Immersed in Blu-ray: Cabaret

Before Les Mis, there was Cabaret (1972), which redefined the musical and is now available on Blu-ray from Warner Home Video. There is no existing negative, so Warner MPI did the best it could with an IP, even repairing a vertical scratch that extends for a reel. The result is dazzling. It’s dark and dense yet warm in keeping with Geoffrey Unsworth’s alluring look and the original Technicolor dye transfer finish.  The 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio will have you believing you’re in the Kit Kat Klub.

Bob Fosse’s acclaimed adaptation of the Broadway musical won eight Oscars (including best director) but not the big prize (which deservedly went to The Godfather).  Still, Liza Minnelli and Joel Grey both shined and earned Oscars for best actress and best supporting actor. Fosse viewed it as a drama about the decadent fall of the Weimar Republic and evil rise of the Third Reich with music as a supporting metaphor. The emphasis on the drama is both its strength and weakness. The story isn’t nearly substantial enough but the execution is often powerful (never more so than during the “Tomorrow Belongs to Me” beer garden number).

During a Q&A with Bob Osborne at last year’s third annual TCM Classic Film Festival, Minnelli revealed that her father, Vincente, turned her on to such dark-haired beauties as Louise Brooks for inspiration, and that Fosse pushed them hard to ooze sexuality during the musical numbers. In fact, Grey admitted that Fosse didn’t want him (despite his Tony-winning turn) because he preferred to mold the performance from scratch. Fortunately, the producers held firm. Michael York, meanwhile, admitted that he aggressively pursued the part when his agent informed him that they were looking for a “Michael York type.”

Posted on by Bill Desowitz in Blu-ray, Cinematography, Clips, Home Entertainment, Movies, Music, Oscar, Tech

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