Blu-ray Review: Bob Fosse’s Beloved ‘Cabaret’ Gets Digibook Edition

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CHICAGO – It’s easy to see why “Cabaret” was such a phenomenon when it was released in 1972. The film not only tackles issues of sexuality that the musical genre had largely ignored up to that point, it features the kind of evocative visual compositions and performances not often seen in the genre. It is a “serious musical.” And audiences and critics embraced it by bringing respect to a genre not known to have much, awarding the film eight Oscars, more than any movie that did not win Best Picture (“The Godfather” happened to come out the same year). Recently released in a restored WB digibook edition, it’s a great film for the musical collector to own on Blu-ray. Blu-ray rating: 4.0/5.0
Rating: 4.0/5.0

With that praise out of the way, let me say something kind of blasphemous, and this is coming from a gigantic fan of the musical genre, I don’t think “Cabaret” has held up as well as some of the best of its genre. I think part of it is a product of my age in that the film has become more of a cultural touchstone than an actual work of art by the time I saw it. I will admit that watching it again today on Blu-ray, I liked it more than I remembered. It’s undeniably well-made (although Coppola should have beat Bob Fosse for that Oscar) and one can see the quality of performance and staging throughout the piece. I just find it somewhat thematically cluttered and most of the music forgettable. But I forgot about the passion in Liza Minnelli and Joel Grey’s performances, the dramatic intensity in Fosse’s direction, and the overall quality of the production. Let the Blu-ray remind you as well with a trip back to “Cabaret”.

Cabaret was released on Blu-ray and DVD on February 5, 2013
Cabaret was released on Blu-ray and DVD on February 5, 2013
Photo credit: Warner Bros.

Wilkommen, bienvenue, welcome to Cabaret. Inside the Kit Kat Klub of 1931 Berlin, starry-eyed singer Sally Bowles (Liza Minelli) and an impish emcee (Joel Grey) sound the call to decadent fun, while outside a certain political party grows into a brutal force. Boasting a score by the legendary songwriting partnership of John Kander and Fred Edd, Cabaret won eight Oscars, including awards for Minelli, Grey and director Bob Fosse, who shaped a triumph of style and substance. Come to this cabaret, old chum. You’ll never want to leave.

Special Features:
o Commentary By Stephen Tropiano
o “Cabaret: The Musical That Changed Musicals”
o “Cabaret: A Legend In The Making”
o “Cabaret: The Recreation Of An Era”

“Cabaret” stars Liza Minnelli, Michael York, Joel Grey, and Fritz Wepper. It was re-released on Blu-ray on February 5, 2013. content director Brian Tallerico

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