The movie Fame (1980) is aptly titled as it follows students at New York's School for the Performing Arts in their quest for fame in one of the most show business oriented cities in the world. This movie is director Alan Parker's first ever to shoot in the US. Parker, in a letter to all cast members, describes why he sees this subject as being important: that the school's geographic location reminds the students both of the great successes to be had on the Great White Way, and the schlock, as he calls it, that populates 42nd Street. He believes that there is a fine line between success and failure in this world. Parker is also intrigued by the motivations behind what makes people, especially young people, want to perform. Individuals within the ensemble cast describe their own characters in the movie. Although there are several performances in the movie, the movie has a certain grounding, most specifically represented by the character of the English teacher, Mrs. Sherwood, played by ... Written by
In the 1970s and 1980s companies stopped making just short trailers for movies. To bring in irregular film goers and to puff up the importance of likely blockbusters, they made one-reel pictures about the pictures, basically "Making of" features. For MGM the umbrella title was 'On Location with' and this one is about FAME, the Alan Parker musical drama that, along with Saturday NIGHT FEVER, briefly redefined and revived the movie musical.
It didn't take, of course and the whole thing collapsed with Steven Bochco's disastrous TV series COP ROCK. Today in 2012 the corpse occasionally twitches and we get a film version of a Broadway stage musical, usually with the stage choreography annoyingly unchanged for the movie screen. That's the subtext of this short subject: it's not about the aspiration of making a musical about kids who desire to be performers. It's about giving them and the audience musicals. One should applaud the effort if not the result.
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