Restored Cabaret Launches TCM Fest

The third annual TCM Classic Film Festival began Thursday at the Chinese with
Warner Bros.’ restoration of Cabaret. The DCP presentation in honor of the 40th anniversary was warm and nicely saturated. And Warner MPI digitally repaired a vertical scratch that ran 10 minutes. I anticipate that the eventual Blu-ray will dazzle. As for Bob Fosse’s famous adaptation of the Broadway musical, it holds up very well: Liza Minnelli was never better as the spirited yet vulnerable Sally Bowles; and Joel Grey still mesmerizes as the malevolent MC. Fosse saw 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 and daring (never more so than during the “Tomorrow Belongs to Me” beer garden number).

During a discussion with Robert Osborne, 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 because he wanted to mold the performance from scratch but that the producers insisted on retaining him from the Broadway production. 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 Below the Line, Festivals, Movies, Music, Oscar

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