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A Chorus Line isn't a knock out but it's pretty entertaining. Sure it hits a few awkward notes (literally and metaphorically) but the casts charm makes up for it's weaker moments. The movies biggest flaw is that we don't get enough time with the entire cast so we feel a sense of disconnect with the characters as the movie comes to a close. None the less it still makes for a fun but flawed adaption of the stage show.
This musical film is based on the award-winning Broadway musical of the same name about a group of dancers auditioning to be part of a chorus line in a musical. Starring Michael Douglas as choreographer Zach, and featuring some of the best showtunes musical theatre has to offer. The highlights from of the film include "I Can Do That", "Dance Ten; Looks Three", and "What I Did For Love". A Chorus Line manages to be a stirring and fun musical film that's pretty entertaining thanks to the musical performances and songs.
I've only listened to a cast recording album of the 2006 Broadway revival of the musical. That's how I became acquainted with the show's music, but have not had the pleasure to see a production of the show live as of yet. Anyways, This film adaptation will have to hold me over until then. It stars Michael Douglas who plays Zach a choreographer who puts sixteen hopeful dancers through a demanding audition process where they display their personal stories through song and dance. The acting from Douglas and the rest of the cast are well done, especially with the musical performances.
The songs are quite fantastic, but did wish the film had included "Sing" from the stage version in the film. Although that's just my opinion on that, the film does feature most of the well known songs from the musical. Some of my favorites are the zappy "I Can Do That", "Dance ten; Looks three", and the heart rending "What I Did for Love". Even though the last song's original meaning was altered in the film to showcase Cassie's love interest, instead of her expressing gratitude in doing what she loves to do that being dancing. Other honorable mentions include, "At the Ballet", "One", and "I Hope I Get". It's an exhilarating musical film with plenty of memorable songs to spare.
Overall, I had a very good time watching this movie musical even though some of the songs from the stage version did not make the cut. However, the absorbing performances in the musical numbers from the cast make it worth watching. The songs are very good, and enthralling to listen to. It's an incredibly engaging musical drama film that's also highly entertaining at the same time.
The best movie song ever sung: One!
Richard Attenborough's film adaptation of the beloved Tony award-winning musical about dancers and their sob stories only perks up when the cast breaks into songs with music by Marvin Hamlisch and lyrics by Edward Kleban.
The classic 1975 Broadway hit A Chorus Line is has been a staple for generations of actors, dancers, performers, and arts enthusiasts. When a show gets as big as A Chorus Line did, what happens? They make it into a movie of course! Unfortunately, we all know that a lot is lost in adaptations from stage to film and these productions can end up being a total disaster, A Chorus Line is no exception.
Richard Attenborough's A Chorus Line is the story of veteran dancers who "need this job", auditioning for the ensemble of a Broadway show. The film has a large cast of very intricate characters, that aren't explored as much as they could be. The solidarity of the characters is discarded in favor of extra dance numbers abandoning many of the monologues and songs that really show us who these dancers are. The film also fashions the dead romantic plotline between Cassie (Alyson Reed) and Zach (Michael Douglas) into a much larger part of the story than it's supposed to be, eclipsing some of the more meaningful and interesting characters. The story is meant to show the people behind the resume and headshot, and the film does a subpar job at expressing this.
One simple change also ruined the delivery of the message of the show, giving Cassie What I Did For Love. In the original Broadway production, What I Did For Love is sung by all the dancers, lead by Diana (Yamil Borges) after Paul (Cameron English) hurts his leg and Zach asks the auditioning dancers "But if today were the day you had to stop dancing, how would you feel?" The song symbolizes their love of dancing and theatre and that they won't regret spending so much time working for it, and that that wasn't wasted time. They say that the "love is never gone" and it's a part of them that shaped how they are that they will cherish, which is one of the main messages the story tries to get across. In the film doesn't completely abandon this message, but the give the song to Cassie, and put it after she has a fight with Zach over why she left him at the end of One, and overtop the rest of the dancers doing The Tap Combination. After Paul injures himself in the film, Zach asks the question, but instead a couple dancers only merely respond with thin less meaningful responses.
The cast itself had a wide range of talents, they were of course all amazing dancers. The choreography was spectacular and the dancers were insanely talented. Unfortunately, many of the actors weren't actors, they were simply really good dancers, therefore the overall acting suffered heavily. Many of the auditioning dancers were emotionless and simply reading their lines. The worst performance aspect however, was the singing, the normally best part of a musical. A lot of the songs were spoke-sung and it was hard to listen to a lot of the singing, particularly Mike (Charles McGowan). However, Michael Douglas' performance was very captivating and interesting, seeing all the layers of the Zach.
Where the story and casting fall sickening and flat, the visuals that were created by Richard Attenborough make up for it. The transitions between shots during I Hope I Get it was timed so perfectly that it gave the scene itself it's own sort of musicality. The lighting of At The Ballet was particularly captivating, the transition of Sheila (Vicki Frederick) stepping out of the line into the black space, really let you focus on the story the character was telling in the moment without the distractions of a noisy background or unnecessary characters. Surprise! Surprise! had a great shot of Richie (Gregg Burge)'s side aerials across the row of mirrors, and Let Me Dance For You had a spectacular shot of Cassie dancing in front of the mirrors were all her reflections are shown. The lighting during the group part of One with all the circle spots gives it the great artificial feel that was intended to show Zach's view of ensembles. They also repeat a shot of the line of auditioning dancers after every number that it a great portrayal of the inhuman view of actors and dancers, view them as this plastic commodity.
Despite it's flaws this movie is still enjoyable to watch, simply to see all the dances and listen to the songs (even though some of the best songs are cut). It's a great film to watch with the family, when the kids are older however (ie. "tits and ass, get the bingo-bangos done"), I'd rate it PG-13. Overall, this is an enjoyably bad film.
A group of people all coming from different backgrounds with each their own sob story all audition for a chorus line with a director who cares, thought it doesn't seem so at first. Great musical numbers full of life and energy
For what it is--a slice-of-life of a group of people, trying to make the big-time and at least be able to say that they were on Broadway--it's a fine work. I admit I haven't seen the stage play--which many sources say is far superior to this filmic adaptation.
I'm rather surprised that: a) Michael Douglas gets star status here, or is even involved. He doesn't dance here. The film would have worked so much better if it showed his character showing some dance moves and getting across to the dancers what he wanted. Both his character would have connected better with the dancers, and he would have connected better with filmgoers; and b) that Lord Richard Attenborough got involved with this: It's definitely not his forte or cup of tea. Perhaps he wanted to expand his directorial palette, or that some of his influences were masters of the genre, such as Lubitsch or Minnelli. Personally, I wish I knew, for he has done much better work in his career.
Overall, not one of the better of contemporary (post-1970) musicals, but worth seeing once, if renting or seeing that it's coming on TV. Not a top purchase priority, unless you are a Douglas or Attenborough completest, and then prepare to be disappointed.
Who knew making a musical could be so dull? Filled with the all the horrendous hair and clothing fashions of the 1980's, "A Chorus Line" falls flat with poor acting and inept screenwriting. Although there is much admirable in the music, the 80's electo-orchestration is atrocious and there aren't strong enough voices to sing through the weaknesses. This ain't "off Broadway" -- it's just "off".
17 hopefuls are auditioning for 4 males and 4 females chorus roles. Each one of them were asked about why they wanted to be a dancer. Some stories were funny, some were heartbreaking but all of them needed this job.
The film adaptation focused way too much on the sub-plot of Zach and Cassie which made the film lost its magical touch of the stage version. it's still enjoyable to watch nonetheless.
It Begins With Great Energy, But Can't Keep It Going. The Middle Fades To An Overall Boring Picture. Unsurpringly, None Of The Main-Cast Went Onto Anything Else.