Exquisite 20 minute short depicting the life of and in a 'variety nightclub' in Sydney. The room herself narrates the film and tells her story as a meeting and entertainment focus for gangsters, showgirls, crummy musical acts and exotic everything. The actual location was the LES GIRLS drag club which had closed in the mid 90s and was - on Sunday nights only - simply Sydney's best ever late 20th century nightclub. They called it THE TENDER TRAP and the film THE SAPPHIRE ROOM is a re-imagining of the LES GIRLS nights with the sort of nightclub one would see in 60s films like THE WORLD OF SUZIE WONG, FLOWER DRUM SONG, VIVA LAS VEGAS or any early JAMES BOND film. Fashioned, themed and operated by DJ and entrepreneur Sean O'Brien and his film maker friend Robert Herbert, it was so atmospherically exact that it was an irresistible lure once a week to crowds who would scour second hand stores for formal 60s wear and religiously attend thus adding to what I can only describe as genuine time travel back to 1963. You had to pinch yourself repeatedly because the feeling of the period never left you for hours and hours. The resourced real - time music was exact too. On-stage was slickly produced variety acts of the era...Polynesian dancers, suave black comedians, fire eaters, Phillis Diller lookalikes, bongo groups, Shirelles girls, everything imaginable that was as close to the real thing. It was quite a shock to leave and re enter 1996. Well THE SAPPHIRE ROOM is a 20 minute glimpse into this world. It was an unforgettable experience and this featurette is as close to what we experienced as you could hope for. Incredibly, in real life, the greedy building owner evicted Sean and Robert and 'took over' the Sunday nights with himself and friends trying to copy the format. Nobody would work for them and the crowd was aghast. So they demolished the building and erected a sleazy bar complex on three levels. THE SAPPHIRE ROOM was released in one ailing Sydney cinema with a 50 minute movie about the Mod scene. However it was a film fest favorite. You will probably never see it, but boy it's a charming film about an extraordinary brief real life moment created weekly for a year or so by real film making talent. The 2002 Sydney crime film DIRTY DEEDS set in 1969 in the same real streets is a close counterpart for style and substance. It stars Sam Worthington, Toni Collette and US heavyweight John Goodman. It too is an excellent glimpse into the swingin Sydney nightclub crime era of the 1960s. The SAPPHIRE ROOM was produced by rising talent Vince Sheehan who recently won an Australian Film Industry award for co producing Cate Blanchett's 2005 film LITTLE FISH.
0 of 0 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?