Cabaret


2h 4m 1972
Cabaret

Brief Synopsis

A young writer gets mixed up with a pleasure-loving singer in the decadent world of 1930s Berlin.

Film Details

MPAA Rating
Genre
Drama
Musical
War
Political
Adaptation
Release Date
Feb 1972
Premiere Information
New York opening: 13 Feb 1972
Production Company
ABC Pictures Corp.
Distribution Company
Allied Artists Pictures Corp.
Country
Germany and United States
Location
Munich, West Germany; Bavaria Atelier Gesellschaft Studios, Munich, West Germany (Interiors); West Berlin, West Germany; Berlin,Germany; Munich,Germany
Screenplay Information
Based on the musical play Cabaret , book by Joe Masterhoff, music by John Kander, lyrics by Fred Ebb, produced on the New York stage by Harold Prince (New York, 20 Nov 1966) and the play I Am a Camera by John Van Druten (New York, 28 Nov 1951), both of which were based on short stories by Christopher Isherwood in his The Last of Mr. Norris (New York, 1935) and Goodbye to Berlin (New York, 1939).

Technical Specs

Duration
2h 4m
Sound
Stereo
Color
Color (Technicolor)
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.85 : 1

Synopsis

In 1931, naïve Englishman Brian Roberts, seeking to broaden his experiences and further his education, arrives in Berlin, where he hopes to support himself by giving English lessons. Brian goes to the shabby boardinghouse run by Fraulein Schneider and there is greeted by Sally Bowles, an exuberant American singer. Sally, obsessed with becoming a movie star, is oblivious to the economic and political turmoil in Berlin, especially between the Nazis and Communists, and instead revels in the decadent atmosphere of alcohol, sex and excess. Because Brian's room is too small to accommodate pupils, Sally offers him the use of her larger room and, liking the introverted young man immediately, persuades him to move in. The Kit-Kat Club, where Sally works, is presided over by the androgynous, leering Emcee who exhorts the audience to forget their troubles while in the club, where "everything is beautiful." Brian enjoys Sally's sensual performance and is introduced by her to Fritz Wendel, an impoverished German who hopes to improve both his English and chances of landing a rich wife. As Sally and Brian spend time together, she asserts that she is "a most strange and extraordinary person" and describes her desire to become famous, as well as her loving relationship with her diplomat father. One day, while discussing Brian's work in his room, Sally attempts to seduce Brian, who responds that it is "a bit early in the day" for that sort of thing. Sally caustically muses that perhaps he does not sleep with girls, but when Brian does not reply, she promises that she would never pursue him if he prefers male companionship. Although Brian is reluctant to discuss the subject, he reveals that his three previous attempts to have sex with women were disastrous and that currently he has no sex life. Sally cheerfully offers to remain platonic friends and the pair establish a routine. One afternoon, Fritz is having his English lesson when Brian reveals that a new pupil, Natalia Landauer, the daughter of a very rich Jewish family, is to arrive soon. Declaring that he is not prejudiced against Jews, Fritz determines to romance Natalia, no matter what she looks like. Brian, hoping to make a good impression on Natalia, is aghast when Sally returns home unexpectedly. Brian charms Sally into not drinking, but when the lovely, reserved Natalia arrives, Fritz and Sally insist on remaining. Natalia attempts to converse in her stilted English until the bored Sally makes a comment about syphilis. Brian is further mortified when Sally, whose German is as bad as Natalia's English, actually remembers the German word for intercourse, leaving Natalia and Fritz open-mouthed at her audacity. Later, however, the foursome spend a pleasant afternoon together, although Fritz confesses to Brian that the "gigolo business" is not going well, as he is falling in love with Natalia. Sally comments to Brian that the only way to handle virgins is to "pounce" on them, but Brian remains dubious. One night, after Fritz and Brian dine with Natalia, Fritz's attempt to kiss her goodnight fails and Brian repeats Sally's advice to be more forceful. When he returns home, Brian finds Sally sitting in the dark, depressed because her father has stood her up. Sally sobs that while her father tries to love her, he simply does not care and thinks she is "nothing." As Brian comforts her, the couple winds up kissing and falls into bed. Their passion for each other grows, with Sally hoping that this time, she has found the right man. One afternoon, Natalia summons Sally and as Natalia tearfully confides her love for Fritz, Sally realizes that he must have pounced. Natalia states that she cannot marry Fritz because he might be a fortune hunter and is a Christian, and Sally commiserates with her. Soon after, Sally meets Maximilian von Heune, a suave aristocrat whose wealth and good looks dazzle her. Brian is jealous of Sally's new admirer, although Max attempts to include Brian in their adventures, declaring that it is his duty to corrupt them. After a raucous shopping trip, Max and Sally show off their purchases to Brian, including a fur coat for Sally, but Brian stiffly refuses the gold cigarette case offered to him by Max. As Brian and Max drive by the scene of a street brawl one day, Max observes that at least the Nazis will get rid of the Communists, and then they in turn can be controlled. Max soon suggests spending a weekend at his country estate, and there, Brian and Sally are awed by their surroundings. Max reveals to Brian that he is married, although he and his wife lead separate lives, then persuades Brian to accept a sweater and leaves the cigarette case for him as well. After a lavish dinner party, the trio gets drunk and ends up dancing in a circle in one another's arms until the overwhelmed Brian passes out. On the drive back to Berlin, Brian and Max discuss the trip to Africa that Max has proposed. When they stop at a beer garden, Brian and Max watch an adolescent boy, a member of the Hitler Youth, inspire the crowd to sing a rousing song about the future, and Brian pointedly asks Max if he still thinks the Nazis can be controlled. Meanwhile, Natalia refuses Fritz's marriage proposal, telling him that although she now believes him to be honest, it is impossible for him to marry a Jew, considering Germany's current upheaval. Soon after, a distressed Max drops Brian off at the boardinghouse, where Sally is packing for their trip to Africa. Sally, who does not know that Max is married, babbles about a possible proposal from Max, to which Brian replies that her self-delusions are absurd. As their argument escalates, Brian yells, "Screw Maximilian," and when Sally replies, "I do," Brian laughs in pain and states, "So do I." Realizing that they have betrayed each other, Sally storms out while Brian wanders the streets in a fury and provokes a fistfight with two Nazis. After receiving a fierce beating, Brian wakes up to discover Sally tending to him. She then reveals that Max has departed the country and left them three hundred marks. Deprecating their abilities as gold diggers, Sally apologizes to Brian, who shares her remorse, and the couple reconciles. At Natalia's, meanwhile, her dog is murdered by hooligans who write Juden across her front steps. Soon after, Sally tells Brian that she is pregnant and is going to have an abortion, although the illegal operation will be so costly that she will have to sell her fur coat. Brian surprises both himself and Sally by proposing marriage, and the couple drunkenly celebrates their impending domesticity. During the day, Fritz confesses to Brian that he himself is Jewish but hid the fact when he moved to Berlin to raise his social position. Brian urges him to tell Natalia the truth, and despite Fritz's protests that he is too cowardly, he soon does and he and Natalia are wed in an Orthodox ceremony. Later, Brian and Sally are picnicking and Sally is distressed by Brian's uncommunicative responses to her plans for their future. Remembering the excitement of performing in the club and the romance with Max, Sally becomes depressed. Soon after, Brian has fallen asleep while waiting for Sally to return home from work. He awakens when she enters and as she gingerly climbs into bed, asks her where her fur coat is. Realizing that she has had the abortion, Brian asks why and grows increasingly angry, denigrating her dreams of stardom and castigating her for sleeping with anyone who can further her career. Not protesting, Sally asks to be left alone. As he calms down, Brian pleads with her to tell the truth. Sally replies that they would soon start hating each other if they gave up their mutual aspirations, and implies that eventually he would be unhappy with her because of his preference for men. Brian sadly concludes that although Sally did want the baby and does love him, she did what was right for both of them. Soon after, Sally accompanies Brian to the train station as he prepares to return to England, and they bid each other a strained farewell, with Sally struggling not to cry, and Brian smiling fondly as she walks away, waving her green fingernails in the air. Sally then goes to the Kit-Kat, where she thrills the audience with a rendition of the song "Cabaret," which encourages them to live life to the fullest regardless of the consequences.

Photo Collections

Cabaret - Movie Posters
Here are three different one-sheet movie poster designs for Cabaret (1972), starring Liza Minnelli and Joel Grey, and directed by Bob Fosse. One-sheets measured 27x41 inches, and were the poster style most commonly used in theaters.

Videos

Movie Clip

Hosted Intro

Film Details

MPAA Rating
Genre
Drama
Musical
War
Political
Adaptation
Release Date
Feb 1972
Premiere Information
New York opening: 13 Feb 1972
Production Company
ABC Pictures Corp.
Distribution Company
Allied Artists Pictures Corp.
Country
Germany and United States
Location
Munich, West Germany; Bavaria Atelier Gesellschaft Studios, Munich, West Germany (Interiors); West Berlin, West Germany; Berlin,Germany; Munich,Germany
Screenplay Information
Based on the musical play Cabaret , book by Joe Masterhoff, music by John Kander, lyrics by Fred Ebb, produced on the New York stage by Harold Prince (New York, 20 Nov 1966) and the play I Am a Camera by John Van Druten (New York, 28 Nov 1951), both of which were based on short stories by Christopher Isherwood in his The Last of Mr. Norris (New York, 1935) and Goodbye to Berlin (New York, 1939).

Technical Specs

Duration
2h 4m
Sound
Stereo
Color
Color (Technicolor)
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.85 : 1

Award Wins

Best Actress

1972
Liza Minnelli

Set Decoration

1973

Best Cinematography

1972

Best Director

1972
Bob Fosse

Best Editing

1972
David Bretherton

Best Score

1972

Best Sound

1972

Best Supporting Actor

1972
Joel Grey

Award Nominations

Best Picture

1972

Best Writing, Screenplay

1973

Articles

Cabaret


After a box-office disaster with his film version of Sweet Charity in 1969, Bob Fosse bounced back with Cabaret in 1972, a year that would make him the most honored director in show business. And he wasn't the only winner in this case, as the film also brought Liza Minnelli her first chance to sing on screen and an Oscar for Best Actress. With Academy Awards for Best Supporting Actor (Joel Grey), Cinematography, Art Direction, Sound, Adapted Score, and Editing, it holds the record for most Oscars earned by a film not honored as Best Picture.

Cabaret was the first property to travel from book to dramatic play to dramatic film to stage musical to screen musical (Auntie Mame would match that path a few years later). It had started as Christopher Isherwood's short story "Sally Bowles," about an amoral singer living in Berlin during the 1930s, and was later included in his collection, The Berlin Stories. "Sally Bowles" and another story about a gigolo who admits he's Jewish to win the heart of an heiress provided the basis for John Van Druten's I Am a Camera, a 1951 stage play starring Julie Harris as Bowles, which was adapted for the screen in 1955. Then, in 1966, Harold Prince scored a hit with Cabaret, a musical version featuring a different subplot (about a gentile landlady in love with a Jewish grocer) and a new character called the M.C. that made Joel Grey a star.

A film version of Cabaret was inevitable, but it was held up for years when the first deal, with Cinerama, Inc., for an unprecedented $2.1 million, fell through. At the time, off-screen companions Warren Beatty and Julie Christie were considered for the leading roles. When ABC Pictures and Allied Artists finally picked up the rights for $1.5 million, Broadway producer Cy Feuer signed on to produce the picture, with Bob Fosse directing and a budget of less than $5 million.

Playwrights Jay Presson Allen and Hugh Wheeler went back to the original stories to restore the subplot about the gigolo and the Jewish heiress. They also drew on original author Christopher Isherwood's openness about his homosexuality to make the leading male character, a writer modeled on him, a bisexual who shares his bed and a male lover with Sally. Fosse decided to increase the focus on the Kit Kat Club, where Sally performs, as a metaphor for the decadence of Germany in the 1930s by eliminating all but one of the musical numbers performed outside the club. The only remaining outside number is "Tomorrow Belongs to Me," a folk song rendered spontaneously by patrons at an open-air cafe in one of the film's most chilling scenes. In addition, the show's original songwriters, John Kander and Fred Ebb, wrote three new songs, "Mein Herr," "Money," and "Maybe This Time."

The new songs were all performed by the film's leading lady, Liza Minnelli ("Money" also featured Grey). Ironically, she had auditioned to play Sally in the original Broadway production. Some involved with the show say she was too inexperienced at the time (though she had already won Broadway's Tony Award for Best Actress in a Musical). Others have suggested she was too big a presence for the role as written on Broadway. By the time Cabaret reached the screen, however, Minnelli was a major film star, having won an Oscar nomination as the emotionally damaged college student in The Sterile Cuckoo (1969).

Cabaret opened to glowing reviews and strong box office, eventually taking in more than $20 million. In addition to its eight Oscars, it won Best Picture citations from the National Board of Review and the Hollywood Foreign Press and took Best Supporting Actor honors for Grey from the National Board of Review, the Hollywood Foreign Press, and the National Society of Film Critics. But the biggest winner was Fosse. Shortly before the Academy Awards, he won two Tonys for directing and choreographing Pippin, his biggest stage hit to date. When months later he won Emmys for directing and choreographing Liza Minnelli's television special Liza with a Z, he became the first director to win all three awards in one year.

Producer: Cy Feuer
Director: Bob Fosse
Screenplay: Jay Presson Allen, Hugh Wheeler
Cinematography: Geoffrey Unsworth
Art Direction: Hans Jurgen Kiebach, Rolf Zehetbauer
Music: Ralph Burns, John Kander
Principal Cast: Liza Minnelli (Sally Bowles), Michael York (Brian Roberts), Helmut Griem (Maximilian von Heune), Joel Grey (Master of Ceremonies), Fritz Wepper (Fritz Wendel), Marisa Berenson (Natalia Landauer), Elizabeth Neumann-Viertel (Fraulein Schneider).
C-124m. Letterboxed. Closed captioning.

by Frank Miller
Cabaret

Cabaret

After a box-office disaster with his film version of Sweet Charity in 1969, Bob Fosse bounced back with Cabaret in 1972, a year that would make him the most honored director in show business. And he wasn't the only winner in this case, as the film also brought Liza Minnelli her first chance to sing on screen and an Oscar for Best Actress. With Academy Awards for Best Supporting Actor (Joel Grey), Cinematography, Art Direction, Sound, Adapted Score, and Editing, it holds the record for most Oscars earned by a film not honored as Best Picture. Cabaret was the first property to travel from book to dramatic play to dramatic film to stage musical to screen musical (Auntie Mame would match that path a few years later). It had started as Christopher Isherwood's short story "Sally Bowles," about an amoral singer living in Berlin during the 1930s, and was later included in his collection, The Berlin Stories. "Sally Bowles" and another story about a gigolo who admits he's Jewish to win the heart of an heiress provided the basis for John Van Druten's I Am a Camera, a 1951 stage play starring Julie Harris as Bowles, which was adapted for the screen in 1955. Then, in 1966, Harold Prince scored a hit with Cabaret, a musical version featuring a different subplot (about a gentile landlady in love with a Jewish grocer) and a new character called the M.C. that made Joel Grey a star. A film version of Cabaret was inevitable, but it was held up for years when the first deal, with Cinerama, Inc., for an unprecedented $2.1 million, fell through. At the time, off-screen companions Warren Beatty and Julie Christie were considered for the leading roles. When ABC Pictures and Allied Artists finally picked up the rights for $1.5 million, Broadway producer Cy Feuer signed on to produce the picture, with Bob Fosse directing and a budget of less than $5 million. Playwrights Jay Presson Allen and Hugh Wheeler went back to the original stories to restore the subplot about the gigolo and the Jewish heiress. They also drew on original author Christopher Isherwood's openness about his homosexuality to make the leading male character, a writer modeled on him, a bisexual who shares his bed and a male lover with Sally. Fosse decided to increase the focus on the Kit Kat Club, where Sally performs, as a metaphor for the decadence of Germany in the 1930s by eliminating all but one of the musical numbers performed outside the club. The only remaining outside number is "Tomorrow Belongs to Me," a folk song rendered spontaneously by patrons at an open-air cafe in one of the film's most chilling scenes. In addition, the show's original songwriters, John Kander and Fred Ebb, wrote three new songs, "Mein Herr," "Money," and "Maybe This Time." The new songs were all performed by the film's leading lady, Liza Minnelli ("Money" also featured Grey). Ironically, she had auditioned to play Sally in the original Broadway production. Some involved with the show say she was too inexperienced at the time (though she had already won Broadway's Tony Award for Best Actress in a Musical). Others have suggested she was too big a presence for the role as written on Broadway. By the time Cabaret reached the screen, however, Minnelli was a major film star, having won an Oscar nomination as the emotionally damaged college student in The Sterile Cuckoo (1969). Cabaret opened to glowing reviews and strong box office, eventually taking in more than $20 million. In addition to its eight Oscars, it won Best Picture citations from the National Board of Review and the Hollywood Foreign Press and took Best Supporting Actor honors for Grey from the National Board of Review, the Hollywood Foreign Press, and the National Society of Film Critics. But the biggest winner was Fosse. Shortly before the Academy Awards, he won two Tonys for directing and choreographing Pippin, his biggest stage hit to date. When months later he won Emmys for directing and choreographing Liza Minnelli's television special Liza with a Z, he became the first director to win all three awards in one year. Producer: Cy Feuer Director: Bob Fosse Screenplay: Jay Presson Allen, Hugh Wheeler Cinematography: Geoffrey Unsworth Art Direction: Hans Jurgen Kiebach, Rolf Zehetbauer Music: Ralph Burns, John Kander Principal Cast: Liza Minnelli (Sally Bowles), Michael York (Brian Roberts), Helmut Griem (Maximilian von Heune), Joel Grey (Master of Ceremonies), Fritz Wepper (Fritz Wendel), Marisa Berenson (Natalia Landauer), Elizabeth Neumann-Viertel (Fraulein Schneider). C-124m. Letterboxed. Closed captioning. by Frank Miller

Quotes

Life is a cabaret ol' chum so come to the Cabaret.
- Sally
I am sorry to bother you, but I could not tell no one else. I do not know no other woman who gives her body so frequently... Oh! I am sorry, my English. Have I offended you?
- Natalia
Oh, no, not at all.
- Sally
P H is always pronounced as F, and, uh, you don't sound the G.
- Brian Roberts
Then why are they putting the G, please?
- Natalia Landauer
That's, that's a very good question, but rather difficult to explain.
- Brian Roberts
Try, Brian.
- Sally
Well, uh, it's just there.
- Brian Roberts
Well obviously those three girls were just...
- Sally
... the wrong three girls.
- Brian
Screw Maximilian!
- Brian
I do.
- Sally
So do I.
- Brian
You two bastards!
- Sally
Two? Two? Shouldn't that be three?
- Brian

Trivia

Michael York's character's lines sometimes reflect songs that were in the original musical though cut from the movie. When commenting about Sally he says she's perfectly marvelous. "Perfectly Marvelous" was sung by Sally in the Broadway version. In the intro of the broadway song "Perfectly Marvelous" Sally says, "For example, if I should paint my fingernails green- oh and it just so happens that I do paint them green- well if any one should ask why, I'd say I think it's pretty". In several scenes, Liza Minelli can be seen with teal green fingernails in reference to this line. Also when commenting about troubles they might have when they have the baby, he simply states, "So what!" "So What" was a song sung my Fraulein Schneider in the Broadway version.

Brian expresses surprise that Sally Bowles is an American, a sly reference to the fact that in the musical on which the movie is based, Sally is British.

"Tomorrow Belongs to Me" was a traditional German song, sung by the Nazi youth in the movie, to stir up patriotism for the "fatherland".

The song "Married", originally in the Broadway version, was cut from the movie. It can be heard playing on a radio in the background during the scene where Brian and Sally are discussing marriage.

In an interview given at the time of the film's release, Minelli said you could tell she was the star of the cabaret the movie is set in because she's the only performer with shaved armpits.

Notes

The film opens with Joel Grey, as the "Master of Ceremonies," staring into a distorted mirror on the stage of the Kit-Kat Club, then directly addressing the camera to welcome the audience to the club. As he introduces the cabaret's other performers, the scene is intercut with shots of "Brian Roberts" arriving in Berlin. At the end of the film, after saying Auf weidersen and À bientôt, Grey bows abruptly and disappears behind a curtain. The camera then pans over to the distorted mirror, in which a large proportion of the audience is wearing brown Nazi uniforms. According to the March 1972 New Republic review of the film, the mirror device was adapted from the Broadway musical version of Cabaret, which opened with the audience seeing its reflection in a large mirror as the curtain rose.
       The complicated history of the film's literary source began with short stories written by Christopher Isherwood (1904-1986), a British writer who lived in Berlin during the early 1930s. In chronicling his time there, he wrote several short stories, including "Sally Bowles" and "The Landauers." These stories were collected and published as a book in 1939 under the title Goodbye to Berlin. Isherwood also wrote a novella about his time in Berlin entitled The Last of Mr. Norris, which was published in 1935. In 1946, the two books were published together in a compilation entitled The Berlin Stories, which is frequently cited as the literary source for Cabaret. The story "Sally Bowles" was published in book form in London in 1937 and in Argosy magazine in May 1940.
       The characters in Cabaret come from both Goodbye to Berlin and The Last of Mr. Norris, although they are changed somewhat. In the story "The Landauers," "Natalia Landauer" is a an eighteen-year-old schoolgirl to whom the character "Christopher Isherwood" gives English lessons, although he does not introduce her to his friend "Fritz Wendel," the German playboy first described in The Last of Mr. Norris. Although in the stories Isherwood and "Sally" do strike up a friendship with a rich baron, only Sally has an affair with him, and her pregnancy and subsequent abortion are the result of another relationship. Despite their fast friendship, the Isherwood character and Sally do not become lovers in the stories.
       The real Isherwood, a prominent and open homosexual, while not portraying the character "Isherwood" as openly gay in The Berlin Stories, subtly made it clear that the character is homosexual. The politics of the rising Nazi party, especially as they pertain to the persecution of Jews and clashes with Communists, are featured prominently in the stories and novella. A June 1972 Pioneer Press reprinted an interview with Isherwood in which he noted that the woman who was the basis for Sally was living in London and had a daughter. Modern sources add that British performer Jean Ross was the inspiration for Sally.
       British playwright John Van Druten used The Berlin Stories as the basis for his play I Am a Camera (New York, 28 November 1951). The title of the play comes from the short story "A Berlin Diary (Autumn 1930)," which was part of Goodbye to Berlin. In it, Isherwood described himself thusly: "I am a camera with its shutter open, quite passive, recording, not thinking." Van Druten's dramatic, non-musical play was used as the basis for the 1955 British film I Am a Camera, directed by Henry Cornelius and starring Julie Harris as Sally and Laurence Harvey as the Isherwood character.
       In a modern interview, composer John Kander stated that producer Harold Prince had purchased the rights to The Berlin Stories in the mid-1960s and hired Joe Masteroff to create the musical Cabaret with Kander and lyricist Fred Ebb. The musical focused more on the relationships between the characters than on politics, eliminated the character of Natalia and created some new characters and situations, such as a romance between "Fraulein Schneider" (called "Fraulein Schroeder" in Isherwood's stories) and a new character, "Herr Schultz." A key addition to the musical was the character the Master of Ceremonies. The musical, directed by Harold Prince and starring Jill Hayworth and Bert Convey, opened in New York on November 20, 1966. It became a smash success, running for 1,165 performances.
       In 1968, Daily Variety reported that Cinerama Releasing had paid $2,100,000 plus a percentage of the grosses for the screen rights to the Tony Award-winning musical, and that it would be "the company's first totally financed production since [it] was formed last year as a distributor of major product." According to the news item, the picture was to be the first musical "shown in the Cinerama process" and would begin filming in late 1969. In February 1969, however, Hollywood Reporter announced that Cinerama's deal with Prince was off because William R. Forman, Cinerama's chairman, had met with "considerable interferences" from the lawyers handling the deal and decided to cancel it, although he had already convinced Warner-Seven Arts to "join him as co-producer."
       On March 25, 1969, Daily Variety reported that Masteroff, Kander and Ebb had filed a breach-of-contract suit against Cinerama, which, according to a May 1973 Variety article, was settled out of court. On March 28, 1969, both Hollywood Reporter and Daily Variety noted that Sidney Beckerman and Joe Wizan, of Beckerman-Wizan Productions, had announced that they had purchased the rights to the musical. On May 28, 1969, Daily Variety reported that Allied Artists and Haven Industries had paid $1,500,000 for the rights, which, at the time, was the largest sum paid by AA for a property. A May 1973 Variety news item stated that AA and Haven had "bought out" Beckerman and Wizan.
       In mid-January 1970, Daily Variety noted that the negative costs for the production were to be split between AA and ABC Pictures, presided over by Martin Baum. The article further reported that ABC would produce the picture with AA set to distribute it, even though ABC's usual distributor was Cinerama, and that the budget was set for a "relatively low" $5,000,000. On October 7, 1970, Daily Variety announced that AA had purchased Haven Industries' interest in the property and would partner solely with ABC.
       According to modern sources, Baum persuaded Cy Feuer, an Oscar-winning composer and longtime Broadway producer, to produce the film version. Although the film's onscreen credits state that the picture is a "Feuer & Martin production," no other mention of Ernest Martin, Feuer's frequent partner in theatrical ventures, is made onscreen. Martin was mentioned in the January 22, 1970 Daily Variety article, however.
       Feuer, who had never produced a film before, suggested hiring Bob Fosse as the director of Cabaret, according to modern sources, despite the box-office failure of his first motion picture as a director, 1969's Sweet Charity (see below). Modern sources assert that before Fosse was offered the job as director, Gene Kelly turned it down. One modern source reports that Prince originally considered directing the film himself but did not because he was about to start work on a new Broadway show. According to Filmfacts, writer Hugh Wheeler "was originally announced as co-scenarist, but ultimately received" onscreen credit as a "research consultant" only. In his autobiography, actor Michael York, who portrayed "Brian Roberts," related that Wheeler rewrote the screenplay after Jay Allen finished it and that he was also on location in Germany to "supervise revisions." Other modern sources add that Fosse was adamant about hiring Robert Surtees, with whom he had worked on Sweet Charity, as the director of photography, but Feuer and the studio executives insisted instead on Geoffrey Unsworth.
       According to modern sources, Liza Minnelli had campaigned vigorously to play the part of Sally Bowles in the Broadway version of Cabaret and after losing the part, included the title song in her nightclub act. Although Minnelli, the daughter of famed actress-singer Judy Garland and director Vincente Minnelli, had appeared in several earlier films, Cabaret marked her first onscreen singing role. Joel Grey reprised his Tony Award-winning role of the Master of Ceremonies for the film version of Cabaret. For the film, the character of Sally, who was British in the musical version, was changed to American, and the character of Brian Roberts (Isherwood, called "Clifford Bradshaw" in the stage musical) was changed from American to British. In a modern interview, York noted that the change was due purely to the casting of the lead roles. According to a modern source, when York's availability for the project was briefly in doubt, American actor John Rubinstein was tested for the part of Brian.
       The character of Herr Schultz was dropped from the filmed version, while the triangle romance between Sally, "Maximilian von Heune" and Brian was invented. The romance between Natalia and Fritz, which was created by Van Druten for his play but was not in the Broadway musical, was revived for the film version of Cabaret (in Isherwood's stories, Natalia and Fritz never meet).
       Several songs from the Masteroff, Kander and Ebb musical were not included in the film version, including "Don't Tell Mama" and "It Couldn't Please Me More," although some of them are heard in the background as instrumental versions played on Sally's record player or in the nightclub. All of the songs sung by Brian in the musical were eliminated for the film, for which Kander and Ebb wrote two new songs: "Mein Herr" and "Money." The song "Maybe This Time," which did not appear in the Broadway show but was featured in the film, had been written by Kander and Ebb for Minnelli, who released the song on her 1964 record album "Liza! Liza!" The film's only song not sung within the environment of the Kit-Kat club was "Tomorrow Belongs to Me," sung by the Hitler Youth in the country beer garden. According to Filmfacts, American tenor Mark Lambert dubbed the German actor who played the Hitler Youth singing "Tomorrow Belongs to Me." Modern sources note that Fosse deliberately chose to "streamline" the musical and make it more "realistic" by having the songs sung only within the club. The songs often comment on the action preceding or following them, such as when Sally meets the rich Maximilian, and then sings "Money" with the Master of Ceremonies.
       As noted in the onscreen credits, the picture was filmed entirely in West Berlin, in what was then West Germany, with the interiors being shot at the Bavaria Atelier Gesellschaft Studios. Hollywood Reporter production charts state that the film was also shot in Munich and according to a July 2, 1971 LAHExam article, Charlottenburg Castle in Berlin was also used, which, according to modern sources, was the setting for Maximilian's country estate. According to a modern interview with York and various crew members, a long production number was shot at the castle over four days but was deleted from Fosse's first cut of the picture, which ran over three hours. York also related that Schloss Eutin (Eutin Castle) in Schleswig-Holstein was a location site. Modern sources add that Fosse was inspired by two German artists of the 1920s and 1930s, George Grosz and Otto Dix, in the set décor and lighting of the Kit-Kat club. Several modern sources report that dancer and actress Gwen Verdon, who was married to Fosse at the time of production, helped extensively with dance rehearsals and wardrobe selection.
       The film garnered excellent reviews, with Variety declaring that the picture was "a career milestone for virtually everyone concerned." Minnelli, who was featured on the covers of both Time and Newsweek in the same week, received mainly raves for her breakout performance. In praising Fosse's direction, the Washington Post critic asserted that he was "on the verge of assuming a major creative role in the evolution of American film musicals." A April 10, 1972 Box Office article, reporting that the film had already made more than $2,000,000 at the box office, noted that it was likely to become the highest-grossing film in AA history. Daily Variety and Variety news items in February and March 1972 reported that due to the film's Academy Award nominations, it was receiving the "largest saturation booking of any film in the [studio's] history."
       Cabaret received the following Academy Awards: Best Director; Best Actress (Minnelli); Best Supporting Actor (Grey); Best Cinematography; Best Art Direction; Best Film Editing; Best Scoring-Adaptation and Original Song Score and Best Sound. In addition, the picture was nominated for Oscars for Best Picture and Best Adapted Screenplay. [Cabaret was the last musical nominated for a Best Picture Oscar until the 2003 film Chicago (see below), which had been adapted from a Broadway musical directed and choreographed by Fosse.] Cabaret, a smash hit at the box office, received Golden Globes for Best Motion Picture-Musical or Comedy, Best Motion Picture Actress-Musical or Comedy (Minnelli) and Best Supporting Actor-Motion Picture (Grey). In 1995, Cabaret was selected by the Library of Congress for preservation in the National Film Registry and in 2006, was named #5 on AFI's list of the 25 Greatest Movie Musicals.
       "Cabaret" became one of Minnelli's signature songs and she frequently included it in her nightclub acts. Her Emmy Award-winning television special, Liza with a Z, which aired on NBC on September 10, 1972, was directed by Fosse and featured new songs written for her by Kander and Ebb. She also performed several numbers from Cabaret. Her costumes from the film became very influential in fashion, especially the black leotard with shorts, black stockings and bowler hat that she wore for the "Mein Herr" number. Modern sources have commented on the resemblance between Minnelli's distinctive, short haircut and that worn by silent screen actress Louise Brooks, and the similarity between the costumes and those worn by characters in other shows and movies directed by Fosse. Fosse won Best Director, Best Producer and Best Choreographer Emmys for Liza with a Z, which, along with his Oscar for Cabaret and two Tonys for the Broadway musical Pippin, made him the only director, as of 2007, to receive all three major awards in one year. Minnelli worked with Kander and Ebb several more times, including on the 1977 film New York, New York and the Broadway musical The Act.
       In October 1975, Daily Variety reported that eight parties were suing AA and ABC Pictures for profits allegedly due them from the film's grosses and sale for broadcast on television. According to the suit, ABC-TV paid $4,500,000 for the television rights to Cabaret. Among the plaintiffs were Masteroff, Kander, Ebb and Isherwood. The outcome of the suit has not been determined.
       According to a November 1976 Variety article, the film was censored in West Berlin when it was first released there theatrically, with the sequence featuring the Hitler Youth singing "Tomorrow Belongs to Me" having been deleted. The article stated that the elimination had been made "because of the feeling that it might stir up resentments in the audience by showing the sympathizers for the Nazi movement during the `30s." The sequence was restored, however, when the film was shown on West German television on 7 November 1976.
       The musical Cabaret was revived on Broadway twice, in October 1987-June 1988, during which Grey reprised his role as Master of Ceremonies, and March 1998-2004, which starred Alan Cumming as the Master of Ceremonies. In both revivals, songs from the film version, such as "Mein Herr" and "Money," were incorporated. In 1993, the then-current revival of the musical on the London stage, directed by Sam Mendes and starring Cumming and January Horrocks as Sally, was broadcast on British television as a one-night special.

Miscellaneous Notes

Bob Fosse was honored for outstanding directorial achievement by the Directors Guild of America, but lost the Oscar to Francis Ford Coppola for "The Godfather" (USA/1972).

Ranked 5th on AFI's list of the 25 Greatest Movie Musicals in 2006.

Ranked 63rd on AFI's "100 Years...100 Movies--10th Anniversary Edition" list of the greatest American Films in 2007.

Received Golden Globes for Best Motion Picture-Musical or Comedy, Best Motion Picture Actress-Musical or Comedy (Minnelli) and Best Supporting Actor-Motion Picture (Grey).

Selected in 1995 for inclusion in the Library of Congress' National Film Registry.

The last musical to be nominated for a Best Picture Oscar until the film "Chicago" (2003).

Released in United States July 1989

Released in United States March 1977

Released in United States on Video October 28, 1997

Released in United States Winter February 1972

Shown at Moscow International Film Festival (market) July 7-1, 1989.

Based on the musical play "Cabaret," book by Joe Masterhoff, music by John Kander, lyrics by Fred Ebb, which was produced on the New York stage by Harold Prince (New York, Nov 20, 1966); and the play "I Am a Camera" by John Van Druten (New York, Nov 28, 1951). Both were based on Christopher Isherwood's novella "The Last of Mr. Norris" (New York, 1935) and his short stories in "Goodbye to Berlin" (New York, 1939).

The 25th Anniversary video release includes interviews, never-seen-before outtakes and rare screen tests.

Selected by the Library of Congress for preservation in the National Film Registry in 1995.

Released in United States Winter February 1972

Released in United States March 1977 (Shown at FILMEX: Los Angeles International Film Exposition (The Mighty Musical Movie Marathon) March 9-27, 1977.)

Released in United States July 1989 (Shown at Moscow International Film Festival (market) July 7-1, 1989.)

Released in United States on Video October 28, 1997 (for the 25th anniversary of "Cabaret")