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Cabaret [1972] (Liza Minelli) [DVD]

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Product details

  • Actors: Liza Minnelli, Joel Grey, Michael York, Helmut Griem, Marisa Berenson
  • Format: PAL
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: 15
  • Studio: Prism Leisure Corporation
  • DVD Release Date: 4 Oct 2004
  • Run Time: 119 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (149 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0002K10XY
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 11,774 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)


Product Description

Liza Minnelli, Michael York, Helmut Griem Cabaret brings 1931 Berlin to life. Outside on the street, the Nazi party is beginning to grow into a brutal political force, whilst inside at the Kit Kat Klub starry-eyed American, Sally Bowles (Liza Minnelli) and an impish Master of Ceremonies (Joel Grey) sound the call for decadent fun. Into this heady world arrives British language teacher Brian Roberts (Michael York), who falls for Sally's charm, and soon the two of them find themselves embroiled in the turmoil and decadence of the era.


Cabaret is one of those film musicals whose cultural and stylistic influence extend well beyond the cinema. It confirmed Bob Fosse's status as one of the boldest choreographers of the 20th century and gave Liza Minnelli an early peak in a film career which would never scale such heights again. Minnelli is both the film's strength--on its own merits her performance is an Oscar-winning tour de force--and weakness. The real Sally Bowles was a third-rate performer and just one of a rich gallery of characters; here, the constant allowances for Minnelli's star turns and mannerisms ultimately throw the story off balance. But the source material is impeccable: Kander and Ebb's stage show, based on the autobiographical stories of Christopher Isherwood, has long since been acknowledged a classic. The songs, augmented by some new numbers in the film, are ageless.

Joel Grey from the original Broadway production is the Emcee, the master of ceremonies who, with his Kit Kat Klub girls, provides a depraved Greek chorus satirising the rise of the Nazi regime and the lazy complacency of the 1930s Berlin cabaret-goers. The "divine decadence" tag is only part of the story, though. Cabaret still works a sinister, uncomfortable magic which sets it apart as a uniquely powerful film musical.

On the DVD: Cabaret's 30th Anniversary Special Edition is packed with extras which include a scratchy "making of" documentary from 1972 and a retrospective from 1997, the latter featuring reminiscences from the cast. There’s also the original theatrical trailer, though in the absence of the late director Fosse the lack of some kind of commentary is a disappointment. The picture itself, presented in widescreen 16:9 letterbox format with a Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo soundtrack, gleams as sharply, visually and aurally, as it did on its first release. --Piers Ford --This text refers to an alternate DVD edition.

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Francisco José Poyato Ariza on 20 Feb 2013
Format: Blu-ray
Little can be said about "Cabaret" as a movie that has not already been said. It transcended the musical genre and changed it forever. It is moving, profoundly human, socially and politically aware, and also a terrific piece of entertainment that can be enjoyed over and over. I was sort of worried about the HD restoration and transfer for this blu-ray edition. It had been talked about and postponed for some 3 years now, and, knowing that it was shot with a completely intended soft look, I was afraid that it was digitally over-treated (yes, I had "Out of Africa", "Gladiator" and other Universal disasters in mind). Well, nothing of that sort, on the very contrary; the restoration and the transfer are flawless, totally respecting the soft colors, low contrast, even hue and darkness. Its understated, timeless look is all there. Everything is seen as it was originally intended to be seen, incluing the beautiful celulloid grain (yes, it is there, thanks WB). No signs of DNR or artificial compression at all, so all the small details in the negative are there; the colors are not artificially oversaturated, the contrast is not boosted, and the sound is expanded without being overdone either. A perfect restoration and transfer that totally respect the view of the director and cinematographer. It is so fresh that it feels like seeing the movie for the first time. Can't be better, honestly. I do intend to enjoy this blu ray many times in the future. Unmissable, especially if you like the movie. And if you don''s about time you give it another chance.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By blueskies on 17 Aug 2013
Format: Blu-ray Verified Purchase
Cabaret [Blu-ray] [1972] [US Import] This item is Region Free, it plays on my standard Philips Region B BDP5200 player. Also the rear cover has NO region labelling.

Main benefit over DVD is superior contrast and colour depth - the night club scenes are 'as shot' and are still like you've never seen them before (I've had a number of versions over the years).

Sound is clearer plus subtitling is way sharper(extras are informative and entertaining, but un-subtitled); strangely this very popular film had no subtitles in UK DVD versions in the past.

Regarding less than expected sharpness - so much of the film is shot in low light - blu ray adds its own dimension for these reasons, making viewing a richer experience IMO.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Keith M on 13 Nov 2013
Format: DVD
Now I know Mel Brooks might have prior claim to this title via his 1967 'musical within a film' Springtime For Hitler and The Producers, but this 1972 film directed (and choreographed) by Bob Fosse really is something very 'un-Hollywood-like', with its intimate personal story interwoven with themes of 1930s Berlin Nazis, homosexuality and high-kicking, cross-dressing musical numbers. This was, I guess, the film that really 'broke' Liza Minnelli onto the world stage and in which she drew on her family heritage to deliver a whole series of infectious Kander and Ebb songs (alongside a marvellous Joel Grey) such as Willkommen, Maybe This Time, Money and film's famous title tune.

In addition, however, Minnelli demonstrates that she is not just a compelling (and androgynous) stage performer, but that she can also act, here as the brassy, down-to-earth, ambitious and (ultimately) vulnerable, Kit Kat night-club turn, Sally Bowles. It soon becomes clear that Fosse's film is going to be far from a 'traditional' Hollywood musical as Michael York's repressed, and sexually insecure ('nil' sex life), Englishman (and teacher), Brian Roberts, arrives at Sally's door, and the era's political overtones gradually seep into proceedings (initially via background radio broadcasts), drawing viewers into this world of 'divine decadence' (Sally's adage). Fosse (and cinematographer Geoffrey Unsworth) create an authentic and evocative sense of the period, with stunning night-club sequences (blacks, reds, whites), ageing communist (Lenin) street posters and a sense of greater social/sexual liberalism, all tempered by the increasingly pervasive Nazi presence.

In addition to Minnelli's endearing turn, I have never seen York as impressive (not difficult, I'll admit) as the emotionally complex Roberts.
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37 of 40 people found the following review helpful By P. A. Clarke on 11 Mar 2011
Format: DVD
A stunning film: Liza Minelli is truly knockout - sadly never to again have such a perfectly fitted role - and Fosse's choreography is superb - reinforced by brilliant photography, lighting, and editing. Joel Gray as Emcee matches and supports her impeccably - and their "Money" duet is just wonderful.

Loving this film, I paid to see it several times in the cinema, and have bought several versions of the DVD since - always hopeful of a proper-format screen-filler appropriate for all those fabulous shots and routines. In vain!

Why, why, why....isn't this barnstormer of a film available yet in a proper anamorphic transfer?

Is the argument that it's been out long enough that everyone who wanted this film will have already bought it? So there won't be a big enough market for a new version?

NO....! I think that all the lovers of this film would absolutely flock to buy a top-quality anamorphic transfer. But please shout that it's NEW on the cover - don't try to fool us again with any more letter-box mini-versions. No-one should be palming off these versions in 2011!!! Cameron gave us an anamorphic Titanic after the initial shoddy letterbox-version. It's time this was done for Fosse's gem!
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