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Berlin: City in the Movies
Posted February 19, 2010 to photo album "Berlin: City in the Movies"
Scott Macaulay clicks through the various characters this city has played.
Slide 6: Cabaret - City of Excess
Shot throughout Berlin with its “hero location,” the Kit Kat Club of Liza Minelli’s Sally Bowles being constructed at Munich’s Bavaria Studios, Bob Fosse’s Cabaret depicts the culture of Weimar Germany and the lead-up to Nazism through the prism of a love triangle between singer Bowles, a bisexual British academic (Michael York), and a rich German playboy. The film was partially based on Christopher Isherwood’s Berlin Stories, a collection of two novellas that introduced Bowles as one of several fringe characters making art and love amidst the economic collapse, cultural renaissance and political tensions of the time. In his book Razzle Dazzle: The Life and Work of Bob Fosse, Kevin Boyd Grubb described the relationship between the Berlin of the film’s 1971 shooting and the Berlin of Weimar: “If the Germans [on location in 1971] were reticent about the past, it only made [Bob] Fosse more persistent in his efforts to reclaim it. He and [Liza] Minnelli visited several places on the Reepersbahn, where they watched lesbians mud-wrestling and live pornographic sex shows. In Bavaria, they made a frightening discovery when they were told about a group of neo-Nazis. The strange juxtaposition of rampant sex and fascism was too tempting for Fosse to resist; it was, after all, the core of Cabaret."