1972, Movie, PG, 124 mins


Chilling Fosse vision of Weimar Berlin, stylishly directed and choreographed, featuring a show-stopping musical performance by Minnelli, Grey's unforgettable emcee and thoughtful acting from Michael York. The screenplay utilizes much of the Broadway musical's book, but also is influenced by both play and screen versions of I AM A CAMERA. Englishman Brian Roberts (York) arrives in Berlin, takes a small flat, and meets a promiscuous, eccentric American, Sally Bowles (Minnelli), who earns her living singing in the seedy Kit Kat Club. Brian, a bisexual, becomes involved with both Sally and a wealthy German playboy (Griem); meanwhile, Nazism is ever more evidently on the rise.

Minneli's knockout musical delivery tends to obscure the film's finer points, and, because Liza literally becomes a star before our eyes, her enactment of Sally Bowles's tragic mediocrity isn't plausible. Fosse wisely scrapped several weak songs from the original score and songwriters Kander and Ebb added some fine new ones. Everyone raves about "Money," the Grey-Minnelli duet, but the film's real showstoppers are "Mein Herr," where Liza rivals Dietrich in evoking Weimar-era decadence, and "Tomorrow Belongs to Me," in which a freshfaced German youth is gradually revealed as a Nazi. The final fadeout is extraordinary. leave a comment

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