Sunday, October 16, 2016

Sunday Morning Cinema: Xanadu

Welcome to Sunday Morning Cinema, a new weekly feature on this oh-so-fun blog of mine. Each Sunday morning I watch a classic (by my definition) film, and discuss it here.

This week's selection was the Robert Greenwald's 1980 musical fantasy Xanadu. This now cult-classic stars Olivia Newton-John, Michael Beck, and the legendary Gene Kelly. The film is about a Greek muse who comes alive to inspire a young artist and a former big-band orchestra leader. Because of her, they create a new nightclub: Xanadu.

Years ago, I saw the film on the big screen (during its initial release) just weeks before my 10th birthday. To date, it still remains a personal favorite.

While the storyline is strange and the plot is paper-thin, the soundtrack is the main star here. From the title track to hits like 'Magic,' 'I'm Alive,' 'All Over the World,' and 'Suddenly,' this film is a serious sing-along. I played the heck out of that double-album when I first bought it in 1980. It's impossible to mention the soundtrack without giving credit to the Electric Light Orchestra (ELO) and songwriter John Farrar.

After watching the film, I did a little research. I was sad to discover the Pan-Pacific Auditorium (which serves as the club exterior in the film), was destroyed in a fire.

Last summer, I was very fortunate to see Olivia's wonderful show in Las Vegas. Her performance of the title track to this guilty pleasure of a film was a highlight of the night.

I've also seen the Broadway musical adaptation. While it certainly celebrates the film and is quite a bit of fun, nothing can come close to the real thing.

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