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A pop singer has been receiving threatening notes, and her manager hires a bodyguard known for his good work. The bodyguard ruffles the singer's feathers and most of her entourage by tightening security more than they feel is necessary. The bodyguard is haunted by the fact that he was on Reagan's secret service staff but wasn't there to prevent the attack by Hinckley. Eventually the bodyguard and the singer start an affair, and she begins to believe his precautions are necessary when the stalker strikes close to home. Written by
Ed Sutton <email@example.com>
I was interested to note from your "Trivia" page that it was originally intended to make this film in the seventies with Steve McQueen and Diana Ross in the leading roles, but that the film never got made because it was "too controversial". The cause of the controversy was presumably the mixed-race love-affair between Frank and Rachel, as there is little else in the script that might upset anyone. The story centres around Frank Farmer, a former Secret Service agent now working as a private bodyguard. He is hired by Rachel Marron, an African-American pop star, who has been receiving death threats, presumed to come from a mad stalker. Frank's obsessive concern with security initially alienates both Rachel and some of the other members of her entourage, but, after a number of misunderstandings, he becomes first her friend and then her lover. He, however, is unhappy about becoming emotionally involved with a client and ends the affair. He would also like to end his employment with Rachel, but she is becoming genuinely frightened for her own safety, and he agrees to stay on to protect her when it is clear that she is in danger from an unexpected source.
When I first saw this film in the cinema I disliked it. I was a great admirer of Kevin Costner's performance in "Dances with Wolves", and I went to see "The Bodyguard" in the hope that it would be a film of similar scope and vision. Of course, it isn't, but then it was never intended to be. Having seen it again recently on television, I was rather more impressed than I had been the first time. There is a respectable performance from Costner as Frank, a man who on the surface seems cold and detached but who hides his emotions under the surface- not only his love for Rachel, but also his feelings of guilt stemming from the assassination attempt on President Reagan in 1981. Frank was not on duty at the time- in fact, he was attending his mother's funeral- but he cannot escape from the thought that, if he had been present, he could have prevented the President from being shot.
Whitney Houston is a beautiful woman, with a beautiful voice which was shown off to good advantage in this film. Her rendition of "I Will Always Love You" is one of the most haunting ballads I know, far superior to the Dolly Parton original. Her character is supposed to be an actress as well as a singer- the finale actually takes place as she receives a "Best Actress" award at the Oscars. Unfortunately, it seems unlikely that Whitney will ever emulate her alter ego in this respect, as her acting is certainly not in the same class as her voice. She seems to have too small an emotional range, and it is no surprise that her subsequent film career has been so patchy. "The Bodyguard" is a perfectly adequate thriller-romance, if at times too slow-moving, but I felt that it might have been better with a more commanding female lead. 6/10
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