I finally watched Cabaret. I've seen two different productions on stage, but had never seen the movie. It's very, very different from the play. In my opinion, the play is better. The movie even omits half the songs from the play, namely "Don't Tell Mama" -- how do you eliminate that one?! Plus they changed the characters around and added some songs.
Perhaps I'm harsh with Cabaret because it paled in comparison to the movie I just finished re-watching for the dozenth time: Chicago. Chicago far outdoes Cabaret with the songs as well as the choreography. Maybe the comparison is unfair, given the 30 years' difference in technology and audience expectations. Again, Cabaret was a good but I prefer the play version. Maybe it wasn't a good idea to watch the two musicals so close together.
But the two films are similar in that they flit from the scenes of real life to the scenes on the stage. Though one takes place in the 1920s and another in 1931, the general theme of both is debauchery against a backdrop of political turmoil and prevailing social mores. Chicago, of course, is a comedy that tries to highlight a love/hate relationship with notions of glamour and sensationalism, and ends appropriately. Cabaret has a continuous sad, dark undercurrent running through the whole thing; I just think it works better on the stage.
And both have fabulous songs that are perfect for karaoke.
I was watching Chicago with one of the smartest people I know because we were practicing duets for karaoke. Basically, all songs from Chicago are great for karaoke, and we recently found a karaoke place that kicks ass. So we rehearsed and rewound the DVD and rehearsed some more. If we kept the landlords or neighbors awake until the wee hours, at least it was melodious and on key. And took a hell of a lot of work to get the harmonies right!
Nerdy, but fun.