- Associated Press - Thursday, April 12, 2012

LOS ANGELES (AP) - “Cabaret” stars Liza Minnelli, Joel Grey and Michael York are on hand for a screening of the restored 1972 film at the TCM Classic Film Festival in Los Angeles.

A cheering crowd greeted the actors Thursday night at Grauman’s Chinese Theatre, where “Cabaret” was opening the four-day film festival.

Other stars at the event included Debbie Reynolds, Eva Marie Saint and Larry Hagman. The TCM film festival continues through Sunday.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP’s earlier story is below.

It took a stray bit of dirt to scratch the perfection of “Cabaret,” and painstaking effort to return it to cinematic glory.

The restored “Cabaret,” minus damage that had prevented a high-definition version, earned the opening spot at the four-day TCM Classic Film Festival. Stars Liza Minnelli and Joel Grey were scheduled to attend Thursday’s ceremony marking the musical’s 40th anniversary.

Minnelli, whose turn as cabaret singer Sally Bowles captured a best actress Academy Award and cemented her young stardom, said making “Cabaret” was a joyful “secret,” filmed in Munich and far away from meddling Los Angeles studio bosses.

Director Bob Fosse “got away with murder. We all did,” Minnelli said in a recent phone call from New York. She’s on a concert tour, “Confessions,” based on her album of the same title.

“We’d take chances, and the studio would send notes like, `Too cloudy. It will break up on drive-in (screens),’” she recalled. “Fosse would read that out loud, tear it up and throw it over his shoulder _ in front of the whole cast and crew.”

Set in 1930s Berlin, with German life darkening under the Nazi Party’s rise, the film was based on the 1966 Broadway musical adapted from Christopher Isherwood’s short novels.

Michael York starred as Sally’s boyfriend and Helmut Griem played the wealthy lover shared by both in a then-rare movie depiction of bisexuality. Fosse’s distinctive, archly suggestive choreography defined the film’s candor and cynicism.

Grey portrayed the grotesquely painted master of ceremonies at the nightclub where Sally performed. Her vulnerability and yearning were on display in the tawdry setting as she belted out “Maybe This Time,” “Life Is a Cabaret” and other indelible songs from the John Kander-Fred Ebb score.

Both Grey and Minnelli won Oscars, his for supporting actor. Besides capturing a total of eight trophies, including best director for Fosse, the 1972 film was nominated for best picture.

Thomas S. Hischak, professor of theater at the State University of New York College at Cortland and author of “The Oxford Companion to the American Musical,” said he routinely shows clips from “Cabaret” to his students.

“It hasn’t dated. It really was exceptional,” he said. “The movie `Cabaret’ is totally different from the play, and it’s just as good. They took one masterpiece, radically changed it, and came up with a film masterpiece.”

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