As belting, dancing, starry-eyed American Sally Bowles, performing at the Kit Kat Klub in early 1930s cusp-of-Nazi-takeover Berlin, Minnelli was saucy, sex-loving, sensitive, and decadent. Her glitzy long fake eyelashes rivaled bird wings. Minnelli snagged a lead actress Oscar for the role. The movie, both socially conscious and entertaining, earned several other Oscars, including trophies for Bob Fosse as best director and Joel Grey as best supporting actor playing the club’s lipstick-wearing master of ceremonies. In other words, the film was a smash.
Timed to the movie’s 40th anniversary, Warner Bros. is releasing a newly restored Blu-ray of the musical and book on Tuesday packed with extras. Check out this exclusive clip, below, from a new documentary, Cabaret: The Musical that Changed Musicals, included in the Blu-ray, with Grey and Minnelli — wearing Sally Bowles-worthy dangly earrings — talking about how the film blew everyone’s expectations after years of over-stuffed musical flops. “I had no idea what that movie was going to turn out to be. None of us did,” says Minnelli in the clip. “You know, they didn’t believe in this movie. A musical about the Nazis, uhhhhh. Musicals were not popular. They had failed. Cabaret was a huge hit.”