I think we can all agree that the 1980 roller-disco romance Xanadu isn't exactly what most people would call the height of film making achievement. But as a 5-year-old girl (yeah, I watched movies at a really young age -- strange, I know), it was possibly the best thing I had ever seen. The story of a young artist named Sonny (played by Michael Beck) slaving away recreating album covers (is that even a job?) and the muse who inspires him to pack it in to start the roller disco of his dreams may have been a huge success on the Billboard charts, but the film barely broke even at the box-office -- my god, the spandex budget alone would have bankrupted the production. Of course, none of that mattered to me as I watched Olivia Newton-John glide across the floor to the tunes of E.L.O.
So in a movie chock full of guilty pleasures, the scene in which Gene Kelly and Beck envision their perfect club is by far my favorite. Combining a big band sound with the new wave rock of The Tubes may sound like a horrible idea on paper, but when you watched those worlds collide on stage it took two great songs and turned them into one. guess you could say this was my introduction to the mash-up.
Xanadu Fun Facts:
- The film was an unofficial remake of the 1947 film Down to Earth starring Rita Hayworth.
- John Wilson was inspired to create the Razzie Awards after catching Xanadu playing on a 99-cent double-feature with Can't Stop the Music.
- Andy Gibb was originally cast to play Sonny.
- Xanadu was Gene Kelly's last musical performance.