Thursday, May 04, 2006
Xanadu...ONJ All The Way
Here is another movie that I think got an unfair rap as a bad movie. After the wild success of Grease Olivia Newton-John was getting movie offers from everywhere. One of them that she chose to do was Xanadu. The other actors in the film are Gene Kelly and Michael Beck. Michael Beck is a frustrated artist who is barely making a living by making giant sized paintings of album covers to hang in record stores. If a real place was used on the cover he sometimes goes to the location and takes pictures of it so it looks better when he paints it. One day he is on location and Olivia roller stakes in front of him and gets in the picture. He notices it before they paint it but keeps her in the painting anyway. Now he has to find this girl. Not just because he kept her in the picture but because it was love at first sight. Hey back then it was the same for any red blooded male who saw ONJ. They meet and along the way they meet a wealthy man played by Gene Kelly. It turns out that ONJ is a muse. One of the daughters of Zeus and she is going to help make the dream of these two men come true. Here is where the movie does fall apart a little bit. The two men’s combined dream is to open up what looks to be a restaurant/roller rink. A very stylish one but that is what it comes down to. They come to it in such a lighthearted and entertaining way that I didn’t care. I was having fun. ONJ has to go home and Michael looses the girl he loves. Before the movie is over he meets another who looks exactly like ONJ. A cop out to be sure but it left you feeling that he still had a chance at love. The movie was a light hearted fun filled fantasy. The special effects were state of the art for its day. However, computer graphics have improved by leaps and bounds since 1980 and will look old fashioned compared to movies today. The music was provided by Jeff Lynne and his group ELO and by ONJ and John Farrar. I would love to see a copy of the first script as Jeff Lynne said that was what got him interested in doing the score of the movie. The revisions of the film kept getting worse but he was already under contract to the film. He thought it was so bad he didn’t want anything else to do with movie soundtracks. Too bad this sound track was very good. The song Magic made it to number one. It fared better with musical audiences then the movie did at the boxoffice. I went to see the movie with my cousin Rachel and two of her friends. When I saw a concert video of Olivia Newton John and she started to sing Magic a man in the audience mentioned that he saw Xanadu. She said “Oh so you’re the one.” I wanted to say no he was the fifth one. Later Mr. Lynne must have gotten over his hurt feelings as he made contributions to other movies. I plan on telling you of one here later. Electric Dreams.
PS. I was self-indulgent with the title as I added the ONJ all the way at the last minute. The reason why was for nostalgia for me. When I was about 13 a freind of mine Dave Smith had a label maker and used it to type that saying out and posted it all over his room to show his affection for her. So that was for you Dave. If you see it I hope you like it.