Cabaret follows the story of Sally Bowles (Liza Minnelli), an American-singer and dancer with a drink problem. Living in Germany, between the wars, she dreams of being rich and famous. Sally works at the seedy Kit-Kat cabaret where The Master of Ceremonies (Joel Grey), introduces the risqué but joyous acts.
Sally meets Brian Roberts (Michael York) when he takes a room in the flat she lives in. Brian is penniless and intends to finish his qualifications and teach. The two become friends and they end up having a sexual affair. Sally then meets Maximilian von Heune (Helmut Griem), they have an affair and he treats Sally with luxuries. However he is also having an affair with Brian and also buying him gifts. They soon learn that Max is married, and although living separate lives, he and his wife will not be breaking up. Around this time, The Nazis are gaining public acceptance and power.
When Sally is pregnant, but not sure whether Brian or Max is the father, Brian asks her to marry him. However when he realizes she has had an abortion, he sees her for who she really is and together with the rise of Nazism, this leads to his decision to return home to England. Sally stays behind to continue working at the club. She sings “Cabaret”, and the MC closes the show. The atmosphere is no longer a happy one and Nazis are seen among the customers in the club.
“Cabaret is one of those immensely gratifying imperfect works in which from beginning to end you can literally feel a movie coming to life.”
— Roger Greenspun, The New York Times
“It stands as a hugely enjoyable, occasionally chilling, musical.”
— Kim Newman, Empire
“It’s entertaining and stylish, though maybe not quite as serious as it wants to be.”
— Jonathan Rosenbaum, Chicago Reader
Did You Know?
The film is based on the original short story Goodbye to Berlin by Christopher Isherwood. He however believed that Liza Minnelli was not right for the role as she was too talented to play a deluded amateur.
When Liza Minnelli won the Best Actress Academy Award for Cabaret, she became the first and ,so far, only person to win an Oscar and to have parents (Judy Garland and Vincente Minnelli) who also both won Academy Awards. Review our Gay Themed Films Here