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Reflections of a working writer and reader



The Blossom Embraces the Bee

The scene of the boy soprano in Bob Fosse’s 1972 film, Cabaret, says much about the art of confounding expectations. It is the only song in the movie which is not performed in the Kit Cat Club, but this takes nothing away from the darkness and foreboding which permeate the narrative from start to finish.

The branch of the linden is leafy and green,
The Rhine gives its gold to the sea.
But somewhere a glory awaits unseen.
Tomorrow belongs to me.

Based on the Broadway musical of the same name and Christopher Isherwood’s Berlin Stories, Cabaret is centered around the figure of Sally Bowles, an American ex-patriot in Berlin in the 1930s, star-struck and naive and holding down a singing and dancing job in a cellar bar and cabaret.

‘I’m going to be a great film star. That is if booze and sex don’t get me first.’

Outside on the streets Nazi thugs beat-up and destroy anyone who opposes them. Inside the cabaret the show goes on; but we have to question for how long? The good times are coming to an end as the curtain of the swastika inexorably eliminates the light.

The film depicts Berlin’s poverty, it’s alcoholism and its decadence; and it goes some way to disclosing the Nazis false promises of beauty, tradition, order, pride, and their affinity with the world of nature:

Nature is so marvellously beautiful and every animal has a right to live. It’s just this point of view that I admire so much in our forefathers. They, for instance, formally declared war on rats and mice, which were required to stop their depredations and leave a fixed area with a definite time limit, before beginning a war of annihilation against them. You will find this respect for animals in all Indo- Germanic peoples. It was of extraordinary interest to me to hear recently that even today Buddhist monks, when they pass through a wood in the evening, carry a bell with them, to make any woodland animals they might meet keep away, so that no harm will come to them.
Heinrich Himmler

4 Responses to “The Blossom Embraces the Bee”

  1. Jim Murdoch says:

    I think that scene might count as one of the scariest in any film and manages it without anyone being eviscerated, decapitated or mutilated, just a bunch of Midwich Cuckoos singing.

  2. john baker says:

    The song was written for the musical by Fred Ebb and John Kander, both American Jews. Ironically it has been recorded and is regularly performed by racist and far-right groups. Many people believe it is an original Nazi anthem; but it was only written in the sixties.

  3. chun says:

    Have you seen this video of thousands of Chinese enjoy a good rock concert in a European band? It is certainly not what Tibet, and Al Jazeera is not going to broadcast … I do not think is as important as the issue of Libya and Gaddafi, but it’s fun to see how China can not censor a good concert style with Muse, Suede, etc …

  4. john baker says:

    Hi Chun, I’m not quite sure what your point is, or even if it’s relevant to the post. As regards Chinese Human Rights issues, rock music is great, and the clip you sent us is good to watch, but it didn’t stop the Chinese authorities executing somewhere between 2000 and 5000 people a year.