As is noted in the 170 Greatest Films section of this blog, the foundation of the 170 list is AFI’s original “100 Years … 100 Movies” list from 1997. Ten years later, the esteemed organization took another look at the greatest American films with a new, fresh perspective. Citizen Kane topped the list both times, but there were some modifications in 2007. Some films fell off the list. Some were added. Among those added was this 1972 classic, which I recently watched for the first time.
Cabaret was The Godfather‘s primary competition at the Oscar ceremony that honored some of the greatest films of 1972. (The Godfather ranked third on the original 1997 AFI list, and jumped to the runner-up position in 2007.) Many consider Coppola’s film to be “the perfect film,” but there were some doubts it would win the top prize at the Oscars that year. Throughout the night, Cabaret beat The Godfather in several categories. In total, Cabaret won an impressive eight statues out of its 10 nominations. The Godfather, however, took home just three out of 10 nominations. (Well, technically, only two went home since Marlon Brando refused his Best Actor award.)
Though Cabaret won awards for Bob Fosse (Best Director), Liza Minnelli (Best Actress), Joel Grey (Best Supporting Actor), cinematography, music, and editing, among others, it was bested for the top prize by the classic gangster film. Despite the musical’s domination that night, it hasn’t achieved the appeal of its closest competitor. Nonetheless, the film is a classic in its own right, blending some superb writing, terrific acting, and flawless direction and music.
Cabaret is a classic American musical where the characters don’t burst out in spontaneous song and dance. The music is integrated in an authentic way that only enhances the film, rather than distract from the plot. Check out my Favorite Films section for more information about the 1972 classic.