There is nothing I love more than a 1930s-set psychosexual political drama—and if it takes place in Berlin and is a musical, there’s quite possibly nothing better. So for me, Bob Fosse’s 1972 film adaptation of the Broadway musical Cabaret hits just about every one of my cinematic sweet spots and works, not only as a perfect musical, but the ideal way one translates that to the screen. And this morning, to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the film, stars Liz Minnelli, Joel Grey, Marissa Berenson, and Michael York reunited on the Today Show to discuss the masterpiece they all brought to life four decades ago.
Like a post-expressionist painting come alive, backlit by a thousand glittering bulbs, Cabaret is "darker than it is light" said Grey this morning. He and Liza, who clearly has not updated her wardrobe since 1978 (NOT COMPLAINING), held hands while speaking about the studio’s concerns before shooting the film—"how are we going to advertise this? ‘The Nifty Nazi Follies?’" Looking to the darker side of the film, writer Seth Cagin once said, "Cabaret was the only major film of the period to consider the flip side of political awareness, detailing the allure of decadence and self-indulgence, and the abegnation of social and political responsibility in the face of looming catastrophe a denial which nonetheless becomes an upbeat philosophy in the film’s crowning metaphor: Life is a cabaret!"
Unfortunately, Liza didn’t break out into "Maybe This Time" and no one really seemed enthused enough to stun us with a musical number—especially Michael York, who is pretty much unrecognizable compared to his boyish good looks of the past. But be that as it may, it was still wonderful to see the ol’ gang together again—even if just for six all-too-brief minutes.
Check out the video from this morning below and watch some musical numbers from the film and leave your troubles elsewhere.