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Dancin' Thru the Dark
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Reviews & Ratings for
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9 out of 9 people found the following review useful:

A typical night out...!

8/10
Author: 03077454 from United Kingdom
17 January 2005

Based on Russell's play 'Stags & Hens' the screen version captures the essence of the traditional British pre-wedding celebrations. Linda & Dave are made for each other and are waiting for their fairy-tale wedding day so they can spend the rest of their lives together. From Linda leaving the factory she works in to Dave & the boys visiting the local Indian restaurant and taking advice about not mixing their drinks, Russell's portrayal of the Liverpudlian working classes is perfect! Pulling on your heartstrings from every possible angle, this film follows Linda's journey of self discovery...is there anything better beyond the Mersey? With a catchy sound track and brilliant performances throughout, this is definitely one to watch. A treat for any Willy Russell fan!

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10 out of 11 people found the following review useful:

Stunning, yet unappreciated...

10/10
Author: Stacey Woods from Dorset, UK
24 August 2004

I love Dancin' Thru The Dark and have done since I saw it on the BBC several years ago.

It's hard to pinpoint what I like best about it, but I think a lot of it comes from the brilliant and funny script, the excellent choice of unknowns to play the leads and the atmosphere of the whole thing - I think we all know local dives like Bransky's!

The soundtrack also stands out for me, with three excellent songs written by Willy Russell and sung by Con O'Neill (So Many People, Shoe Shine, Dancin' Thru The Dark) who shows a considerable musical talent.

All in all, I'd watch this movie all day and wish it was more widely available on DVD - if only to let more people see Bernie stick her foot in the men's toilet!

A Classic - 5 out of 5!!

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7 out of 7 people found the following review useful:

interest in location

Author: julie bradley from United Kingdom
6 September 2009

dancin thru the dark is one of my favourite films. I love the grittiness of the way Liverpool is portrayed. The characters are really believable. Mark womaks character is very well acted. Con o'neills character is so lovely.I would love to know more about the exact locations of the club and the Italian restaurant used in the film.I'd love to visit where they were filmed as i go to Liverpool sometimes. i am a huge fan of all of Willy Russell's films and plays. he's a fantastic writer.I love Shirley valentine the most. Pauline Collins portrayal of Shirley is amazing, she brings such a feeling of warmth and realism and humour to the character. I feel that Julie Walters character in Educating Rita is portrayed by her with such compassion. You really feel for her as she try's to better her life to a one she knows she is capable of achieving. All his writing appears to show his leads desperately want more from their lives than they appear to be getting.They all feel there has to be more!

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7 out of 7 people found the following review useful:

A stags and hens night to remember

9/10
Author: gray4 from Somerset, England
21 December 2003

A beautiful film, which captures the sadness, squalor and decay of post-Beatles Liverpool and the wasted young lives of those growing up there. It is a sort-of musical comedy, with a superb ensemble of well-rounded characters, all desperate in their different ways, with talents and flaws. Even Mark Womack as Eddie is not a mere stage villain, but rather an embittered and unstable but loyal friend.

The theme is simple - leaving home - and the execution brilliant. The early scenes, as a London rock group encounters the horrors of run-down Liverpool - predatory kids and a hostile pub - are hilarious. The theatrical origins of the film are retained with the most dramatic scenes staged in the ladies' and gents' toilets of a down-town disco. The plot is so straightforward as to be trite, but the writing (by Willy Russell from his stage play), the energetic direction by Mike Ockrent and the vitality of the performances make this a film to remember.

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8 out of 9 people found the following review useful:

A gem of a film

9/10
Author: (nrho@actcom.co.il) from Israel
1 January 2008

The only reason I give it a 9 is because of the lighting. It's so dark on the set that half the time I had trouble keeping track of the characters. Otherwise, I loved this oh-so-believable winking slice of working-class life. I have a couple of questions for other viewers: 1. I don't recall actually seeing the much-commented-upon boots that Peter is wearing. Did anyone? 2. I also don't recall the name of Peter's band ever being mentioned. Is this correct?

Also, when Linda's friends try to convince her to leave because it's bad luck for her to see her groom the night before the wedding, I'm surprised she didn't suggest that _he_ leave, not her.

I also was impressed with the building tension that climaxed in the two bathrooms (Ladies and Gents respectively). A Russell masterpiece.

Anyone else in love with Con O'Neill? I adore Blood Brothers too!!!

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6 out of 7 people found the following review useful:

A slice of reality littered with comedy!

10/10
Author: kneecap from Manchester, England
24 July 1999

True love overcomes in this brilliant film based on Willy Russell's play "Stags And Hens." Set in the pubs and clubs of Liverpool, a bride-to-be, her fiance and her ex-boyfriend are the main ingredients in a dry comedy where the dialogue is sharp and funny and the drama is surprisingly absorbing. Excellent casting with Con O'Neil and Claire Hackett performing superbly in the lead roles. The soundtrack is quite good too.

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5 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

Do you know what an ambiance is?

10/10
Author: jbrown28 from United Kingdom
8 June 2006

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Who wouldn't want to get the offer of a lift with Peter McGeegan?! Much of the plot is so typical of the hen nights we've been on, excluding the dishy ex maybe, but the character and plot are all too easy to relate to.

There are so many great scenes like in the pub being made to play for the crowd, only to have a hostile Willy Russell having a pint tipped over him after Peter proving his worth.

Or during the sound check with the manager of Branskys screaming he wants to create an ambiance, "do you know what an ambiance is, and it's not something they take you to hospital in" as he disappears into a cloud of ambiance inducing dry ice! I'm fortunate to have got the soundtrack as well, which must really please the neighbours! But I do so regret when meeting Con O'Neill not checking out his footwear just to use Bernies' line "they're nice boots, bet you can't get them off in a hurry!" just to see his reaction.

A definite good time film that never fails to bring a smile to my face.

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4 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

Peer Group Pressure in Action

9/10
Author: loza-1
27 February 2007

Dancin' Thru The Dark This is based on Willy Russell's play "Stags and Hens".

Linda is an intelligent girl who is getting married the following day. She and her friends go on a hen night, while at the same time her simpleton of a fiancé is having his stag night. They all end up at a club where there is a rock band from London playing. The rock band is fronted by Linda's ex-boyfriend...

For those of us who come from humble origins and have escaped to loftier heights, we notice that there are really no powers from on high that press the lower classes to keep them in their place. There is no need for that: the lower classes keep themselves in place. Willy Russell has observed what I have observed. Anyone who tries to break the class barrier is held back by an intense amount of peer group pressure. And we see it in action in this film - in all its sordid detail. Willy Russell returns to this theme again and again in his works, and it is also the linchpin of his better-known "Educating Rita." There are a few scenes - such as the stags and hens pairing off far too quickly - which are a little unreal, which is why I have given it 9 instead of 10. Otherwise this film captures the social scenes it portrays exceedingly well.

Willy Russell himself appears as a bitter piece of work who challenges the rock band's guitarist and bass player to play some "real music," and gets a beer inside his trousers for his pains.

I have seen many stage plays mutilated by film makers. If anything, in this case. the original stage play is enhanced as a photoplay, but perhaps not enhanced enough: it still has the claustrophobia of the stage in places; and I doubt it was left like that to display the claustrophobia of a lower class existence.

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The memory of this film has lasted since the 90's

9/10
Author: John Webb from Worcester, England
8 April 2017

I am reflective of the age of the cast in this movie and saw it when it came out and it really hit the mark with me. Many of the actors in it have had pretty solid careers on TV but I am amazed that at least some of them like Con O'Neil never really hit the big time. Suffice to say if you are a Generation X'er like myself and have not seen this film I advice you to give it a go next time it is on the TV it really takes you back to pub and club life and the pro's and cons of life back then for working class men and women.

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3 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

Wonderful early 90's snapshot of nightlife

Author: steve-barry-1 from Isle of Wight, England
27 August 2005

Dancin' through the Dark is a favourite nostalgia film about nightlife in the pre-britpop 90's. Nightclubs playing the most awful music, live here-today-gone-tomorrow bands, and a flotsam of characters who are obviously the fore-runners of today's Chavs.

We meet Dave, out on his stag night, soon to be almost comatose with drink, accompanied by his loyal mates, oh and some total animal who's idea of a good night out is a fight and a sh*g. His bride-to-be is having second thoughts, which are only intensified by the reappearance of a former beau who has made it big in the music industry and co-incidentally is appearing in the nightclub where she is enjoying her hen night.

To complicate issues further, Dave is also in the nightclub (throwing up in the toilet - a place he occupies for most of the rest of the film) causing mayhem amongst the Hen party who feel very bad ramifications will result if they meet prior to the nuptials.

I won't spoil the ending, but rest assured, the path of true love does not run smoothly, neither does a scouser scorned take betrayal lightly.

Favourite quote:

Man Dancing: Do you want to come back to my place tonight? Hen night girl: What for? Man Dancing: A F**k and a pizza. (Pause - music still playing and everyone dancing) Hen night girl: Is it a wholemeal pizza? (Man dancing is taken aback)

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