Monday, May 8, 2017

songs from movies about musicians: Purple Rain

purchase [Purple Rain]

I  started out on the wrong foot for this theme and it has taken me a few days to get back on track: Musicians in Movies. My belated choice: Purple Rain)
YouTube actually appears to have a copy of the full film:

Purple Rain dates back to the days when I didn't have much in the way of Internet access. More or less nobody did. (Actually, I had X.25 if you want to go down that path.) WWW was invented in 90 or so, but there were direct dial connections to Bulletin Boards such as AOL/Compuserve.  Neither did I have main-stream TV access, being outside the USA. And by this time, MTV had become main-stream for many (USA) people. So .. my access to music videos was limited to what people sent me (USPS VHS packages) or what I could grab on a once a year visit to the US.

Back at about that time, I was teaching a class called "Film & Lit" - as the name implies, a study of film and literature. At that time (while still developing the course) our topics included historical films (Great Train Robbery, Citizen Kane, etc) and only near the end of the course moved on to more modern examples. I never braved Purple Rain - but I wish I had.

My resource(s) for film reviews were limited to the Compuserve film review "channel". No small hassle considering the state of the Internet. On my ocassional visits to the US, I would video-tape anything I could get my hands on. And at some point in the 80's, that included nabbing a copy of Purple Rain.

Vaguely aware that there are autobiographical aspects to the film and newly aware of the phenomena of the artist called Prince (at that time), I/we watched Purple Rain many, many times - this was clearly a different kind of film. Not like Singing in the Rain or even Clockwork Orange - something much more visceral here. But-  keep the '84 date in mind - tech levels on all fronts were pretty limited. Certainly no such option as personal computer video editing, and anything else for video editing on the market cost 10s or 100s of thousands - check out I Want My MTV with a critical eye if you want to see state of the art video editing.

Purple Rain has its flaws. Several. It is supposedly semi-autobiographical, but hopefully not in terms of the male<>female attitudes/roles.(We may never know.) And it's probably not a thematic model to espouse -it's male brutal in many places. But most critics seem to agree that it was seminal - opening up a genre that hadn't been explored before. And the music is [now] classic.

Beautiful Ones from the same fılm/album strikes me as even more seminal/powerful than those songs that became popular. (Sorry, this copy appears to have built-in jitters, but it is still worth your time)

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