- Written by Sandi Tracey
As WB's 90th Anniversary celebration continues with the release of some of the most well known and beloved motion pictures of all time on Blu-ray, I was presented with the wonderful opportunity to review Cabaret. I had never seen it before and because I had heard of how critically acclaimed it was, I was excited to view it.
What can I say - I ended up with mixed feelings about having jumped at this chance. On one hand, this was a storyline that made me feel dirty and cheap. It gave me the "willies" - I thought it was creepy, in a smokey sort of way. On the other hand, the delivery of this production was rather astounding to have such an affect on me!
First, let me state that this musical is not for conservatives. Second, let me state that I am a conservative. Not extreme, mind you - but conservative, none the less.
The content of this movie is not what I would normally consider to be my kind of entertainment - somehow things of a seedy nature turn me off, and the seediness of this musical actually bothered me to the point where I couldn't watch the whole thing through in one sitting -- I had to turn it off and finish watching it the next day, after shaking off that weird feeling I got from watching it.
This having been said, I'm giving this movie my own version of thumbs up anyway - just because of how bothered I was by it. It spoke to me. It may not have been what I wanted to hear, but it spoke.
It showed me a life that made my own look sheltered. It gave me something to be thankful for. It made me glad it wasn't me.
Life in the cabaret was dirty. The girls dressed and carried on like floozies. They'd sit with their legs apart and they looked as if they hadn't had a bath in weeks. One could virtually smell the stench emanating from their profanely-clad bodies just watching those scenes. Their makeup looked as though a zombie clown-demon came to them in a bad dream and bitch-slapped them with a makeup palate. They looked terrible, they sounded worse, and lonely men paid good money to see them.
Sally Bowles was an American in 1931 Berlin, working in that seedy joint. As classless as she was, her deliverance was marvelous. She was, no doubt, the real reason that place had any paying customers.
All she wanted was to be a star. She didn't care about anything else. Her idea of love was her eccentric dress and behavior. But deep down you can see she just wanted to be loved like anyone else despite that her escapades held top priority on her to-do list.
She meets a German English teacher - and they seem to get along great, except for one thing - he seems immune to her 'charms'. She doesn't understand this until she realizes he's bisexual. As the story continues, she ends up sharing him with another guy - they seem to have quite a threesome going on.
This movie explores interesting things - being a jew in Germany when the Nazis were in power, being a homosexual or bisexual during the same time period, and the subject of abortion.
Minnelli's performance was amazing - she seemed to have an uncanny ability to pull of the eccentric persona of Sally quite well. And that voice. Oh my! Liza can sure belt it out! I enjoyed listening to her sing, and watching her stage performance in this motion picture was sheer delight!
Artistically, this is an awesome movie that was well put together, and I can see why it won so many awards. The cinematography really captured the sleazy atmosphere of the cabaret, the storyline itself causes the viewer to virtually live it with the characters, and the costuming and make up really came together well to catch the viewer up in the spirit of the tale. So while the tawdry storyline isn't quite my forte, it was still an interesting viewing experience for me. I'm glad I saw it.