‘Xanadu’ by Olivia Newton-John: More than 40 years on ‘kitsch’ Olympus

Although it has been said for decades musical movie (and the west) is dead, the reality is different. It’s enough to take a look at musicals from the mid-’70s to the mid-80s, when the genre was theoretically in decline.

Currently ‘Ghost of Heaven’, ‘Tommy’, ‘The Rocky horror movie show’, ‘New York, New York’, ‘Grease’, ‘Movie, movie’, ‘Start the show’, ‘Hair’ are out. , ‘Don’t cut the music’, ‘Money fell from heaven’, ‘Annie’, ‘Flashdance’, ‘Survival’, ‘Footlose’, ‘A choir sequence’ and ‘Dirty dance’.

this is true some were enormous commercial failures, others would become cult works, some coexisted with classicism and others were very ‘kitsch’and a few of them did well at the box office.

It emerged in this context ‘Xanadu’, one of the most unique rare birds of the species, introduced in the United States 42 years ago and was forever nominated for the Razzie Awards as the worst musical of all time. What matters is that deep down they talk about you, whether good or bad. Ed Wood holds the honorary title of being the worst director in the history of cinema, and this has made him much better known than other filmmakers. ‘Xanadu’ cost 20m euros and raised slightly more than that amount todaySo it wasn’t exactly a success. The formula of the film seemed profitable: classical musical, disco, fantastic and pure ‘kitsch’. Today, in times of recycling and post-modernity, ‘Xanadu’ can be consumed with less prejudice and tasted for what it is, a true cult delirium.

The movie, meanwhile, is available on both Film and Google Play.

His argument amply illustrates this. Terpsichore, the daughter of Zeus, the muse of dance, assumes the identity of a human born from a mural. (The portal between Olympus and Earth), she calls herself Kira and inspires an illustrator working for a record label, Sonny, with a kiss. Not only is he giving his wings for his next illustration, an album cover, but he falls in love with it, which sets him free. wrath of the gods. At the same time, Danny, a man who ran a jazz club in the 1940s, dreams of opening a jazz club again. Kira and her deadly boyfriend help her get it: a nightclub where you do skating and tap dancing and disco music.

Everything in the movie is borderline. First the title: ‘Xanadu’A nod to both the summer capital and pleasant refuge of Kublai Khan, one of the great rulers of the Mongol empire, a city lauded in a poem quoted in the film, and the magnificent residence built by the megalomaniac businessman from ‘Citizen Kane’. ‘, Orson Welles movie.

Then the cast. In it, the musical coincides with the present tense of the singer and actress. Genre icon, past tense personified after Olivia Newton-John (Kira) paired with John Travolta in ‘Grease’ Gene KellyWith ‘An American in Paris’, ‘A Day in New York’ and ‘Singing in the Rain’, he is one of the biggest male stars and highest representation of the classic Hollywood musical. When Jacques Demy gave her a leading role in ‘The Rochefort Ladies’ in 1967, Kelly was once again the connecting piece between the new and the old, as was already the case between American and European musicals.

Let’s continue with the music. If songs in Kelly, Vincente Minnelli, Stanley Donen, and company’s masterpieces were signed by Alan Jay Lerner, Johnny Mercer, or Adolph Green, and in a 1980s musical by Cole Porter, Jerome Kern, or George Gershwin, it would have to fit. like a glove Jeff Lynne with his ELO (Electric Light Orchestra), initially a rock band with classical music trappings, and a pop hit band gradually closer to AOR. Just a year before writing the song for ‘Xanadu’, Lynne and ELO had recorded ‘Discovery’, a more successful dancefloor focused album. They were a bestselling group and remained so in the movie.

ELO soundtrack, platinum disc

While the movie was a flop corresponding soundtrack went platinum. Catchy song ‘Xanadu’Performed by Newton-John and ELO, it reached number one on the charts. This was not the only bomb. Romantic ‘Suddenly’, sung as a duet by the actress and Cliff Richard (voice of Sonny), reached number 15 on the British singles charts. Another potential hit was ‘Dancin’, a quirky song that mixed two other backup singers with the new wave rock of California band The Tubes, imitating the style of Newton-John and the Andrew Sisters. There was even a duet between Newton-John and Kelly called ‘Whenever You’re Away From Me’ with big band arrangements and step steps.

Because despite the fantastic disco ‘kitsch’ packaging, ‘Xanadu’ looks back at the musical of the past. Not only does Kelly represent that golden age, her character is almost identical to the character she played in ‘The Models’, a 1944 musical by Charles Vidor. Kelly played the owner of a nightclub in this movie. His name was Danny McGuire, just like in ‘Xanadu’.

Kelly died in 1996. Representing the United Kingdom in the 1974 Eurovision Song Contest, Newton-John died on 8 August at the age of 73 and never achieved comparable success in cinema to ‘Grease’. Nobody remembers today Michael BeckThe actor who plays Sonny. Film director, Robert Greenwaldsoon the third one changed: for years he has been making documentaries about Iraq, Afghanistan and the military use of drones.

Source: Informacion


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