Writer: Jay Presson Allen (Screenplay) John Van Druten, Joe Masteroff, Christopher Isherwood (Play/Novel)
Starring: Liza Minnelli, Michael York, Helmut Griem, Joel Grey, Fritz Wepper, Marisa Berenson
Plot: A female girlie club entertainer in Weimar Republic era Berlin romances two men while the Nazi Party rises to power around them.
Tagline – Come to the Cabaret
Runtime: 2 Hours 4 Minutes
There may be spoilers in the rest of the review
Verdict: Delightfully Entertaining
Story: Cabaret starts when British man Brian Roberts (York) moves to Berlin into a spare room of female entertainer Sally Bowles (Minnelli), the two become friends as Brian is trying to become an actress, while Brian teaches English.
Both Brian and Sally offer advice to a German friend Fritz (Wepper) who is trying to start a romance with Natalia (Berenson), as we continue to see Sally open world experience being used to help people learn about the world as she is waiting for her love Maximilian von Heune (Griem), we dive into how the tough life of a dreamer in Berlin can be right as the Nazi party is starting to rise to power.
Thoughts on Cabaret
Characters – Sally Bowles is an entertainer from America working in Berlin, she knows how to use body to get men interested in her dancing and off stage, she has dreams of being an actress, but for now she must just entertain a crowd, she isn’t like most women being more open to relationship, which sees her become a bad example to Natalia and her love for two different men will make her life more complicated. Brian Roberts is an English man who has come to Berlin to teach, he rents one of the rooms in the same apartment as Sally, as the two become friends, he has his secret which during the era of this film could see him ruined, but his unconventional friendship with Sally shows the opposites can be friends. Maximilian von Heune is the German love interest for Sally, he is rich and turns her head to a better future, only not everything will be what it seems through his actions.
Performances – Liza Minnelli is fantastic in the leading role showing her skills in music and in acting to make her character feel way before her time. Michael York is brilliant too, bringing a character to 1930s Germany that wouldn’t be welcomed in this era, bring his conflicted character to life with ease. Helmut Griem brings us a strong character through the film and Joel Grey gets the entertaining parts of the film down with ease.
Story – The story here follows an American entertainer, an English teacher who are living in Berlin during the rise of the Nazi party, trying to navigate the socially acceptable behaviour, while remain their individual selves. Where this story truly shines is not hiding away from looking at the socially acceptable parts of characters for the era the film is set in, be is homosexuality or un-lady like behaviour through the eyes of a locals of Sally. This is tackling these themes head on and shows just how nervous the Germans would be getting with the Nazi party gaining power.
Musical – The songs and dance in this film are just as big as you would imagine, though I was expecting to see a few more if I am being honest.
Settings – The film being set in Berlin shows us just how the mindset of the characters are during the rise of the Nazi party, it shows us just how people from different backgrounds could become friends or more.
Final Thoughts – This is a wonderful classic, that isn’t scared to hide from the difficult themes for the era and gives us some of the biggest musical numbers in film.
Overall: Classic all around.