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Cabaret

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Airing tonight on TCM at 8:00 PM Eastern is Bob Fosse's divinely decadent Cabaret starring the one and only Liza Minnelli with songs by John Kander and Fred Ebb.

 

This movie was Fosse's fiollow up film to Sweet Charity, which was a huge box office flop.

I saw Sweet Charity when it appeared as part of the Friday Spotlight on Road Show Musicals and I think it was a wonderful movie, but I digress . . .

 

The movie Cabaret was adapted from the hit Broadway stage musical which was adapted from John Van Druten's play I Am A Camera which was adapted from Christopher Isherwood's Berlin Stories, in particular the one called "Sally Bowles." I Am A Camera focused on English night club peformer Sally Bowles in Weimar Berlin with a subplot about a gigolo wooing a wealthly Jewish girl. The stage musical Cabaret replaced the gigolo subplot with one about a romance between Sally's gentile landlady and a Jewish grocer. The movie Cabaret restored the subplot  about the gigolo and the Jewish heiress with the role of Sally's landlady greatly reduced.

 

Bob Fosse's concept of the musical was for the songs to be sung only in the context of a performance, with no characters bursting into song during a scene. As a result all of the songs from the stage musical that were "sung dialogue" were eliminated. The songs in the movie, except for one, were all performed in the Kit Kat Club where Sally Bowles works. Supposedly Fosse at one point wanted to cut the "Tomorrow Belongs To Me" number sung by the German youth in the beer garden because he thought all the songs in the movie should be sung inside the cabaret. Happily he decided to keep this song in his final cut of the film. The song works wonderfully to show the rise of Nazism and the scene where it is sung is quite chilling.

 

There are not enough superlatives for Liza Minnelli's performance in this movie. In the original stage play Sally Bowles was a mediocre singer whose illusions of being "discovered" were comically pathethic. Liza Minnelli's Sally, on the other hand, is a bravura singer and dancer. The idea here is that while Sally is a great talent she's an emotional and psychological wreck. The movie version added three songs by Kander and Ebb for Liza that were not in the stage production: "Mein Herr," "Money" (a duet with Joel Grey, who recreated his stage role as the club's M.C.) and "Maybe This Time" (a song that had originally been recorded by Liza for her New Feelin' album released in 1970).

Liza's Sally is also American. Liza had auditioned for the role in the stage musical. One of the reasons she supposedly was rejected was because the character was English. In interviews Liza has commented that she was not even asked if she could do any kind of an English accent.

 

After a screening of Cabaret, Vincente Minnelli (Liza's father) told Bob Fosse that he had made a perfect movie.

I completely agree!

 

 

Life is a cabaret, old chum.

Come to the cabaret.

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I'll admit that I've only seen this film once, but I agree that Liza Minnelli was fantastic as Sally Bowles.  It's great to see that she was talented on her own and was not just riding the coattails of her famous and very talented mother, Judy Garland.  Liza, like her mother, had her own distinct style that set her apart from others. 

 

I was reading some trivia about this film on IMDB and apparently, the author of the story on which Cabaret is based, thought that Minnelli was too talented for the part of Sally Bowles.  Bowles was supposed to be an amateur talent who thought she had what it takes to be a star, but doesn't.  Minnelli definitely does not fit that description. 

 

I thought Joel Grey was also great as the Master of Ceremonies.  He apparently performed extensive research in order to affect an accurate German accent. 

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The movie Cabaret was adapted from the hit Broadway stage musical which was adapted from John Druten's play I Am Camera which was adapted from Christopher Isherwood's Berlin Stories, in parrticular the one called "Sally Bowles." I Am Camera focused on English night club peformer Sally Bowles in Weimar Belin with a subplot about a gigolo wooing a wealthly Jewish girl.

 

The 1955 film version of the play is on YouTube, under the code term:

 

I AM A CAMERA (1955) Julie Harris
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Airing tonight on TCM at 8:00 PM Eastern is Bob Fosse's divinely decadent Cabaret starring the one and only Liza Minnelli with songs by John Kander and Fred Ebb....

 

...After a screening of Cabaret, Vincente Minnelli (Liza's father) told Bob Fosse that he had made a perfect movie.

I completely agree!

 

 

Life is a cabaret, old chum.

Come to the cabaret.

Nice write-up, Bagel boy. You should post that on the IMDb (if you haven't already done so).

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Liza's Sally is also American. Liza had auditioned for the role in the stage musical. One of the reasons she supposedly was rejected was because the character was English. In interviews Liza has commented that she was not even asked if she could do any kind of an English accent.

 

 

The character that Michael York plays in the movie CABARET has an interesting history.

The character is based on Christopher Isherwood, the English author of Berlin Stories.

In I AM CAMERA the character is English and is called Christopher Isherwood.

In the musical play CABARET he is called Cliff Bradshaw and is American. 

In the movie CABARET he is English again and is called Brian Roberts.

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The character that Michael York plays in the movie CABARET has an interesting history.

The character is based on Christopher Isherwood, the English author of Berlin Stories.

In I AM CAMERA the character is English and is called Christopher Isherwood.

In the musical play CABARET he is called Cliff Bradshaw and is American. 

In the movie CABARET he is English again and is called Brian Roberts.

 

That is too complicated for me to remember. I hope we don't have a test question about all of that! :)

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A couple of years ago I saw I AM A CAMERA on YouTube, and I was at least a half hour into the film before it dawned on me that this was the same story as CABARET. And then I noticed that Liza Minnelli was copying the mannerisms of Julie Harris. I assume Julie's mannerisms were well described in the original book.

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To me CABARET is a classic musical. Even if it's likely to be considered "too new" by some on these boards because, after all it's "only" 43 years old. There's a couple of things I remember about the original release.

 

Many people who went to see it were shocked  by its sexuallity and violence. It wasn't  the typical Hollywood era musical they had grown up on. Some even called it pornographic. To others, it was a breath of fresh air.

 

The second time I saw it was in the company of a young German woman who had been spending the summer here. I told her to pick the movie and she chose CABARET. It was a big deal for her because the film had been banned in Germany. Not because the censors were offended by the sex, but because, at that time, movies about Nazis were prohibited.

 

Then when it was shown for the first time on network TV, ABC butchered it, trying to erase any suggestion of a homosexual relationship between Brian and Max, let alone one that might also have included Sally.

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The movie ends like the original stage play, but the recent revival goes a step further.Elements not brought out in the original give more bite. We see the emcee as a concentration camp prisoner wearing a striped pajamas with a pink triangle sewn to his breast Sally, the Frau and the grocer walk all about lost in a fog and we assume all met their fate in death as a result. They should remake Caberet with the revival's changes.

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This was THE movie to go see in my neck o' the woods when it was out.  Didn't see it then for reasons I don't recall.

 

But when I did finally see it(one of my second wife's favorites), I wound up liking it for the very reasons Mark said many people didn't.  NOT the typical Hollywood musical we all grew up with.

 

There were some "typicals" I liked over the earlier years, but by the time CABARET came out, I was more or less not into those movies anymore.  But I took an interest in wanting to get around to seeing it for a couple of reasons...

 

I used to think, back when I was much younger, that Liza Minelli was built kinda nice from seeing her show up on her mother's TV show to dance a bit.  And cute, too.  Didn't know she could also sing(and HOW!) until seeing this movie.

 

The other reason is that I thought her performance in THE STERILE CUCKOO was outstanding.

 

I don't know if I would call it "the perfect movie", but it's DAMN GOOD!

 

 

Sepiatone

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The movie ends like the original stage play, but the recent revival goes a step further.Elements not brought out in the original give more bite. We see the emcee as a concentration camp prisoner wearing a striped pajamas with a pink triangle sewn to his breast Sally, the Frau and the grocer walk all about lost in a fog and we assume all met their fate in death as a result. They should remake Caberet with the revival's changes.

 

It would certainly be interesting to see it with the additional material, but I'd rather not think of it as a remake of the movie. To me, another movie, like  both previous films and both stage versions, would simply be a different interpretation of Christopher Isherwood's  original work.

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Bob Fosse's concept of the musical was for the songs to be sung only in the context of a performance, with no characters bursting into song during a scene. As a result all of the songs from the stage musical that were "sung dialogue" were eliminated. The songs in the movie, except for one, were all performed in the Kit Kat Club where Sally Bowles works.

 

Some of the songs that were cut from the stage musical ended up as instrumental music in the movie CABARET. 

When I watched last night I heard the music for "It Couldn't Please Me More" and "Don't Tell Mama" playing on Sally Bowles's victrola.

In the play "It Couldn't Please Me More" was a duet by Fraulein Schneider (Sally's landlady) and Herr Schultz.

"Don't Tell Mama" was one of Sally's songs at Kit Kat Club that was replaced by "Mein Herr."

The "Mein Herr" number (with the chairs) in the movie provided a showcase for Bob Fosse's choreography and Liza Minnelli's dancing.

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The one thing I dislike about this film is that they did not eliminate all the anachronisms. And in spirit it seems like something from the 70s, not the period in which it was set.

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This was THE movie to go see in my neck o' the woods when it was out.  Didn't see it then for reasons I don't recall.

 

But when I did finally see it(one of my second wife's favorites), I wound up liking it for the very reasons Mark said many people didn't.  NOT the typical Hollywood musical we all grew up with.

 

There were some "typicals" I liked over the earlier years, but by the time CABARET came out, I was more or less not into those movies anymore.  But I took an interest in wanting to get around to seeing it for a couple of reasons...

 

I used to think, back when I was much younger, that Liza Minelli was built kinda nice from seeing her show up on her mother's TV show to dance a bit.  And cute, too.  Didn't know she could also sing(and HOW!) until seeing this movie.

 

The other reason is that I thought her performance in THE STERILE CUCKOO was outstanding.

 

I don't know if I would call it "the perfect movie", but it's DAMN GOOD!

 

 

Sepiatone

All right. I'll admit it. I have a difficult time sitting through an extended period of Liza Minnelli.

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The movie ends like the original stage play, but the recent revival goes a step further.Elements not brought out in the original give more bite. We see the emcee as a concentration camp prisoner wearing a striped pajamas with a pink triangle sewn to his breast Sally, the Frau and the grocer walk all about lost in a fog and we assume all met their fate in death as a result. They should remake Caberet with the revival's changes.

 

What revival? This sounds interesting.

 

Could you please give a little detail as to which version you're talking about?

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I loved Cabaret the first time I saw it upon its release, but solely because of the music, which is almost on the level of the Broadway version of My Fair Lady and the 1954 off-Broadway version of Threepenny Opera.  Liza and Joel Gray are beyond superlatives.

 

But other than those two?  And the movie itself?  Blecchhh. The nadir was that scene in an African beer garden where the Nazi youth starts singing "The Stag in the Meadow" as if he were singing a lullaby to a baby, only to see it quickly metamorphosize into a rousing rendition of  "Tomorrow Belongs to Me", joined in by what seemed like the entire German colony of stormtroopers, farmers, and hausfrauen.   It's hard to imagine a scene in any movie that ever reeked more of overkill than that one, with its attempt to convey the horrors of Naziism by presenting a number that would have been better placed in The Producers as a clueless self-parody.  But this is what can happen when mainstream Hollywood tries to mix "history" with entertainment.  They should leave history to the filmmakers from other continents and stick to doing what they know something about.

 

OTOH take away that godawful piece of whatever, and the musical soundtrack is still sublime.  Just one of life's little reminders that great things can often come in ugly packages.

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What revival? This sounds interesting.

 

Could you please give a little detail as to which version you're talking about?

 

The poster probably is referring to the 1998 Broadway revival of CABARET directed by Sam Menes, which was a transfer of Mendes's 1993 London West End revival for the Donmar Warehouse.

Alan C u m m m i n g , in an a truly electrifying performance, played the Emcee in both the London and Broadway productions.

In the London production Sally Bowles was played by Jane Horrocks (probably best known for her role as Bubble on ABSOLUTELY FABULOUS.). On Broadway Sally Bowles was played by Natasha Richardson. In the Mendes productions Sally Bowles was again a mediocre performer with delusions about her talents unlike the powerhouse performer that Liza Minnelli played in the movie. 

In addition to restoring songs that had been cut from the original stage production for the movie, he also added songs that were in the movie but not in the original 1960s production ("Maybe This Time, "Mein Herr").

 

(the auto censor forced me to add the spaces in the actor's surname)

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HoldenIsHere:  Just type out ALAN LOADSHOOTER from now on and we'll know who you're talking about:  The middle-aged thin guy from "The Good Wife". 

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HoldenIsHere:  Just type out ALAN LOADSHOOTER from now on and we'll know who you're talking about:  The middle-aged thin guy from "The Good Wife". 

 

I guess there's no second guessing the auto-bleeper, Mr. Gorman.

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There is no escape from the auto-censor even on a film site when typing out an actor's name or a movie's title.  Clever, eh?  Righto, then!  :blink:

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 The nadir was that scene in an African beer garden where the Nazi youth starts singing "The Stag in the Meadow" as if he were singing a lullaby to a baby, only to see it quickly metamorphosize into a rousing rendition of  "Tomorrow Belongs to Me", joined in by what seemed like the entire German colony of stormtroopers, farmers, and hausfrauen.  

 

The beer garden was in Germnay not Africa.

Max was planning on taking Sally amd Brian with him om his trip to Africa but he left without them.

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The beer garden was in Germnay not Africa.

Max was planning on taking Sally amd Brian with him om his trip to Africa but he left without them.

 

I stand corrected on the scene's location, but it's been a long time since I watched the movie all the way through.  The pastoral  setting of the scene was what caused the location conflation.*

 

But regardless of the location, the scene was much better suited for the mock-kitsch of The Producers.

 

* Although now that I think about it, it couldn't have been in Africa anyway, given that after Versailles, Germany was stripped  of all her African colonies.

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I love the movie Cabaret . Not just the music (which is terrific), but everything about it- the story ,the setting, the actors, the ambiance of decadent Berlin during the transition between the late Weimar Republic and the sinister beginnings of the Third Reich.

 

I know a lot of people have various criticisms of the film, but in my opinion, what's not to like?

 

The musical numbers alone are a great pleasure.

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Some of you may know that, due to the popularity of Cabaret, Christopher Isherwood, whose work inspired the musical, wrote (in 1976) Christopher and His Kind, a book about what really happened to him in Berlin. The Sally Bowles character is somewhat different -- still quite amazing. A few years ago, the BBC produced a television movie based on the book starring Matt Smith (recently of Dr. Who) as Isherwood. It's a brilliant, exciting film.  The characters' real names are used, hence Sally Bowles is Jean Ross; The Michael York character (Brian Roberts) is Isherwood; etc. W.H. Auden plays quite a large part in the story. Here's a link to the whole movie. It's powerful and graphic; heartbreaking and deeply moving:

 

 

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I love the movie Cabaret . Not just the music (which is terrific), but everything about it- the story ,the setting, the actors, the ambiance of decadent Berlin during the transition between the late Weimar Republic and the sinister beginnings of the Third Reich.

 

I know a lot of people have various criticisms of the film, but in my opinion, what's not to like?

 

The musical numbers alone are a great pleasure.

 

I agree, misswonderly.

 

When I saw CABARET when it aired this week on TCM the story and Bob Fosse's juxtaposition of beautiful and shocking imagery pulled me in as much as the great music. I wasn't planning on watching the entire movie-----I had things I needed to do---- but I couldn't stop watching.

 

And I found the "Tomorrow Belongs To Me" scene chilling not kitschy.

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