Greetings and salutations, eager scholars, and welcome to another session of hoopla Film School!
Love 'em or hate 'em, there's no denying that musicals are one of the most successful and prolific genres in film history. After silent movies faded into obsolescence and "talkies" became the norm, Hollywood studios pulled out all the stops to combine music and film, producing some of the most iconic and enduring films of our time...and some other films that the studios would like you to forget!
For those with a taste for substantial and culturally significant musicals, allow me to refer you to this list of the American Film Institute's 25 Greatest Musicals of All Time, opens a new window. But if you're a fellow connoisseur of low-brow cinema and delight in wildly questionable, outlandishly bad ideas, join me over at hoopla, opens a new window for a marathon of long lost movie musicals that will make you shriek "How did this get made?!"
Undaunted by the withering reviews for his 1986 directorial debut, Under the Cherry Moon, opens a new window, Prince returned to the movie business to write, direct, and star in this preposterous 1990 "homage" to old Hollywood musicals, shot entirely on a gaudy neon set built at his Paisley Park sound stage. Prince reprises his role as The Kid from Purple Rain, opens a new window, a solitary, tortured artist type who spends his days writing letters to his deceased father and his nights writhing onstage at his very own nightclub, the Glam Slam. When a power-hungry Morris Day tries to wrest ownership of the Glam Slam, it's up to The Kid, his band, and a mysterious, slam poetry-reciting angel named Aura to save the day!
In this perverted Alice In Wonderland story from Richard Elfman, a woman named Frenchy Hercules finds a portal in the basement of her home that leads to the Sixth Dimension, a vibrant, cartoonish bizarro world ruled by the diminutive King Fausto (Fantasy Island's Hervé Villechaize) and the domineering Queen Doris (character actress Susan Tyrrell in a game, pitch-perfect performance). Renowned composer Danny Elfman and the Mystic Knights of the Oingo Boingo provide the avant-garde, jazz-inspired soundtrack to Frenchy's twisted adventures in a world of butler frogs, sadistic princesses, and the Devil himself!
A who's who of late 1970s pop culture icons populate this notorious narrative adaptation of late-period Beatles songs, produced by rock promoter and media mogul Robert Stigwood. The film flopped spectacularly upon its release in 1978 and irreparably devastated the careers of then-superstars Peter Frampton and the Bee Gees. Personally, I think the critics were a little harsh! For all its faults, no other film contains a fight scene, opens a new window between Peter Frampton and Steven Tyler, Alice Cooper warbling through a kaleidoscopic cover of "Because," or poor Steve Martin palpably struggling through a truly painful rendition of "Maxwell's Silver Hammer." Come on, that's gotta count for something!
Cashing in on the success of their shamelessly trippy 1969 children's show H.R. Pufnstuf, puppeteer siblings Sid and Marty Krofft rushed a Pufnstuf movie into production mere weeks after the series ended. The end result is your typical story of boy meets magical talking flute, boy loses magical talking flute, boy battles council of witches on a psychedelic island to get magical talking flute back. Don't miss the show-stopping number from Sid Krofft's neighbor, the late, great Mama Cass!, opens a new window