December 19, 2016
What's shocking anymore?
I watched the movie Cabaret over the weekend, which I think may be the first time I've seen it since, oh, high school or so. Joel Grey's Master of Ceremonies was as creepily fantastic as ever. I'm better able now to appreciate Liza's insane talent and quirky beauty. And, well, I've never not appreciated a young Michael York. Fosse did a stupendous job and it's as effective a film as it ever was.
I found myself thinking about it this morning, though, as I pulled a towel out of the linen closet and glanced at my shelf full of bottles of nail polish-- Reds ranging from crimson to ruby to almost-black maroon, silver and gunmetal grey, baby blue, cobalt blue, midnight blue with sparkles, copper, and a deep green that echos Sally Bowles' signature shade. It was her signature because it was, in her mind and in that era, "shocking", a bit of "divine decadence". The bisexuality of the film was also shocking, in that era and also still in the one when the film was released. The scenes in the cabaret had a degree of shocking titillation to them.
But none of those things are shocking anymore. Non-hetero sexualities are still controversial, but rarely hidden anymore. Burlesque and cabaret shows are hip entertainment these days. And, well, there's my shelf full of nail polish.
Is there anything from the film Cabaret that can still shock us? That's a leading question, and I hope you get it.