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Cabaret.

Barry

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Cabaret.
« on: March 30, 2019, 08:51:54 PM »
 This is a review of the Blu Ray Cabaret.
 
When you first turn on the movie you might "score" the visuals and audio on an absolute level. That is how well the picture compares to a modern movie filmed today.  In that case Cabaret gets:
 
Video: 3.5 out of a 1-5 absolute rating
Audio: 3 out of a 1-5 absolute rating
 
But on a cinematic rating the movie gets:
Video: 4.75 out of a 1-5 absolute rating
Audio 4.5 out of a 1-5 absolute rating
 
But this is not a musical of the 1950s or 60s. Gone are the bright Technicolor sets and makeup. Gone is the dancing in the streets and the huge invisible orchestra that follows the cast around.
 
Here, the singing and dancing only appear on stage, and with a small orchestra that we see in the club.
 
Many of the scenes take place in the Kit Kat Cabaret, surrounded by artificial lighting. The lighting is harsh, stark, unappealing and the colors seemed a bit drained. When the performers are on screen, they just have one bright very white spotlight on their faces. There is no colored, warm lighting, nor any lighting form above or below.  Ms. Minnelli is pale, almost white throughout the movie and this makes that stand out.  And, when you watch them on the stage, the lighting makes you feel claustrophobic. If you are uncomfortable looking at it this way, it's deliberate. Out of the club, in the "poor homes" the lighting is still very unnatural and subdued, and a bit harsh. In the rich homes and outdoor scenes there is a richer, less grainy color.
 
Note however, that in Joel Grey's last number, lighting begins to show from the ceiling and the stage is well lit for Ms. Minnelli's Cabaret.
 
This cinematography helps set the stage and the mood of the entire picture.
 
Audio:
We are used to full orchestras in musicals, Mary Poppins, West Side Story, etc. They are here not only in the production numbers.
 
Here music comes from three places only, there is no real background score:
1. The orchestra in the Cabaret. It's a small orchestra and it does not have that great all-consuming sound, it sounds a bit thin. They also, to me, sound a bit tiny.
2. Records, vinyl for the 1930s
3. Street musicians.
 
In the 1950s and early 1960s the studios worked hard to get the best audio, especially in musicals. That was lost for almost a decade until Star Wars came around. So the fidelity here could have been better.
 
"Here, life is beautiful. The girls are beautiful. Even the orchestra is beautiful! "


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