I so understand why Liza Minnelli is a gay icon. Her voice, her poise, her performance in Cabaret was just stunning. To be honest, I wasn’t such a big Liza fan until I watched this film. All I remembered of her was the 16 month marriage she had with the creepy plastic-faced husband David Gest; but she was an absolute diva all along.
Set during 1930’s Germany, cabaret joint the ‘Kit Kat Club’ boasts a dynamic array of tantalising treats to their rich patrons. The star of the show, Sally (Minnelli), steals the spotlight and the hearts of her admirers, if only for brief liaisons. Sally dreams of a life more fulfilling; an escape she imagines could only be accomplished if she were a star of the silver screen. A wandering English teacher, Brian (Michael York) soon occupies the boarding room opposite Sally’s. Brian’s uptight and courteous personality combined with boisterous drama-queen Sally, make them an unlikely pair but as often happens in the movies, their relationship quickly blossoms. Mix this love story with the glitter of showbiz and the looming threat of Nazi power and you have one explosive film.
My favourite element in this film, aside form the brilliant Minnelli, would have to be the androgynous and sinister Master of Ceremonies (Joel Grey). He reminded me of all that cabaret embraces, unconditional gusto, precise execution and a little sleaze… well, a lot of sleaze.
Cabaret is a wildly entertaining classic richly embedded with the universal issues of unchecked power, the weapon of apathy, and of course, love. This is one film that would be enjoyed by both film geeks and casual movie-goers. Rent it.
DIRECTED BY BOB FOSSE