We’ve got a terrific pair of musicals on this Valentine’s Eve, starting with Bob Fosse’s triumphant Cabaret. Besides proving a monstrous hit and going toe to toe with The Godfather itself at the Oscars that year, its depiction of Germany in the waning days of the Weimar Republic feels more pertinent than ever. It opened today in 1972, and remains on the short list of greatest musicals ever made.
Ralph Bakshi’s American Pop doesn’t approach Cabaret in terms of artistry and influence. But it stands as a high point of Bakshi’s strange and fascinating career: a sprawling attempt to chart popular music in the 20th Century as seen through multiple generations of a Jewish immigrant family. It opened today in 1981, and is worth a look for any cinephile or animation fan who hasn’t yet seen it.