Cabaret ★★★★

Bob Fosse’s second film as director put both feet on the throat of what the idea of the film and theatre musical was, reached down, and ripped its’ belly wide open. Complete with Nazis, promiscuity, bi-sexuality, threesomes and anti-semitism, the film changed what a musical was about, how it was put together, and morphed overnight the musical as escapism into the musical as a socially aware illumination of the disturbing and darker things in life.

Liza Minnelli and Joel Grey give career-making performances as a featured performer and a club M.C., respectively, at The Kitt-Katt club in 1931 Berlin as Hitler’s Nazis are becoming more prominent. In a departure from traditional musicals, all songs are performed as stage productions (with one exception) in the film. The numbers, not acting as straight plot, instead give commentary or are used intercut with the world outside the club as juxtaposition. The script and songs are witty and biting, and still maintain the ability to surprise to this day. The dance portion of the stage pieces showcase the choreography that earned Fosse his reputation.

Cabaret is one of the most unique pieces of film to come out of Hollywood. It is certainly the most unusual and bold mainstream musical ever attempted, and remains the most accomplished and successful fusion of theatre and cinema to date.

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