Our final selection in this Hollywood Musical BFI tour is an incredibly stylish study of the hedonism and sexual ambiguity of pre-war Berlin, ‘Cabaret’ was a huge, multi Oscar-winning hit for choreographer and director Bob Fosse in 1972 and made Liza Minnelli (who won Best Actress) a star.
Often described as a musical for people who don’t like musicals, it sets its scene in Berlin during the 1931 Weimar Republic, against a backdrop of increasing antisemitism and the growing Nazi Party. Loosely based on the 1966 Broadway musical by Kander and Ebb, itself adapted from Christopher Isherwood’s novel ‘Goodbye to Berlin’, it follows Brian (Michael York), a new British arrival in the city, as he befriends Sally Bowles (Minnelli), a talented performer at the risqué Kit Kat Klub – with whom he navigates the decadence and nihilism of a city on the brink of war.
Full of brilliantly choreographed set-pieces, ‘Cabaret’ influenced generations of filmmakers and remains a key queer cinema film with its early exploration of bisexuality on screen. It is also still a vibrant and incredibly singular musical, with its focus on the dark heart of 30s Berlin centred around a truly fabulous performance from Minnelli as Bowles, evincing both exuberance and vulnerability as she wields glamour against despair. Cast: Liza Minnelli, Michael York, Helmut Griem, Marisa Berenson, Joel Grey.
To celebrate this magical season of nine Musicals, Writer and Critic Pamela Hutchinson will be introducing this screening.
Pamela is a freelance writer, critic and film historian. She is the author of the BFI Film Classic on Pandora's Box, and the editor of '30-Second Cinema'.
Please note that there will be no Ads or Trailers before this screening.