Finally got around to watching this classic. It's not nearly as earth shattering as All That Jazz, but Cabaret is a timeless film with outstanding musical numbers and performances, particularly from Joel Grey who is absolutely brilliant. Fosse was one of the greats and created films that could never be duplicated in any way, try as they might.
I can't help but get the nagging feeling there's wasted potential in this film. We could have had deeper meaning in the rise of the Nazi party with the main love story but it feels slapped together. I've read the book Goodbye to Berlin which slightly alters the material of Sally Bowles story which is only around 60 pages of a 250 page book. The acting is spot on but the direction is forgettable once it's ended.
Though not quite as staggering as Sam Mendes' more recent stage incarnation, Fosse's film is still sublime and easily counted among the greatest films of the 70s. Minnelli is exquisite and it's all a marvelously sly warning that a life of unchecked irresponsibility and decadence can blind one to the brutal truths of the world and keep you from hearing the wolves knocking at the door.
For more context to the film, I recommend you read Goodbye to Berlin, (the book that Cabaret was based on) before watching this, although it is not essential. The film does a brilliant job at standing on its own and subtly emphasises the rapid decline of Berlin as it spun out of control. I especially enjoyed the use of the little cabaret vignettes with messages that tie back into the main plot.