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Cabaret

CABARET



USA, 1972


Director: Bob Fosse

Production: Allied Artists Pictures, ABC Pictures; Technicolour; 35mm; running time: 123 minutes. Filmed on location in West Berlin and at Bavaria Atelier Gesellschaft, Munchen, West Germany.


Producer: Cy Feuer; screenplay: Jay Allen, based on the musical play by Joe Mastertoff, from the play by John van Druten, based on the original book by Christopher Isherwood; photography: Geoffrey Unsworth; editor: David Bretherton; choreography: Bob Fosse; assistant directors: Douglas Green, Wolfgang Glattes; production design: Rolf Zehetbauer; art direction: Hans-Jurgen Kiebach; music: John Kander; lyrics: Fred Ebb; music supervisor: Ralph Burns; sound: Robert Knudson, David Hildyard; costumes: Charlotte Fleming.

Cast: Liza Minnelli (Sally Bowles); Michael York (Brian Roberts); Joel Grey (Master of Ceremonies); Helmut Griem (Maximillian von Heune); Fritz Wepper (Fritz Wendel); Marisa Berenson (Natalia Landauer); Elizabeth Neumann-Viertel (Fraulein Schneider); Helen Vita (Fraulein Kost); Sigrid von Richtofen (Fraulein Mayr).


Awards: Oscars for Best Director, Best Actress (Minnelli), Best Supporting Actor (Grey), Best Cinematography, Best Song Score, Best Editing, Best Art/Set Decoration, and Best Sound, 1972.


Publications


Books:

Altman, Rick, The American Film Musical, Bloomington, Indiana, 1989.

Grubb, Kevin B., Razzle Dazzle: The Life and Work of Bob Fosse, New York, 1989.

Gottfried, Martin, All His Jazz: The Life and Death of Bob Fosse, New York, 1990.

Mizejewski, Linda, Divine Decadence: Fascism, Female Spectacle,and the Makings of Sally Bowles, Princeton, New Jersey, 1992.


Articles:

Variety (New York), 16 February 1972.

Marill, A. H., Films in Review (New York), March 1972.

Filmfacts (London), number 2, 1972.

Monthly Film Bulletin (London), June 1972.

Milne, T., Sight and Sound (London), Summer 1972.

Vallance, T., Focus on Film (London), Summer 1972.

Buckley, P., Films and Filming (London), August 1972.

Blades, Joe, "The Evolution of Cabaret," Literature/Film Quarterly (Salisbury, Maryland), vol. 1, 1973.

Chion, M., "La comédie musicale rêve au realisme," in Cahiers duCinéma (Paris), September 1982.

Vecchiali, P., Image et Son (Paris), November 1972.

Serceau, M., "L'archetype Lola: realisme et métaphore" in CinémAction (Courbevoie), April 1984.

Mizejewski, L., Journal of Film and Video (Boston), Fall 1987.

Clark, R., "Bending the Genre: The Stage and the Screen," in Literature/Film Quarterly (Salisbury, Maryland), January 1991.

Rodda, Arlene, "Cabaret: Utilizing the Film Medium to Create a Unique Adaptation," in Literature/Film Quarterly (Salisbury, Maryland), vol. 22, no. 1, 1994.

Campbell, V., "Michael York in Cabaret," in Movieline (Escondido, California), vol. 7, July 1996.

"Cabaret de Bob Fosse: Découpage plan à plan aprés montage et dialogues in-extenso," in Avant-Scène Cinéma (Paris), no. 464, July 1997.


* * *

Based on the Berlin short stories by Christopher Isherwood, the play I Am a Camera, and the Broadway production of the same name, Cabaret was shot in West Germany in the early 1970s. Centered primarily around the seedy Kit Kat Klub, the film ruthlessly depicts Berlin in the last days of the decadent Weimar Republic, and the terrifying rise of Nazism in 1930s Germany.

Fosse cleverly interweaves the action taking place on the stage of the club with the political and social action occurring in the streets. The musical numbers performed for the most part impeccably by Liza Minnelli as Sally Bowles, and her entourage, a group of sleazy female musicians and dancers, mirror real life, and are directed beautifully by the manipulative Master of Ceremonies (brilliantly performed by Joel Grey).

Brian Roberts (Michael York), an aspiring author and repressed homosexual, comes to Berlin to write and to teach English. He finds himself living in the bohemian boarding house inhabited by Bowles, and is introduced to the sexually liberating atmosphere of the Kit Kat Klub. While the Master of Ceremonies reflects that: ". . . life is disappointing? Forget it! In here [the club] life is beautiful," the seediness and obvious vulgarity of the audience and performers reinforce that this is far from the truth. In another scene, a Nazi officer is booted out of the club by the manager; later we see the same man being brutally beaten by a group of young Nazi thugs.

Although Brian makes it clear to Sally that he is not at all interested in women sexually, the pair embark on an affair. The couple find their seemingly unreal existence complicated by the rich, mercurial Baron Maximilian von Heune (Helmut Griem) who tantalizes and tempts both of them. Sally is seduced by champagne, wonderful clothes, and the opulence and decadence of the baron's life—Brian, who is at first sceptical, and also a little jealous of the baron's uninhibited behaviour, is literally seduced by the man, who disappears as quickly as he enters their life. Sally discovers she is pregnant and briefly deludes herself that she and Brian have a future together. Finally she realizes that what they have experienced is completely removed from her reality, and she has an abortion. Brian leaves Germany, and Sally continues her life as a cabaret singer in Berlin.

Against this storyline, two of Brian's language students fall in love. Feckless Fritz (Fritz Wepper), a fortune hunter, seizes his chance when he meets beautiful and rich Jewish heiress, Natalia (Marisa Berenson), only to fall genuinely in love with her. Natalia believes Fritz is a Christian and recognizing the political instability of Germany, and the brutality of the Nazis she refuses to have anything to do with him. Only when Fritz confesses that he is a Jew pretending to be a Christian, does Natalia agree to marry him.

The changing political atmosphere and growth of anti-semitism in Germany is illustrated by the victimization of Natalia in her family home by a group of young boys, who eventually slaughter her dog and leave it on her doorstep. Brian also witnesses the frightening strength of the Fascists when he visits a beer garden with the baron. Arriving in the baron's limousine, the two men leave Sally sleeping in the car. While the two men are drinking, a lone very pure voice begins to sing "Tomorrow Belongs to Me," slowly and with great feeling. The camera focuses on the young man's almost perfect Aryan features, tracking the increasing fervour with which he sings. Gradually, other members of the beer garden begin to stand up and join in, the camera closing in on the glazed expressions on their faces. Finally, when almost everyone is on their feet, the camera pans down and reveals the Nazi armband of the young man who instigated the singing. This technique was used in Nazi propaganda films. Brian and the baron leave to the sound of the group's harmony, climbing into their luxurious car and driving away—indicating that because the baron is rich and Sally and Brian are foreigners they will always have the option to leave this horrendous reality behind.

Cabaret is an incredibly innovative film. Now regarded as a classic, the film's use of colour, the garishness of the costumes, the smokiness of the club, the brightness and exaggeration of the makeup emphasize the decadence of the time. The musical score and choreography are well crafted and performed, and are deliberately kept to the stage of the Kit Kat Klub ("Tomorrow Belongs to Me" is the only exception to this). Minnelli performs her songs emotively and convincingly, if anything she is too good for the small, decadent atmosphere of the Klub.

On its release in 1972, Cabaret was received to great acclaim— winning eight Academy Awards, and three Golden Globe Awards.

—A. Pillai

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"Cabaret." International Dictionary of Films and Filmmakers. . Encyclopedia.com. 15 Aug. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

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"Cabaret." International Dictionary of Films and Filmmakers. . Retrieved August 15, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/movies/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/cabaret

Cabaret

CABARET

Cabaret came late to Russia, but once the French, German, and Swiss culture spread eastward in the first decade of the twentieth century, a uniquely Russian form took root, later influencing European cabarets. While Russian theater is internationally renownedas just the names Chekhov and Stanislavsky confirmthe theatrical presentations in cabarets are less so, despite the brilliance of the poets and performers involved.

The French word cabaret originally meant two things: a plebeian pub or wine-house, and a type of tray that held a variety of different foods or drinks. By its generic meaning a cabaret is an intimate night spot where audiences enjoy alcoholic drinks while listening to singers and stand-up comics. While sophisticates quibble over precise definitions, most will agree on the cabaret's essential elements. A cabaret is performed usually in a small room where the audience sits around small tables, and where stars and tyros alike face no restrictions on the type of music or genre or combinations thereof, can experiment with avant-garde material never before performed, and can "personally" interact with the audience. The cabaret removes the "fourth wall" between artist and audience, thus heightening the synergy between the two. Rodolphe Salisa failed artist turned tavern keeperestablished the first cabaret artistique called Le Chat Noir (The Black Cat ) in Paris, where writers, artists, and composers could entertain each other with their latest poems and songs in a Montmartre pub.

Cabarets soon mushroomed across Europe, its Swiss and Austrian varieties influencing Russian artists directly. Russian emigrés performed, for example, in balalaika bands at the Café Voltaire, founded by Hugo Ball in 1916 in Zürich, Switzerland. The influence of Vienna-based cabarets such as Die Fledermaus (The Bat ) is reflected in the name of the first Russia cabaret: "Bat."

This tiny theater was opened on February 29, 1908, by Nikita Baliev, an actor with the Moscow Art Theater (MKhAT) in tune with the prevailing mood in Russia. In the years following the revolution of 1905, Russian intellectual life shifted from the insulated world of the salon to the zesty world of the cabaret, the balagan (show), and the circus. New political and social concerns compelled the theater to bring art to the masses. Operating perhaps as the alter ego or, in Freudian terms, the id of MkhAT, the "Bat" served as a night spot for actors to unwind after performances, mocking the seriousness of Stanislavsky's method. This cabaret originated from the traditional "cabbage parties" (kapustniki ) preceding Lent (which in imperial Russia involved a period of forced abstinence both from theatrical diversion as well as voluntary abstinence from meat). Housed in a cellar near Red Square, the "Bat" had by 1915 become the focal point of Moscow night life and remained so until its closure in 1919.

While the format of the Russian cabareta confined stage in a small restaurant providing amusement through variety sequencesowed much to Western models, the uniqueness of the shows can be attributed to the individuality of Nikita Baliev and indigenous Russian folk culture. In one show entitled Life's Metamorphoses, Baliev installed red lamps under the tables that blinked in time with the music. In another show, he asked everyone to sing "Akh, akh, ekh, im!"to impersonate someone sneezing. As Teffi (pseudonym of Nadezhda Buchinskaya), a composer for the "Bat" recalled, "Everything was the invention of one manNikita Baliev. He asserted his individuality so totally that assistants would only hinder him. He was a real sorcerer."

The Russian cabaret also flourished due to its links with the conventions of the indigenous folk theaterthe balagan, the skomorokhi (traveling buffoons), and the narodnoye gulyanie (popular promenading). It incorporated the folk theater's elementsclowning, quick repartee, the plyaska (Russian dance), and brisk sequence of numbers. Baliev employed key writers and producers, including Leonid Andreyev, Andrei Bely, Valery Bryusov, Sergei Gorodetsky, Alexei Tolstoy, Vasily Luzhsky, Vsevolod Meyerkhold, Ivan Moskvin, Boris Sadovskoi, and Tatiana Shchepkina-Kupernik. Famous artists performed at the "Bat," including Fyodor Chalyapin, Leonid Sobinov, and Konstantin Stanislavsky. In 19161918 Kasian Goleizovsky, the great Constructivist balletmaster of the 1920s, directed performances.

Like most visionaries ahead of their time in the Soviet Union, however, Baliev was arrested. When released in 1919 after five days of confinement, he fled to Paris with the renamed Chauve-Souris ("bat" in French), which toured Europe and the United States extensively. In 1922 the Baliev Company moved to New York, where Baliev entertained enthusiastic audiences until his death in 1936. Baliev and the "Bat" inspired many imitations, most notably the "Blue Bird" (Der Blaue Vogel ), founded in Berlin by the actor Yasha Yuzhny in 1920.

See also: circus; folk music; stanislavsky, konstantin; theater

bibliography

Jelavich, Peter. (1993). Berlin Cabaret. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

Lareau, Alan. (1995). The Wild Stage: Literary Cabarets of the Weimar Republic. Rochester, NY: Camden House.

Russell, Robert, and Barratt, Andrew. (1990). Russian Theatre in the Age of Modernism. New York: St. Martin's Press.

Segel, Harold. (1987). Turn-of-the-Century Cabaret: Paris, Barcelona, Berlin, Munich, Vienna, Cracow, Moscow, St. Petersburg, Zurich. New York: Columbia University Press.

Segel, Harold. (1993). The Vienna Coffeehouse Wits, 18901938. West Lafayette, IN: Purdue University Press.

Senelick, Lawrence. (1993). Cabaret Performance. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins Press.

Johanna Granville

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cabaret

cabaret. Term applied to places of entertainment such as night clubs and to the mus. entertainment provided there. Cabaret in the modern sense began in 1881 when the ‘Chat Noir’ opened in Paris. From this milieu arose the great diseuse Yvette Guilbert (1885–1944). In Ger. the leading cabaret was the ‘Überbrettl’, founded by Ernst von Wolzogen (librettist of Strauss's Feuersnot) in 1901. Schoenberg cond. there and comp. some Brettllieder. Political satire was a prin. feature of the cabaret of the 1920s and 1930s in Ger., where Kurt Weill and Hanns Eisler were protagonists. This period was captured by Christopher Isherwood in his novel Goodbye to Berlin (1939) (re-named Cabaret for the stage and film). In Eng., cabaret tended to be more genteel and like an intimate revue, but something of the Ger. spirit was emulated by W. H. Auden in his The Ascent of F6 (1936), the songs being set to mus. by Britten (e.g. ‘Tell me the truth about love’).

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"cabaret." The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Music. . Encyclopedia.com. 15 Aug. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

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"cabaret." The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Music. . Retrieved August 15, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/arts/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/cabaret

cabaret

cab·a·ret / ˌkabəˈrā; ˈkabəˌrā/ • n. entertainment held in a nightclub or restaurant while the audience eats or drinks at tables. ∎  a nightclub or restaurant where such entertainment is performed. ORIGIN: mid-17th cent. (denoting a French inn): from Old French, literally ‘wooden structure,’ via Middle Dutch from Old Picard camberet ‘little room.’ Current senses date from the early 20th cent.

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"cabaret." The Oxford Pocket Dictionary of Current English. . Encyclopedia.com. 15 Aug. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

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"cabaret." The Oxford Pocket Dictionary of Current English. . Retrieved August 15, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/cabaret-0

cabaret

cabaret French tavern XVII; restaurant, etc., offering entertainment XX. — (O)F., prob. of Walloon orig.

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"cabaret." The Concise Oxford Dictionary of English Etymology. . Retrieved August 15, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/cabaret-1

cabaret

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