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Xanadu

Never let it be said these films don’t aim high for their sources of inspiration. Greek mythology and Coleridge combine in this merry tale of Muses incarnated on Earth to help mankind strive for greater artistic triumphs – which in this case means Olivia Newton John getting Gene Kelly to open a roller disco. Lashings of ELO on the soundtrack and a bit of Don Bluth animation can’t hide the fact this looks like they were making it up as they went along – which, indeed, they were. 1980 turned out to be the high summer of the disco movie – this fought for fleapit space with the delirious Village People ‘biopic’, Can’t Stop the Music. Olivia was no stranger to the wacky world of rock opera – she’d been the singer in made-up band Toomorrow, promoted Monkees-style in the disastrous 1970 sci-fi musical of the same name. Revivalist musicals, eh? From New York, New York through to Absolute Beginners, there was always someone trying to ‘recapture the magic’ of the MGM days back then. We blame Bob Fosse for making it look easy. But this leg-warmered slice of Pacific disco glamp (It’s glam! It’s camp!) is probably the “warning from history” plum of them all.

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  1. Lee James Turnock

    March 30, 2016 at 3:34 pm

    Well… as an old lady apparently said after seeing the interior of the Sistine Chapel, “you can see a lot of work’s gone into it”. The widescreen photography and some of the sets looked nice, at least.

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