Many of the music and songs instead reflect the nightlife and cabaret culture of the time. This, in my opinion, is a very effective device in transforming the movie into an interesting and original take on what otherwise could have been a very standardized movie. Unlike most other musicals, it also integrates songs into the narrative, to elaborate and comment on the storyline, instead of isolating them as separate elements.
The setting of the movie in Berlin in the 1930’s and the focus on nightlife and romantic relationships, sets the movie up for some unexpected musical numbers. Instead of the nightlife being portrayed as a blissful escape from the impending horrors of the outside world, it is shown as extremely seedy and somewhat distasteful in its’ indulgence of decadent behaviour. One of the first musical numbers is a flirtatious, provocative number, performed by the protagonist, Sally Bowles. The song ‘Cabaret’, perhaps the most well-known of all the musical numbers in the movie, is in my opinion, the darkest and most effective song performed. The lyrics and performance of the song are high-spirited, careless and jovial, utterly contrasting with the environment within the movie – both geographically and within the seedy Kit Kat Klub itself.
The way in which the songs provide a commentary for the movie, and are integrated within the dialogue, to an extent, is a useful technique. Instead of being separated from the movies development, they are made a part of the development, elaborating on information, feelings and occurrences, much in the same way as spoken dialogue. This provides another interesting and effective use of song, which makes the movie stand out as an original creation. Another effective use of song can be found in the contrast between the opening and closing performances of the song ‘Willkommen’. At the beginning, it is performed in a ...
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