want to learn English, to make ends meet. Fritz falls for Natalia, but she’s Jewish and the rise of the rise of National Socialist movement threatens everyone.
Brian and Sally also make the acquaintance of the bohemian Maximilian (Helmut Griem) and also find their relationship strained by the addition of a third. All the while the shows at the Kit Kat Klub reflect the rise of the Nazi tide that threatens to overwhelm all of our characters.
I had the most deranged double feature – Cabaret followed by Patton. Well, it makes sense in a way. They’ve yet to make a musical about Patton though. Cabaret is sometimes called the un-musical since before it musicals were films where people would burst into song for no apparent reason, as did the Broadway version of Cabaret.
Bob Fosse takes a different tack with Cabaret in that the musical numbers only take place in the Kit Kat Klub (KKK?!?), save for two but those still fit into the scenes they take place in. Many of those numbers are bold and brassy but also sneak in their meanings (there’s a funny story about “If You Could See Her” on Broadway in the documentary).
Fosse’s film Sweet Charity bombed so he knew that Cabaret was either his coffin nail or redemption. The film certainly had a gallows’ humor, but it would turn out to be redemption for him since it would go on to win eight Academy Awards, including best director and statues for Minnelli and Grey.
Many thought that the Godfather would win them, Cabaret did lose best picture to the Corleone’s. Cabaret also looks grand on Blu-ray with much more definition; although I think the Klub scenes have an intentional hazy look.
Cabaret is presented in a 1080p transfer (1.85:1). Special features include a commentary by author Stephen Tropiano (Cabaret: Music on Film), the newly produced 28 minute “Cabaret: The Musical that changed Musicals,” the 17 minute “A Legend in the Making” from the 1990s, the 6 minute vintage “Recreation of an Era” showing Fosse at work, a collection of snippets in the “Kit Kat Klub Memory Gallery” (over 20 minutes), and the 3 minute theatrical trailer. It’s all housed in a classy 40 page booklet packaging.
Cabaret is classy all around. Fantastic performances enhanced by unobtrusive musical numbers and a firm directorial hand by Fosse. Warner Brothers brings it to Blu-ray and the results are show stopping and include some fantastic special features. Wikkdommen indeed.
Visit the DVD database for more information.
CHECK OUT THESE CLIPS FROM THE FILM: