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Home Theater Movie Renter's Guide - February, 2013

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  "Cabaret" (Blu-ray) - Reviewed by Jim Clements

movie-february-2013-cabaret

Synopsis

Flamboyant and eccentric American entertainer Sally Bowles (Minnelli) sings in Berlin's decadent Kit Kat Club, even as Nazism rises in Germany in 1931.  She falls in love with a British language teacher (York) - whom she shares with a homosexual German Baron (Griem).  But Sally's insular, carefree, tolerant and fragile cabaret world is about to be crushed under the boot of the Nazis as Berlin becomes a trap from which Sally's German friends will not escape. 

 

Specifications

  • Warner Brothers
  • 1972, Color, Rated PG, 2 Hr 4 mins
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • 1080p
  • Codec: AVC
  • English 5.1 DTS-HD Master
  • Starring: Liza Minnelli, Michael York, Helmut Griem , Marisa Berenson and Joel Grey
  • Directed by Bob Fosse
Rating
  • Entertainment:
  • Video:
  • Audio:
  • Extras:
  • Violence: Yes
  • Sex: Mild
  • Language: Mild

Commentary

This movie won 8 Academy Awards in 1973.  This is a whale of an acheivment for a somewhat quirky film that featured subject matter that was extremely progressive at the time.  It amazes me also because it was a big year in Hollywood.  Cabaret was up against The Godfather, Deliverance, Sounder, The Poseidon Adventure and The Man of La Mancha to name a few gems that year.  My point is that here is this musical with amazing music, excellent performances, great direction and is deserving of all the accolades it has received over the last 40 years.  But it perplexes me still with the art direction and the sketchy dialog.  This movie is still hugely entertaining and provocative.  I consider it an undisputed "must have" for any cinephile's library and this newly remastered Blu-ray is certainly the way to go.

Technical

This movie is dominated by dark scenes of all sorts - inside the Kit Kat Club, outside at night and inside Sally's apartment and Maximilian's castle.  There are a few daytime outdoor scenes and other "bright" scenes, but they appear to be intentionally muted to fit the movie's theme.  Quality transfers of movies like this must therefore have deep and stable black levels.  Thankfully, this Blu-ray has solid blacks with a smooth luminance transition from absolute black on up.  The transfer also keeps all the natural film grain intact.  This certainly leads to a number of scenes that are abundantly filmic.  The image is also bolstered by solid flesh tones and good color separation.

The audio is up to the same standard as the video which means that the musical numbers are a pure delight with great presence and dynamics especially in the area of the singers' vocals.  The songs are accompanied with numerous sound effects to go along with the silly lyrics and those effects sound quite natural indeed.  There is little low bass throughout and the surrounds come into use some, but sparingly. 

Extras

Warner Brothers is celebrating the 40th Anniversary of the Cabaret theatrical release with this remastered Blu-ray package.  You get a single Blu-ray disc packaged with a hardbound, 40-page "Blu-ray Book" that is replete with full color promotional photos, story background and cast bios.  On disc extras include Commentary by Stephen Tropiano, Cabaret: The Musical that Changed Musicals , Cabaret: A Legend in the Making, The Recreation of an Era, The Kit Kat Club Memory Gallery and the theatrical trailer.