Cabaret (1972)
December 1, 2022 10:52 AM - Subscribe

[TRAILER] In Berlin in 1931, American cabaret singer Sally Bowles (Liza Minnelli) meets British academic Brian Roberts (Michael York), who is finishing his university studies. Despite Brian's confusion over his sexuality, the pair become lovers, but the arrival of the wealthy and decadent playboy Maximilian von Heune (Helmut Griem) complicates matters for them both. This love triangle plays out against the rise of the Nazi party and the collapse of the Weimar Republic.<

Also starring Joel Grey, Fritz Wepper, Marisa Berenson, Elisabeth Neumann-Viertel, Helen Vita, Sigrid von Richthofen, Gerd Vespermann.

Directed by Bob Fosse. Screenplay by Jay Allen. Based on the 1966 stage musical by (music by John Kander, lyrics by Fred Ebb, book by Joe Masteroff) which was itself based on the 1951 stage play I Am a Camera by John Van Druten, which was in turn adapted from Christopher Isherwood's 1939 novel Goodbye to Berlin, which is part of The Berlin Stories.

92% fresh on Rotten Tomatoes.

Currently available for digital rental in the US. JustWatch listing.
posted by DirtyOldTown (9 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
How I love this movie, I could gaze at Michael York's face in it all day long. Everyone is so beautiful and so fucked up.
posted by Lawn Beaver at 11:24 AM on December 1, 2022 [4 favorites]

Joel Grey is absolutely magnetic in this. Cannot look away.
posted by humbug at 11:32 AM on December 1, 2022 [2 favorites]

Somehow my wife, who is a big Isherwood fan, had never seen this movie so we sat down and watched it together. Man, I forgot how alternately frenetic and slow this movie is and the amount of sneering dread that builds over the movie.

Also, man, does Joel Grey nail that deeply unsettling, menacing air as the MC.
posted by drewbage1847 at 12:11 PM on December 1, 2022 [2 favorites]

Tomorrow Belongs to Me is a gut punch of a song and scene.
posted by Paragon at 12:46 PM on December 1, 2022 [4 favorites]

I have to watch this movie at least once a year. I know Christopher Isherwood hated Liza Minnelli as Sally Bowles, but her personal vulnerability about being Judy Garland's daughter is the very reason why she is so good as Sally. And Joel Gray is everything.
posted by briank at 1:11 PM on December 1, 2022

This is one of those great films to have grown up seeing at revival movie houses in the late 70s and 80's; the frank and fluid sexual mores were a refreshing contrast to the overwhelming "Happy Days" nostalgia sweeping the US at the time. Green nail polish used to be absolutely perverse, as was living with or working with people from different backgrounds and professions. Growing up with this film made it much easier for me to escape the hypocrisy of Reagan America. And, of course, one can always remember "bumpchen" at the appropriate social moment.
posted by winesong at 1:53 PM on December 1, 2022

What I love is that all the songs show up as parts of the scenes—no one just breaks into song. The radio, the beer-garden, the Kit-Kat Club…
posted by Ideefixe at 3:17 PM on December 1, 2022 [1 favorite]

In the Isherwood story and the stage play, Sally's tragedy is that she gives everything for show business but she'll never get anywhere because she has no talent. In the film, her tragedy is that she gives everything for show business and has the talent, but she'll never get anywhere because of her self-destructive personality. I've seen some great productions of the stage show, but I still find the film version of Sally a more compelling character.

I saw an interview with Joel Grey once where he said that Fosse originally didn't want him in the film because he wanted to play the part himself, seeing it as his last chance for stardom in front of the camera. The producers insisted, and the rest is history. While I'd be insanely curious to see what Fosse's interpretation would have looked like, I have no doubt that the producers made the right decision.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 3:58 PM on December 1, 2022 [3 favorites]

all the songs show up as parts of the scenes

Yes! And serve as commentary on the story. I watched this extraordinary movie again earlier this year. It really holds up.
posted by kingless at 4:25 AM on December 2, 2022

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