Monday, December 17, 2012

Divine Decadence Darling! Have A Cabaret Holiday with Liza Minnelli


"I suppose you're wondering what I'm doing, working at a place like the Kit Kat Club," says Liza Minnelli's character Sally Bowles to Michael York's dashing English character Brian Roberts in Cabaret. To which he replies in his restrained tone of voice, "Well, it is a rather unusual place."  To which Bowles replies, "That's me, darling. Unusual places, unusual love affairs. I am a most strange and extraordinary person."

With that exchange, we're off and running with a most wonderful film musical -- the 1972 award-winning masterpiece that is Cabaret -- for which there are more reasons to watch it than you think!! Of course, it's not the conventional holiday viewing fare you normally think of when you think of mistletoe, fruitcake and The Sound of Music -- but you gotta admit that for those of us who just love a good song and dance film sprinkled with razzle dazzle, love affairs, great ensemble acting, a tinge of horror and sadness of 1930s Berlin and those good-looking guys Michael York and Helmut Griem -- well, how can you not feel festive and wanting to put down the knitting, the book and the broom? Well??

Did you know that Cabaret was selected by the United States National Film Registry in 1995 as being deemed "culturally, historically or aesthetically significant" (but we always knew that, didn't we?).  And the American Film Institute ranked it as #5 on its list of best musicals in 2006 -- preceded in 2004 with the song "Cabaret" positioned as #18 on the AFI's list "100 Years...100 Songs."  And later in 2007, the film was voted #63 on AFI's list of the 100 Greatest American Movies!! (Thank goodness for AFI validating what we always believed about this super flick!)  But the main reason to watch it, of course, is for the superb performances all around by a dream cast whose equal in movie musicals has yet to be matched.  Liza Minnelli was originally denied the Broadway stage role (boy, I bet they were sorry!).  Joel Grey reprised his stage role for the film.  Boyishly handsome Michael York was hand-picked by director Bob Fosse. And Marisa Berenson turns in a fab performance too -- as she transforms from department store heiress caught up in the world of social etiquette to a woman who finally finds love on the eve of darkness in anti-Semitic Germany.  And it the rehearsals and filming took place completely in Germany for a true period feel! Though it won eight Academy Awards, it was upstaged for Best Picture of the Year by The Godfather.  Rightfully, it won seven BAFTA Awards (including Best Film -- yes!) and won the title of Best Motion Picture (Musical/Comedy) at the Golden Globe Awards.  So, blow your horn and start celebrating -- it's time to watch Cabaret!!