1 Year, 100 Movies: #63 Cabaret (1972)

936full-cabaret-posterFor 1 Year, 100 Movies, I will watch all of AFI’s 100 Years, 100 Movies list (compiled in 2007) in one year- and will complete a goal on my 2013 Manifesto. Come along on the ride with me- oh, and please pass the popcorn!

It’s not too often that musicals double as tragedies, but despite Cabaret’s sad and desperate ending, the film manages to instill a sense of motivation and hope. Most of the characters are delusional about the political state of the 1930’s Germany the story is set in. We follow the exploits of Sally Bowles (Liza Minnelli), an American singer at Berlin’s Kit Kat Club, a seedy cabaret that invites all to come and forget their worries with them. She befriends Brian Roberts (Michael York) an English teacher and new tenant in her building. They soon start a romantic relationship, despite Brian’s initial wish for the contrary. Raveled through the film we see the Master of Ceremonies at the club- the creepy and brilliant Joel Grey- (Jennifer Grey from Dirty Dancing‘s father!!) He has a knack for predicting what will happen for the audience just with a look. All around them we see glimpses of the Nazi party, becoming ever more powerful- all the while they go on in their collective social denial of the threat. Sally and Brian meet Max von Heune (Helmut Griem) and both become infatuated with him. For a time it seems that reality will penetrate the veneer of the life they share when Sally becomes pregnant and the father is unknown. For awhile life is good again, Max escapes Germany and Brian proposes to Sally.

But as surely as the Nazi regime is taking over Germany, Sally and Brian are sabotaging their own relationship at the same time. The film ends with Brian the hopeful romantic throwing in the towel and moving back to Cambridge and Sally choosing the stage over Brian and the baby. The film ends on her desperate final song.

In my humble, non-professional, average movie-goer opinion this movie earns:

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