The film version of the 1966 John Kander-Fred Ebb Broadway musical] Cabaret is most unusual: it is literate, bawdy, sophisticated, sensual, cynical, heart-warming, and disturbingly thought-provoking. Liza Minnelli heads a strong cast. Bob Fosse’s generally excellent direction recreates the milieu of Germany some 40 years ago.
The adaptation of the stage book is expertly accomplished. The basic material derives from Christopher Isherwood’s Berlin stories, and a 1951 dramatic play by John Van Druten, filmed in 1955, I Am a Camera.
The screenplay, which never seems to talk down to an audience while at the same time making its candid points with tasteful emphasis, returns the story to a variety of settings. The sleazy cabaret remains a major recurring set.
The choice of Minnelli for the part of Sally Bowles was indeed daring. Good-hearted, quasi-sophisticated amorality and hedonism are not precisely Minnelli’s professional bag, and within many scenes she seems to carom from golly-gee-whiz-down-home rusticity to something closer to the mark.
1972: Best Director, Actress (Liza Minnelli), Supp. Actor (Joel Grey), Cinematography, Art Direction, Sound, Adapted Scoring, Editing.
Nominations: Best Picture, Adapted Screenplay