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Blu-ray Book review: 'Cabaret' still shines divine, even after a 40 year run

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Blu-ray review: Cabaret

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Studio Synopsis: Flamboyant and eccentric American entertainer Sally Bowles (Minnelli) sings in Berlin’s decadent Kit Kat Club, even as Nazism rises in Germany in 1931. She falls in love with a British language teacher (York) – whom she shares with a homosexual German baron (Griem). But Sally's insular, carefree, tolerant and fragile cabaret world is about to be crushed under the boot of the Nazis as Berlin becomes a trap from which Sally's German friends will not escape.

Studio: Warner Bros.
Running Time: 124 minutes
Rating: PG
Number of Disks: 1

Special Features:
- Commentary by Stephen Tropiano
- Cabaret: The Musical That Changed Musicals Featurette *New
- Cabaret: A Legend in the Making
- The Recreation of an Era
- Kit Kat Klub Memory Gallery:
*Marisa's Close-up
*Sally's Look
*Observing the Master
*Challenges
*Collective Memory
*Strange Inspiration
*A Called Bluff
*Risk Taking
*Rush(es) Hour
*A Happy Accident
*Rock 'N' Roll Editing
*Isherwood's Surprise Reaction
*Smithsonian Honor
*Tomorrow Belongs to Me
*Taking on 'The Godfather'
*Timeless
*Playing 'What If?’
*Almost a Nervous Breakdown
*Sneaking a Peek
*Play vs. Book
*Recruiting Hugh Wheeler
*Screening Blues
*Screening Hues
- Theatrical Trailer
- Cabaret Promotional Booklet

Painting a portrait awash in the brushstrokes of naïve nuance, political commentary and the lighthearted fun that can only come when Minnelli meets Fosse, “Cabaret” is a post-war postcard from the dizzying heights of Sally’s delightful dames, to the gut-wrenching plummet into war-torn chaos. And while some of its themes may still cause caustic pause even in today’s older and wiser audiences, the impact of “Cabaret” will almost certainly be everlasting.

The film bucks the typical “musical” genre picking up both lovers of stage and screen, and though there has been a longstanding argument with stage loyalists about the major changes Fosse and screenwriter Jay Presson Allen made in its transition, it’s readily apparent that the changes made; at least in some ways, enabled “Cabaret” to transcend its confining “musical” label.

The extras menu primarily comprises a grouping of previously offered supplements stemming back to 1998’s “Special Edition” offering. Repeated features include “Cabaret: A Legend in the Making,” the “Recreation of an Era” behind the scenes look, and the “Kit Kat Klub Memory Gallery.” But with this release comes not only a remastered picture and sound, but also two view-worthy newbies.

The wonderfully provocative doc-styled “Cabaret: The Musical That Changed Musicals” featurette is first up and serves as both a candid reflection on the film and filmmaking as well as a touching tribute to its director, Bob Fosse. Minnelli, York and Grey all provide astute interviews about the film and Fosse, supported by other Fosse associates such as Bebe Neuwirth, Ben Vereen and director Rob Marshall.

The second new addition is the audio commentary by “Cabaret” connoisseur and writer of the book “Cabaret: Music on Film," Stephen Tropiano. Tropiano successfully breaks down many of “Cabaret’s” more subdued scenes, while offering up a wealth of information on the actors, the themes, and Fosse’s own unique directing style. Newcomers to the film as well as longtime fans should definitely give this Tropiano travelogue a look. As always, Warner has also included a well rounded, well made promotional booklet complete with film history, biographies and some great inside stories.

So with caked on faces and sly plastered smiles, “Cabaret” dances and sings – among other things – its way into an outstanding upgrade 40 years in the making.

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Additional Resources:
Central Cast: Liza Minnelli | Michael York | Helmut Griem | Joel Grey | Fritz Wepper
Director: Bob Fosse
Central Writers: Joe Masteroff | John Van Druten
Theatrical Release: February 13, 1972
Blu-Ray/DVD Release: February 5, 2013
Genre: Drama | Musical
Supporting Cast and more Writers found HERE

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