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on 26 February 2014
1930s Berlin, English teacher arrives, befriends American dancer, fall in love with each other, both get seduced by rich German, Nazism getting stronger, mayhem.
Camp, surreal and very entertaining musical drama which looks the part and has some excellent songs and choreography with Money, Money and Two Ladies the standouts.
Michael York isn’t bad and Liza Minnelli excellent as Sally but it’s Joel Grey’s Master of Ceremonies that steals the show by being amusing but also slightly creepy.
Despite the upbeat musical numbers the whole film has a very dark undercurrent and it can be a little disjointed at times but enjoyable on the whole.
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on 5 September 2002
At the time it was released, Cabaret drew some serious critical support - Liza Minelli appeared on the cover of Time magazine in full Cabaret costume. Her career never really got any more high profile than that.
Has the film aged well? The first thing you notice when you look at again is the almost loving way the film has been shot, especially the cabaret scenes themselves. Most of the production numbers are utterly compelling - such as the famous finale of an exuberant Sally Bowles singing "Cabaret" itself. Also watch out for another show stopper - the newly-in-love Sally singing the haunting "Maybe This Time", giving it her all before just a few tired remaining members of the audience.
The device of contrasting a pervasive sense of decadence against the rise of Nazi Germany has, however, dated badly...apart from the neat, disturbing conclusion.
The film's saving grace is that it does not stand or fall on Minnelli's performance. Joel Grey's sinister, waif-like MC is one of those happy, inspired bits of casting that transforms a good film to a great one. Michael York's stiff, well-intentioned Englishman may be far from the actual personality Isherwood, but he works well as a counterpoint to Minnelli. The sub plot of jewish gigolo marrying jewish heiress is also touching, and well handled. There are cameo performances that are equally compelling, including another famous scene of a Hitler Youth leader rousing the crowd with an Aryan folk song.
Ultimately, though, the film's reputation rests on Minnelli's performance. Sexy, she ain't, but her extraordinary voice still raises the hairs on the back of your neck if you let it. And, under firm but creative directing, she is no slouch at acting. She is by turns touching, childlike, insufferable and vulnerable. A hard act to follow.
This is a film that deserves to live on.
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on 12 May 2015
I have given this only 4 stars because apart from a glitch where the picture freezes at 01 hr 23 mins and 33 seconds for 2-3 seconds it is a good film. This appears to be a fault as far as I can determine with the DVD Master, as I sent mine back, but the replacement had exactly the same fault. I am surprised no one else has mentioned it, as I have read all of them. I then purchased the original VHS tape which I think Amazon still have at the time of writing and no fault exists at the same point in the film on VHS video tape. For the reader's information, the scene is in a street by a bridge where Michael York is walking down towards some Nazi Party propargandists selling their literature and he then procedes to denounce them! The same scene on the VHS version is at 1Hr 24 mins 33-35 secs approximately. Nevertheless good music from John Kander and Fred Ebb. The usual classics including Welcome Emsee announcing "Where are your troubles now? So life is disappointing in here the girls are beautiful even Z orchestra is beautiful". Also the title track Cabaret and Money are two of my favourites. Overall a good depiction of Nazi pre war 1930s Berlin. No wonder they all headed for the Kit Kat club to leave their troubles outside!

PS One lady has recently given it one star " as it freezes half way through and was unable to watch the rest of the DVD". I think this maybe the same fault,although it could be coincidence(I doubt it),but I stress it is only for 2-3 seconds and if the viewer leaves the disc alone it picks up again and one can see the rest of the film.
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on 13 July 2014
CABARET [1972] [40th Anniversary Special] [Deluxe Limited Edition DigiBook] [Blu-ray] [US Import] Everyone Loves A Winner! A Divinely Decadent Experience!

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.

FILM FACT: ‘CABARET’ holds the record for most Academy Award® wins in a single year without winning the highest honour. But it won Best Picture, with Eight Awards. The film also won the Academy Award® for Best Director for Bob Fosse, Best Actress for Liza Minnelli, Best Supporting Actor for Joel Grey, and five more technical awards.

Cast: Liza Minnelli, Michael York, Helmut Griem, Joel Grey, Fritz Wepper, Helmut Griem, Marisa Berenson, Elisabeth Neumann-Viertel, Helen Vitam, Sigrid von Richthofen, Gerd Vespermann, Ralf Wolter, Georg Hartmann, Ricky Renée, Estrongo Nachama, Kathryn Doby, Inge Jaeger, Angelika Koch, Helen Velkovorska, Gitta Schmidt, Louise Quick, Pierre Franckh (uncredited), Ellen Umlauf (uncredited), Oliver Collignon (Hitler youth singer uncredited) and Mark Lambert (singing voice) (uncredited)

Director: Bob Fosse

Producer: Cy Feuer

Screenplay: Jay Presson Allen and Joe Masteroff (based on the play)

Composers: Fred Ebb [lyrics], John Kander and Ralph Burns [adaptation score]

Cinematography: Geoffrey Unsworth

Video Resolution: 1080p [Technicolor]

Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1

Audio: English: 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio

Subtitles: English SDH, French and Spanish

Running Time: 124 minutes

Region: Region A/1

Number of discs: 1

Studio: Warner Home Video

Andrew’s Blu-ray Review: This is loosely based on the 1966 Broadway show, the story is set in 1931 Berlin and focuses on a young American singer, Sally Bowles [Liza Minnelli], who works as a performer at the seedy and eccentric Kit Kat Club. When she rents out a room to an intelligent but reserved English tutor named Brian [Michael York], the two become good friends. Despite Brian's ambiguous sexuality, the pair eventually engages in a romantic relationship, but their coupling is tested when a third party is introduced. Meanwhile, the ascent of the Nazi Party looms ever-present in the background, casting a pale cloud of approaching doom over the nation.

Though he received plenty of accolades throughout his career, director Bob Fosse isn't as well known today as some of his other celebrated contemporaries, and that's really quite a shame. An important voice of the New Hollywood movement which brought an innovative, independent edge to the American cinema in the late 1960s and 70s and Fosse's work helped to usher in a new era of filmmaking that frequently subverted genre expectations. With 'CABARET,' the director essentially re-imagines the entire concept of studio musicals from the ground up, abandoning the elaborate, feel-good productions of the golden age, in favour of something much more raw and intimate.

Characters don't burst out into random melody to express their emotions or desires. Instead, the musical numbers are all relegated to the stage within the Kit Kat club, maintaining an air of reality throughout the proceedings. Likewise, the subject matter of the story is a far cry from the positive, up-lifting material usually associated with the art form. This is a film that deals with serious and provocative subject matter, resulting in a song and dance experience geared exclusively toward adults. Truly original when first released in 1972, the film hasn't lost any of its creative lustre, and still manages to feel fresh despite its weighty influence on subsequent works.

Through cross-cutting and dialectical montage, the director expertly juxtaposes several of the deceptively jaunty tunes with more disturbing imagery, like a gang of Nazis brutally beating a man, drawing meaningful parallels between the two. Likewise, the film's compositions and camera movement’s work in tandem with its theatrical subjects, further embellishing the slightly exaggerated world of the club through grotesque flash. Much like the dancers themselves, Fosse's visual and editing style follows a meticulously planned, but altogether unpredictable rhythm, giving aesthetic life to the sleazy, dizzying cabaret.

Stepping into the smoky spotlight, Liza Minnelli shines brightly as the enthusiastic but delusional dreamer Sally Bowles. Childlike, eccentric, and fuelled by an infectious thirst for life, the character is somehow graceful, crass, pouty, sultry, and totally awkward all at once. Always aspiring just outside her reach, she hides a tragic layer of fragile desperation beneath an outward veneer of confidence. Minnelli does an amazing job of realizing all of the woman's strengths and flaws and when she takes to the stage… wow. The actress absolutely explodes, giving a truly powerful and commanding musical performance that bursts from the screen.

As memorable as Liza Minnelli is, in the role of the enigmatic Master of Ceremonies, Joel Gray just about steals the show with his mesmerizing performance. Limited only to the Kit Kat Club and having no actual dialogue outside of songs, the part isn't so much an actual character as it is a living extension of the stage itself. An ambiguous, creepy, almost otherworldly figure, Joel Gray could be interpreted as an impish embodiment of the film's escalating dread. Though he at times seems rather harmless and benign, during key moments the director will quickly cut to the character's unsettling smile, cementing the theatrical spectre as some kind of foreboding omen of things to come.

Bookended by shots of a distorted reflection, the film concludes with a simple but utterly haunting image. An eerie portent of further horrors lurking just around the corner, the final scene manages to speak volumes, saying everything that needs to be said through so little. A powerful reinvention of the Hollywood musical, 'CABARET' chronicles a brief dalliance between two seemingly opposite individuals in Berlin, while the city slowly succumbs to the tragic spread of hatred. As Sally Bowles sparkles on the tiny, seedy stage of the decadent Kit Kat Club, the world outside quietly crumbles, and the spotlight dims on a nation soon to be consumed by shadow.

Blu-ray Video Quality – The restored print is in very great shape with no real damage to speak of. A heavy layer of grain is visible throughout, and while natural and filmic in appearance, it does give the image a decidedly rough quality. Fine details are solid, especially in close-ups, but the cinematography has a predominantly soft appearance with frequently hazy, diffuse lighting. Colours during the film's various musical numbers are strong, with some rich blues, reds, and purples offering a decent sense of pop through the Kit Kat Club's smoky atmosphere. Off the stage, however, the palette becomes much drabber, and mostly sticks to faded browns and yellows that all work to evoke a bygone era. Likewise, the film's sense of depth follows suit, demonstrating pleasing dimension during many of the dance sequences and brightly lit outdoor scenes, but becoming flat in most other instances. Contrast is even throughout with natural whites and consistent black levels, but there is some minor crush in night-time shots. 'CABARET' features an artistically potent visual style, but the frequently hazy and coarse picture isn't always very appealing. Still, there are several truly striking shots peppered throughout, and thankfully the image is free of any unnecessary processing or "revisionist" manipulation. The video isn't impressive in the same way that many glossy contemporary efforts are, but fans of the film should be very pleased with this faithful transfer.

Blu-ray Audio Quality – The film is presented with a 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track. Optional English, French, and Spanish subtitles are also provided. Though the audio is never exactly enveloping, the modest sound design is potent and the musical numbers sound fantastic. Dialogue and vocals are clean but speech can sound comparatively thin. The mix is very frontloaded, with only some faint music cues hitting the surrounds. The overall soundstage is also pretty small, but appropriate directional effects, such as a record playing off to the side, for instance, are spread across the left, centre, and right channels when called for. Of course, the real highlights here are the movie's numerous musical numbers, and thankfully these sequences sound great. The songs all come through with solid fidelity, nice separation, and terrific range, delivering crisp, distortion free highs and mid ranges that really let Liza Minnelli's powerful voice soar. Low frequencies are negligible, but there is some minor bass activity during certain music tracks and a key scene involving a passing train. Thankfully, I did not detect any crackles, pops, or hissing. The true surround activity is subdued, but this track shines when it counts. The film's musical sequences are conveyed beautifully, and the studio has resisted the urge to spruce up the original recordings with an overproduced remix.

Blu-ray Special Features and Extras:

Audio Commentary: Commentary with Stephen Tropiano: Stephen Tropiano, author of "Cabaret: Music on Film," offers a worthwhile discussion on the movie, tracing its historical context, inspirations, casting, and production. Stephen Tropiano provides some solid trivia about the shoot and also touches upon the films visuals, choreography, and treatment of sexuality and anti-Semitism. Though the author does spend a fair amount of time simply elaborating on the film's plot, he always peppers in some interesting observations and analysis.

Special Feature: Cabaret: The Musical that Changed Musicals [1080p] [1.78:1] [29:00] This new documentary is as much a biography of Fosse as it is an account of the making of Cabaret. Because so few of the key creative personnel are still alive, the participants skew heavily toward secondary sources, including Fosse biographers Martin Gottfried and Sam Wasson, and Stephen Tropiano, who supplied the Blu-ray's commentary. Minnelli, Grey and York are interviewed (the latter sounding quite ill), as is songwriter John Kander and dancer Louise Quick. Bebe Neuwirth and Ben Vereen, who were directed by Fosse on other projects, supply their insights, as does Alan Heim, the editor of All That Jazz, and Rob Marshall, director of the film Chicago, of which Fosse was the original director on Broadway. The director's daughter, Nicole, also contributes. The documentary is narrated by Neil Patrick Harris, one of many musical theatre stars who played the M.C. in the 1998 Broadway revival of “CABARET.”

Special Feature: Cabaret: A Legend in the Making [1997] [480i] [1.33:1] [18:00] This excellent documentary was originally shot for the film's 25th Anniversary, this documentary offers more production trivia and stories from the cast and crew. Thankfully, the vast majority of the information shared here isn't just a re-tread of the previous supplement, and we are treated to some rare footage from the film's camera and costume test reels.

Special Feature: The Recreation of an Era [480i] [1:33:1] [6:00] This is a vintage documentary looks at the making of the film that features some behind-the-scenes footage from the set.

Special Feature: Kit Kat Klub Memory Gallery [480i] [1:33:1] [22:00] In this section we get 23 additional clips with the cast and crew spread over 9 different categories: Liza Minnelli Remembers, Joel Gray Reminisces, Michael York Remembers, Martin Baum Reminisces, Cy Feuer Reminisces, Emanuel L. Wolf Reminisces, John Kander Remembers, Jay Presson Allen Reminisces, and Fred Ebb Remembers. These snippets all appear to have been cut from the longer "Cabaret: A Legend in the Making" documentary, and there are some interesting tidtits here, but most of the clips are very brief (under a minute) and unfortunately there is no play all option.

Theatrical Trailer [1972] [480i] [2:56] This is the Original Theatrical Trailer for ‘CABARET.’

BONUS: Deluxe Limited Edition DigiBook: Warner Bros. presents 'CABARET’ 40th Anniversary Special Edition' and comes housed in a wonderful DigiBook package filled with 40-pages of interesting production info, essays, photographs and a useful history of the various works preceding the film, beginning with Christopher Isherwood's stories, as well as biographies of Liza Minnelli, Michael York, Joel Grey, Bob Fosse, Helmut Griem and Marisa Berenson.

Finally, Warner Home Video turns in a fantastic high definition presentation for ‘CABARET’ and it isn't just one of the great film musicals of all time; it's one of the greatest classic films of its time. Innovative, unique, and ultimately haunting, Bob Fosse's 'CABARET' remains an important piece of motion picture art. Its provocative and realistic take on the Hollywood musical left an indelible influence on the industry, and the film remains a true classic. The video is a little hazy, but the transfer is authentic and free of any unnecessary digital manipulation. Though frontloaded, the audio mix serves the film well, and the musical numbers sound fantastic. Thankfully, Warner Home Video has put together a nice selection of supplements for this 40th Anniversary Special Edition, including a commentary and a new retrospective documentary. Coupled with the great Deluxe Limited Edition DigiBook package, plus makes this Blu-ray set the bar high for hopefully future classic film releases. On top of all that, ever since I saw this released in the cinema it has been a massive hit with me, of course I use to have the inferior Region 1 DVD release for ages, but now got rid of because of this awesome Deluxe Limited Edition DigiBook Package, that makes the wait well worth it and mow goes pride of place in my Blu-ray Disc Collection. Very Highly Recommended!

Andrew C. Miller – Your Ultimate No.1 Film Fan
Le Cinema Paradiso
WARE, United Kingdom
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You sometimes forget just how good such and such a film is and that was certainly the case with me and "Cabaret"; it seems as good today as when I first saw it as a sixth former.

One of the reasons it works so well, I would suggest, is that the musical scenes belong almost exclusively to the seedy, decadent world of the Kit Kat Klub, undercutting and underlining what is going on in society at large and specifically in the Berlin of 1931. Unlike in the stage musical, characters who are not drawn from the ranks of the Kit Kat Klub itself, such as Michael York, surely never better in a pivotal role, and the bisexual aristocrat played by Helmut Griem, do not burst into song at the drop of a hat. In fact, the most significant musical item which takes place outside the walls of the Kit Kat Klub is the chillingly effective "Tomorrow Belongs to Me" (brilliantly sung, incidentally, on the TER recording by the distinguished tenor John Mark Ainsley, no less); it is a fact hard to acknowledge, but the song is something of a guilty pleasure for me (as I know it is for others), its dreadful sentiments notwithstanding.

Mesmerising though he undoubtedly is, I would question whether Joel Grey's sinister, impish turn as the MC was actually worthy of a Best Supporting Actor Oscar, but there can be no denying the brilliance of Liza Minnelli as Sally Bowles; the knowledge that Miss Minnelli seems to have turned out to embody a similar combination of brashness and vulnerability as the character she is playing in the film does nothing to lessen her impact here. She is absolutely superb and her singing is, it goes without saying, wonderful.

As a choreographer and dancer, Bob Fosse has, of course, done a great job with the musical numbers, but his direction of the entire movie is absolutely flawless; this is not just a musical for those people who like musicals; it is rather a musical for those of us who love film. If you don't own it already, I urge you to snap it up without delay!
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on 3 February 2012
Normally I hate musicals,they just seems so unreal and break up the flow of events in a story.Not so this musical.It is set in the dying days of the Weimar republic around 1931 to 32 and is loosely based on Christopher Isherwood's Berlin novels.The film is about the relationship between night club singer 'Sally Bowles' played by Lisa Minelli and Brian Porter (Michael York) a young post graduate student who has come to Berlin to finish his dissertation and to finance his endevours by giving English lessons to Germans.Brian moves into the same lodgings as Sally and soon a relationship develops between them.Eventually a third rich German playboy called Max comes between them and Sally and Brian end up both having a sexual relationship with him behind each others back.Eventually it all gets a bit too much for Max and he heads for the hills.Brian has a fight with Sally and reveals his sexual involvement with Max and she also does the same.Brian goes off in a huff and gets into a fight with two Brown Shirts.He gets badly beaten and nursed back to health by Sally.She lets him know Max has left and left them some money.Sally also finds she is pregnant and Brian offers to marry her.Sally accepts but then has an abortion, Brian is very upset when he finds out and can't understand why.Sally tells him that it's because they would only end up hating each other and she couldn't stand that.Brian leaves and Sally remains in Berlin.There is also a side story about two students of Brian's one of whom is a rich Jewish single heiress and a young man who wants to make his way in the world.He tries to court the Heiress but get's nowhere,eventually 'pouncing' and evoking reciprocal feelings.The heiress refuses to marry him because she is Jewish and doesn't want to hurt her father by marrying outside her faith.Eventually her suitor reveals his hidden Jewish background and they marry.
The context of the story sets the scene and the issues of life are played out on stage at the Kit Kat club,the audience becoming more and more dominated by Brown Shirts as Germans increasingly turn to National Socialism as a way out of Germany's social and economic predicament.
Although I loved the film I have to say I loved Isherwood's novels even more.What comes across from the Berlin Novels,especially 'Mr Norris Changes Trains' is the conflict between those who oppose the Nazis-the Communists and Social Democrats and those who are being won over.It's as if history is coalescing on the streets of Berlin as bourgeoise society rapidly disintigrates.The underlying sense of the threat violence is always the backdrop in the book as Marxism and National Socialism face each other in the working class districts of Berlin.We do get a sense of the Nazis coming to power with brutality on a street level in the film but it's somehow more subdued than in the novels of Isherwood.
The film is set as a lesson from history regarding the folly of ideology but Isherwoods novels are more an expression not of a lesson,as if what happened in the Weimar was a one off but as an illustratin of underlying forces-those that claim history is about the conflict of classes and those that claim it is the conflict of peoples and races and the inevitabilty of choice.
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on 21 April 2012
It is difficult to believe that there is no version of this brilliant film available in anamorphic transfer. Surely it is not too much to ask that one of the best films of all time be restored so that it is viewable on a large screen TV. I saw this film many times when it was first released and believe that it is a screen masterpiece. Shame on those responsible for its release onto DVD that they have not treated it with the respect which it deserves. A perfect film treated with disdain by those who should know better.
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on 26 May 2002
Cabaret is up there with the all time great movies. It is a sumptuous, elegantly shot cinematic classic which has stood the test of time and is as fresh to watch today as it was 30 years ago. Set in the seedy Kit-kat Club in pre-war Berlin, the story follows the entangled lives of Michael Yorke and the iconic images of Liza Minnelli as Sally Bowles. With the ever present dangers of a world war breaking, the story follows Yorke/Minnelli's off-beat relationship and is accompanied by sleek choreography, an
amazing collection of songs and outstanding performances by the cast (especially Joel Grey's eerie performance as Master of Ceremonies).
This film is definitely a must-see movie,if not only for the Oscar winning performances then, watch it for the outstanding singing and dancing. This film should be in any serious film lovers collection.
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on 22 May 2013
The new Blu-Ray transfer Of Cabaret,is just terrific!
I received it a few days ago,and loved it all again,as I
did forty-one years ago when I ran it in a cinema.

This Blu-ray package,comes with a beautifully produced
forty page booklet,about the history of the film,it`s
stars and it`s production.
It is very well-worth having. Do treat yourselves and buy
a copy.

The whole film is a wonderful piece of work,and in no way
shows it`s age. You could rightly say it is ageless.
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on 30 July 2009
CABARET is undoubtedly one of the best ten films ever made, there's little argument with that. But please don't buy this edition on the basis that it is a 16x9 transfer, as it's NOT, it's 4x3. Which means if you play it you will end up with a smaller picture on your screen (unless you zoom it), and the sound is not that crash hot either. Which is really disappointing, the film deserves way better than this.
Hopefully the Blu-Ray version will be correct and restored, we've waited long enough for a decent version, let's hope that will be the one!
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