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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

Cabaret 40th Anniversay [Blu-ray]


(Bob Fosse, 1972)



Review by Gary Tooze



Theatrical: Warner

Video: Warner



Region: FREE! (as verified by the Momitsu region FREE Blu-ray player)

Runtime: 2:03:41.747

Disc Size: 39,976,945,085 bytes

Feature Size: 33,297,278,976 bytes

Video Bitrate: 30.72 Mbps

Chapters: 13

Case: Digi-book Blu-ray case

Release date: February 5th, 2013



Aspect ratio: 1.78:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video



DTS-HD Master Audio English 3044 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 3044 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
Commentary: Dolby Digital Audio English 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps / DN -4dB / Dolby Surround



English (SDH), French, Spanish, none



• Commentary by Stephen Tropiano
• Cabaret: The Musical That Changed Musicals New Featurette! (28:40)
• Cabaret: A Legend in the Making (17:31)
• The Recreation of an Era (6:04)

Behind the Scenes - Kit Kat Memory Gallery

Liza Minnelli Remembers:
• Marisa's Close-up
• Sally's Look
• Observing the Master

Joel Grey Reminisces:
• Challenges
• Collective Memory
• Strange Inspiration

Michael York Remembers:
• A Called Bluff
• Risk Taking
• Rush(es) Hour
• A Happy Accident

Martin Baum Reminisces:
• Rock 'N' Roll Editing
• Isherwood's Surprise Reaction
• Smithsonian Honor

Cy Feuer Remembers:
• Tomorrow Belongs to Me

Emanuel L.Wolf Reminisces:
• Taking on 'The Godfather
• Timeless

John Kander Remembers:
• Playing 'What If?’
• Almost a Nervous Breakdown
• Sneaking a Peek

Jay Presson Allen Reminisces:
• Play vs. Book
• Recruiting Hugh Wheeler

Fred Ebb Remembers:
• Screening Blues
• Screening Hues
• Theatrical Trailer (2:55)





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.



The Film:

Cabaret, Bob Fosse’s ground-breaking Oscar®-winning musical drama starring Liza Minnelli (Arthur, The Sterile Cuckoo), Michael York (the Austin Powers films), Joel Grey (Man on a Swing), Helmut Griem, and Marisa Berenson (I am Love), celebrates its 40th anniversary with a Blu-ray debut on February 5, 2013. Remastered for the first time in over 20 years, Cabaret is presented in its original aspect ratio (16 x 9 format). Winner of eight Academy Awards®, including Director (Fosse), Actress (Minnelli), and Supporting Actor (Grey), the film will be offered in a premium Blu-ray Book format, which contains 40 pages of insightful photos and text. A new documentary, "Cabaret: The Musical That Changed Musicals" will be featured, along with vintage documentaries "Cabaret: A Legend in the Making," "The Recreation of an Era," a multi-part memory gallery and more.

Cabaret was adapted from the Tony® - winning stage production, which was in turn inspired by Christopher Isherwood's Berlin Stories and the play and movie I Am a Camera. This remarkable musical turns the pre-war Berlin of 1931 into a sexually charged center of decadence. Liza Minnelli gives a bravura performance as nightclub entertainer Sally Bowles, and Joel Grey is the master of ceremonies at the nightclub, also acting as the storyteller for the audience, exposing the seediness of the cabaret world. The superb songwriting team of Kander and Ebb contributes a string of memorable songs that not only entertain but also provide social commentary on the events of the time. Under the helm of director-choreographer Bob Fosse (All that Jazz), Cabaret becomes both a devastating drama and top-rate entertainment, and the result is one of the most memorable and meaningful screen musicals ever made.

Excerpt from Warner's Press Release

Originally a 1966 Broadway musical, this groundbreaking Bob Fosse musical was in turn based on Christopher Isherwood's Goodbye to Berlin, previously dramatized for stage and screen as I Am a Camera with Julie Harris as Sally Bowles. Fosse uses the decadent and vulgar cabaret as a mirror image of German society sliding toward the Nazis, and this intertwining of entertainment with social history marked a new step forward for the movie musical. Michael York plays a British writer who comes to Berlin in the early 1930s in hopes of becoming a teacher. He makes the acquaintance of flamboyant American entertainer Sally Bowles, played by Liza Minnelli. Sally works at the Kit Kat Klub, a George Grosz-like Berlin cabaret where each night the smirking, androgynous Master of Ceremonies (Joel Grey) introduces a jazz-driven "girlie show" to his debauched audience. Virtually all the film's musical numbers are staged within the confines of the Kit Kat Klub, and each song comments on the plot and on Germany's "progression" from hedonism to Hitlerism. Most of the Broadway score by John Kander and Fred Ebb was retained, with the welcome addition of "The Money Song." Although it lost Best Picture to The Godfather, Cabaret won eight Oscars, including awards to Minnelli, Grey, and Fosse. A heavily expurgated 88-minute version of Cabaret has been prepared for commercial TV presentations, regarded by many as dramatically inferior to the full cut.

Excerpt from MRQE located HERE


Image :    NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.

Cabaret arrives in a 40th Anniversary Blu-ray from Warner in an impressive Digi-book packaging.  Every time I have seen the film it had this same very thick appearance - especially inside the 'klub'. Textures are heavy - looking hazy and dream-like in the low level lighting. The few outdoor sequences crisp-up. Colors seem dense achieving separation not seen on SD. Skin tones seem true and contrast is solid. There is no noise at all. This Blu-ray gives an authentic and consistent video representation of Cabaret with its Fellini'esque costumes and dark 'death' themes.

















Audio :

Key to the film is the audio which comes in a DTS-HD Master 5.1 surround at a healthy 3044 kbps. Minnelli sounds impressive belting out songs like "Money, Money" and "Cabaret". The musical numbers can sound extremely pleasing. There is notable but not always crisp separations and wonderful depth. The memorable score by John Kander and Fred Ebb benefits from the uncompressed rendering. There are optional subtitles and my Momitsu has identified it as being a region FREE disc playable on Blu-ray machines worldwide.




Extras :

Included is an informative commentary from Stephen Tropiano author of Cabaret: Music on Film. There is a new documentary, "Cabaret: The Musical That Changed Musicals" running short of 1/2 hour - and described as 'an enlightening look at how Fosse and “Cabaret” brought movie musicals back from the brink of extinction.' Also included are the vintage, and still rough looking, documentaries "Cabaret: A Legend in the Making," running 17-minutes and the short "The Recreation of an Era," plus and extensive a multi-part Kit Kat Memory Gallery with short reminiscences from Liza, Joel Grey, Michael York, Martin Baum, Cy Feuer, Emanuel L.Wolf, John Kander, Jay Presson Allen, and Fred Ebb. the package is a handsome 40 page book with photos and text.



I loved revisiting this film in 1080P. There aren't many films like Cabaret.  Fosse broke a lot of new ground... revolutionizing the Hollywood musical - and it all works so refreshingly well. The Diva in Liza blossomed and the music stays with you long after viewing. Those familiar with the film will relish the Blu-ray appearance - and especially the lossless sound. This remains a huge treat and to have it so much closer to theatrical in your Home Theater is an event worth noting. Certainly recommended! 

Gary Tooze

January 24th, 2013



About the Reviewer: Hello, fellow Beavers! I have been interested in film since I viewed a Chaplin festival on PBS when I was around 9 years old. I credit DVD with expanding my horizons to fill an almost ravenous desire to seek out new film experiences. I currently own approximately 9500 DVDs and have reviewed over 5000 myself. I appreciate my discussion Listserv for furthering my film education and inspiring me to continue running DVDBeaver. Plus a healthy thanks to those who donate and use our Amazon links.

Although I never wanted to become one of those guys who focused 'too much' on image and sound quality - I find HD is swiftly pushing me in that direction.

Gary's Home Theatre:

60-Inch Class (59.58” Diagonal) 1080p Pioneer KURO Plasma Flat Panel HDTV PDP6020-FD

Oppo Digital BDP-83 Universal Region FREE Blu-ray/SACD Player
Momitsu - BDP-899 Region FREE Blu-ray player
Marantz SA8001 Super Audio CD Player
Marantz SR7002 THX Select2 Surround Receiver
Tannoy DC6-T (fronts) + Energy (centre, rear, subwoofer) speakers (5.1)

APC AV 1.5 kVA H Type Power Conditioner 120V

Gary W. Tooze






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