a musical depiction of decadent life in pre-Hitler Berlin.
What can be said of this multi-award winning film musical, that hasn't already been said? Well perhaps itís simply worth repeating that this feature marked one of the first mainstream films that celebrated homosexuality, just as openly as it did heterosexuality. For finally here was a film in which the theme of sexual diversity was not only an integral part of the show, but one that arrived with the immortal line "maybe you just don't sleep with girls - oh, you don't!"
But that's OK. For this is Berlin 1931 style, a time when just about anything went - and did. And if you happen to be in the business of providing entertainment chanteuse fashion, then you could well find yourself in demand. Such is the life of aspiring actress / Kit Kat Klub singer Sally Bowles, a woman who is soon to find herself sharing lodgings with upper-middle class English teacher Brian Roberts, only for her to discover that whilst he loves her personality, he's not exactly in love with her body. Rather he's in love with the physique of one Maximilian von Heune. Trouble is - so is Sally. But that's the least of their problems, given fascism at this time was but a rising tide.
In short, this is Bob Fosse's acclaimed film adaptation of the 1966 Broadway musical that in itself was based on the play I Am a Camera by John Van Druten, as courtesy on the celebrated set of stories by Christopher Isherwood. Yet whilst the resultant film musical showcases a series of timeless song-and-dance numbers from the like of Money Money, Maybe This Time to the exuberant title routine, this is far from a Minnelli show, given Joel Grey steals the spotlight from her from time to time in his brilliant portrayal of the Master of Ceremonies. Both were rightly rewarded for their outstanding performances, in a film that went on to win 3 Golden Globe® awards, 7 BAFTA® awards and 8 Academy® awards, including those for Best Director, Best Actor in a Supporting Role and Best Actress in a Leading Role.
Then again, what we have here is a career-defining performance from Minnelli, one that shot her to the top of the Hollywood ladder, only for her to discover that and as many an actor knows only too well, staying there is a difficult act to master. For whether by way of poor management or sheer bad luck, all too few of the films that Minnelli would star in thereafter, would showcase her immense talent to this degree. And whilst this is not to take anything away from the fine work from Michael York as Brian (Isherwood) Roberts and Helmut Griem as Maximilian von Heune, it is to say that they are simply upstaged by the sheer vibrance of the Minnelli / Grey double act.
The result is a screen classic, one that captured Minnelli at her best, whilst equally showcasing the spectrum of sexual diversity for all to see, even if in the process Isherwood would come to remark: "more than anything I liked Michael York. What I didnít like, was the way they made him bisexual. I was then, as I am now, a completely adjusted homosexual." Need more be said, indeed?
available on DVD as The Standard Edition and 30th Anniversary Special Edition
winner of 3 Golden Globes®, 7 BAFTAs® and 8 Academy® awards
starring: Liza Minnelli / Sally Bowles, Michael York / Brian Roberts, Helmut Griem / Maximilian von Heune,
Joel Grey / Master of Ceremonies, Fritz Wepper / Fritz Wendel, Marisa Berenson / Natalia Landauer,
Elisabeth Neumann-Viertel / Fräulein Schneider, Helen Vita / Fräulein Kost, Sigrid von
Richthofen / Fräulein Mayr, Gerd Vespermann / Bobby, Ralf Wolter / Herr Ludwig,
Georg Hartmann / Willi and Ricky Renée as Elke.
Willkommen | Mein Herr | Watschentanz - The Slap Dance | Maybe This Time | Money Money
Two Ladies | Tomorrow Belongs To Me | Tiller Girls / Drum Cascade
If You Could See Her | Cabaret | Willkommen - Finale.