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Unforgettable - Liza Minnelli at her absolute best,
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This review is from: Cabaret - Special Edition [DVD] (DVD)
It's been many years since I last watched 'Cabaret' but, even 40 years after the release of the original movie, the visual impact - to say nothing of the unforgettable lyrics and Liza Minnelli - remains mind-blowingly impressive.
Despite this I soon found myself wondering how today's audience will identify with the undercurrent of the movie - of life in Berlin in 1931, during the last days of the decadent Weimar Republic and facing the increasingly ominous growth of Hitler's National Socialist party.
In the opening scenes members of the National Socialist party are harassed and occasionally kicked out of the Kit Kat Club but this attitude soon changes. Halfway through the film a boy is singing to the seated guests in a beer garden; at first it seems an innocent lyrical song about the beauties of nature but it gradually becomes the strident "Tomorrow Belongs to Me" song. When the camera finally shifts back we see the boy is actually wearing a brown Hitler youth uniform and, as he lifts his hand in the Nazi salute, nearly all the guests in the beer garden get up and voluntarily join in the singing and the saluting.
By the time we get to the finale of the film the audience of the Kit Kat Club is dominated by jack-booted members of the Nazi party.
The movie was nominated for 10 Academy Awards in 1973 and won a total of eight. Lisa Minnelli - at the absolute peak of her career - won the best actress award whilst Joel Grey (the decadent and brilliantly expressive Emcee at the Kit Kat Club) won the award for the best actor in a supporting role.
Watch and enjoy the movie and the songs - but remember to set the escapism of the Kit Kat Club against the violent and changing social structure that was rapidly consuming Germany. Changes that, six short years later, were to plunge the world into a global conflict.