1980s cult musical with a stellar cast
and a wonderful 1950s period feel, Absolute Beginners has terrific dance
sequences, tackles serious issues of
the times and features the wonderful,
much-missed, late David Bowie...
COMEDY COMBINED WITH DRAMA, superb dance sequences and a love story,
the cult musical from the Eighties Absolute Beginners is absolutely spectacular;
set against the backdrop of teen culture and rising racial tensions in London
in the late 1950s London, just before the Swinging Sixties heralded the emergence
of the rebellious "young generation" and the yearning for peace.
The Fifties was a time of change, throwing off the shackles of a world war for
a new kind of freedom, expressed in the enthusiastic dance routines of Absolute
Beginners, the memorable music, songs and all that jazz; expertly put together
with fascinating characters.
brims over with
fascinating choreography, fabulous
music, high drama,
outstanding sets while
off the wall...
decade saw the birth of "popular" music and a youthful King of Rock Elvis Presley
(established in the mid-Fifties) paved the way for such illustrious British
stars as Cliff Richard (established in 1958), the late Billy Fury, The Dave
Clark Five, The Hollies and The Kinks.
Absolute Beginners sees struggling young photographer Colin (Eddie O'Connell:
Sexy Beast) trying to make it in a changing world. He is in love with "Crepe"
Suzette (Patsy Kensit: Grace Of My Heart), a ruthlessly ambitious young
woman who leaves him for Paris in pursuit of a career in fashion, straight into
the arms of the older, wealthy and successful Henley of Mayfair (James Fox:
The seeds are sown for the UK's multicultural society and some, such as Colin
and Suzette, welcomed and befriended the newcomers, who brought with them an
exotic allure and a talent for dancing and music; others were prejudiced and
violent, sparking riots as reflected in the serious side of Absolute Beginners.
Colin lives in a rundown area of East London and meets Suzette at a club where
their friend, musician Mr Cool (Tony Hippolyte), works. Colin's mother (Mandy
Rice-Davies) lives in Pimlico, where she and his father Arthur (Ray Davies,
lead singer of The Kinks) have a large house with lodgers including a
Maltese lothario (an interesting character well played by Bruno Tonioli). In
the garden there is a relic from the war days: a corrugated iron Anderson shelter
Colin uses as a dark room.
After Suzette leaves Colin he comes to the notice of Vendice Partners (David
Bowie), a slick and suave advertising man who promises to get him noticed. He
also meets Harry Charms (Lionel Blair) and the recently-discovered youthful
singer "Baby" Boom (Chris Pitt), who is encouraged in his ambitions by his pushy
mother (lovely to see Sandie Shaw).
Highly visual and stunningly-shot, Absolute Beginners brims over with
marvellous choreography, fabulous music, high drama, nostalgia and outstanding
sets while being somewhat off the wall.
Note the cute little yellow Bubble car, Fifties fashion and the Persil ad from
the era. If you like wacky musicals with dancing and the 50s style, this is
absolutely for you. An outstanding soundtrack includes input from: Ray Davies,
The Style Council, Sade, Jerry Dammers, Slim Gaillard, Gill Evans, Working Week
and, of course, David Bowie.
The stellar cast showcasing their talent goes on forever: Zoot Money as the
Chez Nobody Barman; the lovely Jess Conrad as The Cappuccino Man; Irene Handle
as Mrs Larkin; Sylvia Syms as Cynthia Eve; Ronald Fraser as Amberley; Colin
Jeavons as The Pamphleteer; Robbie Coltrane as Mario; Eric Sykes as Arcade Intendant;
Alan "Poppickers" Freeman as Call-Me-Cobber; and Sade Adu as Athene Duncannon.
Also noteworthy are: Julian Firth as The Misery Kid; Paul Rhys as Dean Smith;
Eve Ferret as Big Jill; Anita Morris as Dido Lament; Edward Tudor-Pole (Tenpole
Tudor) as Ed the Ted; Bruce Payne as Flikker; and Joe McKenna as Fabulous Hoplite.
Music Arranged and Conducted by Gil Evans; Music Produced by Clive Langer and
Alan Winstanley; Director of Photographer is Oliver Stapleton; Choreographer
is David Toguri; Screenplay is by Christopher Wicking, Richard Burridge and
Don Macpherson based on Colin Macinnes' novel; Produced by Stephen Woolley and
Chris Brown; and Directed by Julien Temple (The Filth and the Fury).
as one of the most ambitious home-grown productions of the 1980s, the lavish
musical adaptation of Absolute Beginners celebrates its 30th anniversary
with a brand new restoration and the first ever UK Blu-ray release, courtesy
of Second Sight, on 25 July 2016. Certificate 15 | Blu-ray: Running Time 107
Minutes Approximately; Catalogue Number 2NDBR4055; RRP £19.99 | DVD: Running
Time 103 Minutes Approximately; Catalogue Number 2NDVD3296; RRP: £15.99.
Bonus Features Absolute Ambition: A Newly Produced 53-Minute Documentary,
Featuring Interviews with Julien Temple, Stephen Woolley, Nik Powell, Oliver
Stapleton, John Beard, Ted Tudor Pole and Eddie O'Connell.
"Highly visual and stunningly-shot, Absolute Beginners brims over with
fascinating choreography, fabulous music, high drama, nostalgia and outstanding
sets while being somewhat off the wall" ~ Maggie Woods
"Moviemaking on a grand scale… a style bible to aspiring mod revivalists and
the like" ~ The Quietus