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Behind the Burly Q -- Behind the Burly Q reveals the true story of burlesque, even as it experiences a new renaissance.


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1 nomination See more »
(16 articles)
Bound By Flesh
 (From Leonard Maltin's Movie Crazy. 26 June 2014, 9:00 PM, PDT)

Documentarian Leslie Zemeckis Points Lens at Conjoined Hilton Sisters
 (From Variety - Film News. 26 June 2014, 10:00 AM, PDT)

Exclusive Clip Bound by Flesh
 (From Dread Central. 26 June 2014, 10:00 AM, PDT)

User Reviews:
Tasties and pasties See more (3 total) »



Bud Abbott ... Himself (archive footage)

Alan Alda ... Himself
Joan Arline ... Herself - 'The Sexquire Girl'
Beverly Arlynne ... Herself
Al Baker Jr. ... Himself - Son of Al Baker Sr.
Nat Bodian ... Himself - Historian

Ron Bottitta ... Character Voices
Maria Bradley ... Herself
Sherry Britton ... Herself (archive footage)
Carmela ... Herself
Walt Collins ... Himself - Son of Lee Stuart
Chris Costello ... Herself - Daughter of Lou Costello

Lou Costello ... Himself (archive footage)
Candy Cotton ... Herself
Ricki Covette ... Herself
Janet M. Davis ... Author
Kelly Dinardo ... Herself

Dixie Evans ... Herself
Sid Fields ... Himelf (archive footage)
White Fury ... Herself
Rita Grable ... Herself
Alexandra the Great '48 ... Herself
Leroy C. Griffith ... Himself - Theater Owner
The Hilton Sisters ... Themselves (archive footage)
Mike Iannucci ... Himself - Husband of Ann Corio
Helen Imbugia ... Herself - Daughter of 'Bingo' Bingler
Sara Jacobs ... Herself - Curator, Museum of Sex
Dee Ann Johnston ... Herself - Daughter of Rod Johnston
David Kruh ... Himself - Author
Rose La Rose ... Herself (archive footage)
Daphne Lake ... Herself
June Lee ... Herself
Lorraine Lee ... Herself
April March ... Herself

Amber Gainey Meade ... Actress (voice)
Lady Midnight ... Herself
Tony Midnite ... Himself
Terry Mixon ... Herself
Carole Nelson ... Herself - Neice of Ann Corio
Vicki O'Day ... Herself
Taffy O'Neil ... Herself
Dardy Orlando ... Herself
John Perilli ... Himself - Musician

Sally Rand ... Herself (archive footage)
Sean Rand ... Himself - Son of Sally Rand
T.T. Red ... Herself
Mimi Reed ... Herself
Lily Ann Rose ... Herself
Kathleen Ross ... Herself - Sister of Margie Hart

Betty Rowland ... Herself
La Savona ... Herself
Cyrese Sciandra ... Herself - Daughter of April March
Sequin ... Herself
Rachel Shteir ... Herself, Author
Barry Siegfried ... Himself - Son of Mara Gaye
Janet Sovey ... Herself

Lili St. Cyr ... Herself (archive footage)

Blaze Starr ... Herself (also archive footage)
Edward Allen Stewart ... Himself

Tempest Storm ... Herself
Lee Stuart ... Himself
Joni Taylor ... Herself
Val Valentine ... Herself
Renald von Muchow ... Himself
Susan Weis ... Herself - Niece of Sally Keith
Kitty West ... Herself

Directed by
Leslie Zemeckis 
Writing credits
(in alphabetical order)
Leslie Zemeckis 

Produced by
Donnalee Austen .... associate producer
Sheri Hellard .... producer
Jackie Levine .... producer
Leslie Zemeckis .... producer
Robert Zemeckis .... executive producer
Original Music by
Phil Marshall 
Film Editing by
Evan Finn 
Makeup Department
Sara Chameides .... makeup artist for Ms. Zemeckis and Ms. Hellard
Sound Department
Thomas Giordano .... 2nd boom operator (as Tom Giordano)
William B. Kaplan .... sound mixer
Cary Weitz .... 1st boom operator
Visual Effects by
Matthew A. Ward .... title design
Camera and Electrical Department
C.B. Bissell .... additional photography
Sheri Hellard .... director of photography
Editorial Department
Fabienne Rawley .... additional editing
Demetrios Skodras .... editorial assistant (as Demetrios 'Jimmy' Skodras)
David Joshua Smith .... colorist (as David J. Smith)
Music Department
Lisa Bauman-Wasiak .... music clearance
Marylou Eales .... music coordinator
William Pearson .... music recordist (as Bill Pearson)
Joel Sill .... executive music producer
Other crew
Shyam Balsé .... research
Bob Betha .... collections from
Chris Browne .... research
Ted F. Gerdes .... legal services
Robert Johnston Jr. .... collections from
Dee Ann Johnston .... collections from
David Krum .... collections from
Ryan Lasky .... research
Ryan Lasky .... researcher
Sean Rand .... collections from
T.T. Red .... collections from
Will Sherrod .... research
Barry Siegfried .... collections from
David J. Smith .... colorist
Ian Stokes .... research
Lee Stuart .... collections from
Val Valentine .... collections from
Steve Weinstein .... collections
Susan Weise .... collections
Leslie Zemeckis .... collections from
Anne Azzarti .... special thanks
Steve Boyd .... special thanks
Ryan Chan .... special thanks
Doug Chiang .... special thanks
Dorothy Coleman .... very special thank you
Loomis Dean .... special thanks
John Dominis .... special thanks
R. Orlando Duenas .... special thanks (as Orlando Duenas)
Rolf Fleischmann .... special thanks
David Jackal .... special thanks
Joe Mazzone .... special thanks
Lilia Rocha .... special thanks
Betty Jane Rose .... special thanks
Steve Starkey .... special thanks
Fred Traube .... special thanks
Rosanie Valeriano .... special thanks
Mike Wallace .... special thanks
Angela Rose White .... special thanks
Mary Yates .... special thanks (as Mary Walace)

Production CompaniesDistributorsOther Companies

Additional Details

USA:97 min
Filming Locations:

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20 out of 27 people found the following review useful.
Tasties and pasties, 23 April 2010
Author: F Gwynplaine MacIntyre from Minffordd, North Wales

I enjoyed almost everything about this delightful documentary except its title: I've never encountered an actual human being who mispronounces the word 'burlesque' as 'Burly Q' or 'burleycue', and I don't know why fictional characters (such as Will Parker in the musical 'Oklahoma!') keep using this mispronunciation.

Despite that titular development, 'Behind the Burly Q' offers some rare and titillating footage from the days of old-time burlesque: Stateside only, though. I wish there had been at least a mention of London's legendary Windmill Theatre.

An impressive number of veteran strippers are interviewed here, offering their memories. Also on hand are Lou Costello's daughter, and Alan Alda. He's introduced here as "son of Robert Alda", and only later is it established that the senior Alda was a small-time burlesque comedian and singer. I wish that this documentary had mentioned that Robert Alda later had a more prestigious career in Hollywood films and Broadway musicals. Alan Alda offers some candid memories of his childhood as the son of a burlesque performer, including a nice anecdote about his sibling rivalry with a pig.

I was fascinated by much of the material here, including descriptions of how the strippers had to vary their striptease to satisfy local ordinances. For instance, in Green Bay, Wisconsin it was unlawful to remove clothing onstage, so the strippers had to duck into the wings to remove each garment, then come back onstage without it. Allegedly, audiences in Indianapolis were especially notorious for their obsession with the strippers' mammary endowments. (Surely this was the case in every other venue as well?)

Some legendary strippers who have made their exit and gone to that great Gazeeka Box in the sky are recalled here, including Lili St Cyr, Ann Corio and Gypsy Rose Lee. Sadly, nobody here has a kind word for Gypsy.

One stripper recounts the tragic story of the death of Lou Costello's infant son, but she implies that Costello was performing with her in burlesque at the time. In fact, he and Bud Abbott were starring in a radio series, and Costello made his scheduled radio broadcast that night despite his loss. This documentary includes a clip from a cross-talk comedy routine between Costello and the unjustly forgotten comedian Sidney Fields. I was disappointed that the clip shown here builds to the routine's punchline but then omits the punchline. American comedian Sidney Fields (no relation to English comedian Sid Field) spent much of his career writing comedy material for other performers, including Jackie Gleason. Also seen here, far too briefly, is burlesque comedian Pinky Lee in a minuscule clip from his 1950s kiddy show.

There's a brief mention of Costello's friend and fellow burlesque comic Rags Ragland. I wish that this documentary had told the hilarious true story about the occasion when an angry gun-toting stripper chased Ragland across the stage during Costello's "Crazy House" routine, and the audience thought it was part of the act!

I was very pleased that this documentary gives tribute to Bud Abbott's splendid timing as Costello's straight man, and I wish that more footage of Abbott had been included.

This documentary very briefly touches upon two lesser-known aspects of burlesque: the female impersonators and the strippers who were Negro or Oriental. I wish that a bit more information had been given here.

One stripper mentions that she dated John F Kennedy, while another recalls working in Jack Ruby's strip joint at the time of Kennedy's assassination.

These strippers certainly earned their money; they were worked hard, many of them came from abusive backgrounds and several were in abusive relationships while performing. At least they made more money taking off their clothes than they would have made in more conventional professions.

'Behind the Burly Q' is a delight: a documentary that's entertaining while also being informative. I was pleased that this movie verified something I've been asserting for years: namely, that early burlesque was family entertainment, with an absolute embargo on 'blue' material, and that the form only gradually moved raunchwards.

I'll rate 'Behind the Burly Q' 9 out of 10. Run all the way to Floogle Street to see it, and bring the top banana. Better yet: meet me round the corner in a half an hour!

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