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Archive for November 3rd, 2011

Cabaret (no.7)

by Allan Fish

(filling in for Sam, who wanted to write a piece but Mother Hellcat Nature deemed otherwise)

(USA 1972 123m) DVD1/2

Come hear the music play

p  Cy Feuer  d  Bob Fosse  w  Jay Preston Allen  novel  “Goodbye to Berlin” by Christopher Isherwood  play  “I am a Camera” by John van Druten  ph  Geoffrey Unsworth  ed  David Bretherton  md  Ralph Burns  m/ly  John Kander, Fred Ebb  ch  Bob Fosse  art  Rolf Zehetbauer, Jürgen Kiebach  cos  Charlotte Fleming

Liza Minnelli (Sally Bowles), Michael York (Brian Roberts), Joel Grey (MC), Helmut Griem (Maximilian von Heune), Marisa Berenson (Natalia Landauer), Fritz Wepper (Fritz Wendel),

By the time Cabaret was released in 1972, the popularity of big budget stage musical adaptations was running rather thin.  Such ventures kept musicals alive when the studio system collapsed and took with it their studios within a studio that churned out musicals for fun.  Yet of such adaptations, only The Pajama Game, West Side Story and The Music Man were really of interest cinematically.  The first of those was probably the most dynamic and was choreographed by none other than Bob Fosse, who later gave the musical its last great flowering fifteen years later in this classic representation of Weimar Berlin.  It never won best picture as it was unfortunate to run up against The Godfather, but it’s interesting to note how relatively extinct the musical has since become and how such a comparatively stage bound film as Chicago could win best picture exactly thirty years later, with nice photography and performances (from Queen Latifah and Richard Gere in particular), but little style.  It can only be mourned that Fosse himself was never given the chance to direct that Kander-Ebb piece in the seventies, but at least we still have Cabaret, the first musical masterpiece since the MGM glory days of the early fifties.  (more…)

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