8 Decades of The Hollywood Reporter

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The most glamorous and memorable moments from a storied history.

On Feb. 15, 1972, The Hollywood Reporter reviewed Bob Fosse's Cabaret and said, "The film belongs to Liza Minnelli." The next year, so would a best actress Oscar (the other contender from a musical was Diana Ross in Lady Sings the Blues).  In 1966, Minnelli had tried out for Cabaret on Broadway but didn't get the part. Five years later, Fosse went to her concert at the Olympia in Paris, where she performed the show's title song.  Minnelli, then 25, became the first person cast in the film version, set in the Weimar Republic circa 1931, which also starred Joel Grey and Michael York. "We were this little troupe sent off to Germany to make a musical about Nazis," she recalls of the movie, which was shot in Berlin. "When [lyricist] Fred Ebb first heard the concept, he said, 'What are we going to call it, The Nifty Nazi Follies?' " Minnelli turned to her dad, Oscar winner Vincente Minnelli ("I'm a director's daughter"), to get the look for her Sally Bowles character. "I thought everyone in the '30s looked like Marlene Dietrich," she says. "My dad said, 'No, no, no,' and showed me pictures of Theda Bara, Louise Brooks and all these dark-haired women." Because of the lower costs of shooting in Germany, Fosse, the director-choreographer who was coming off the 1969 box-office flop Sweet Charity, was able to make the film he wanted. One note he got from the studio after seeing dailies was: "Too much smoke. It will break up in drive-ins." He ignored it. Regardless, moviegoers loved Cabaret -- the $6 million film, made by ABC Pictures and distributed by Fox, grossed $43 million domestically and won eight Oscars. On April 12, a restored print will be shown at the opening-night gala for Hollywood's TCM Classic Film Festival.

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