February 13, 2017
Review #904: Cabaret.
Liza Minnelli (Sally Bowles), Michael York (Brian Roberts), Helmut Griem (Maximilian von Heune), Joel Grey (Master of Ceremonies), Fritz Wepper (Fritz Wendel), Marisa Berenson (Natalia Landauer), Elisabeth Neumann-Viertel (Fräulein Schneider), Helen Vita (Fräulein Kost), Sigrid von Richthofen (Fräulein Mayr), Gerd Vespermann (Bobby), and Ralf Wolter (Herr Ludwig) Directed by Bob Fosse.
This has been a review in the making for quite awhile. I had originally bought this film from my local Blockbuster in November of 2014, but I had held off doing this film until the right kind of time came up. As it turned out, today (February 13) is that day, in part because it is 45 years to the day that the film was originally released. When it comes to musicals, Cabaret certainly stands out on its own, with a sense of cynicism and sharpness in its tone and songs, where style ans substance work together to make for something unique in every sense of the word. It's a daring movie that juggles itself perfectly, riding the line of seediness and sinister under-goings within such strange and extraordinary characters.
Minnelli does an exquisite job at making such a strange character work so perfectly, with singing that is as razzle-dazzle as the film is. She has a great range of voice and talent that makes for a performance for the ages in part because of how far it goes. York does a fine job, being clever and easy to relate to while also going through noticeable (and welcome) changes throughout the film. Griem also does a fine job, being so alluringly strange with every movement and word. Grey is a key standout, matching the moods of the cabaret while also being talented at showcasing the fine qualities of the show and some of the songs, such as "Money", which is a decadently wonderful song by Grey and Minnelli. Wepper and Berenson are also pretty good together, having the kind of understated chemistry that works in a movie all with bigness. There are other songs that stand out, such as "Maybe This Time" with its own kind of hope, "Tomorrow Belongs to Me", with key tones of irony, and "If You Could See Her", which works on a good subtle level. This is a wonderfully staged film, with every movement and action done at such a key pace that works marvelously, such as the final shot with the reveal of the crowd, with the movie ending as it began: in place, moving with the times.
Overall, I give it 10 out of 10 stars.