Directed by Lewis Gilbert, starring Liza Minnelli, written by Richard Harris and based on a play also written by Harris. Minnelli plays the role of a has-been Broadway performer who gives tap lesson to a group of misfits.
This is a musical-comedy movie produced and directed by Lewis Gilbert, starring Liza Minnelli, written by Richard Harris, and based on a play also written by Harris. Minnelli plays the role of a has-been Broadway performer who gives tap lesson to a group of misfits who, through their dance classes, bond and realize what they can achieve.
Bev Mahon, the well-known (in movie circles) owner of the equally well-known Varsity Theatre in Des Moines, Iowa, was so interested in booking this movie, he began negotiations with Paramount Pictures in March 1991, as this movie was originally slated to open the next month. When the movie came and went in October 1991, Mahon stuck to his guns and booked it for his Christmas release that year. With his customary, individualized, savvy marketing (Mahon used only portions of Paramount's ad campaign and essentially wrote his own), the movie was a surprise smash at the Varsity, where it eventually ran for an incredible ten weeks. Mahon wanted to run it indefinitely (he ran Doctor Zhivago (1965) for fifty weeks), but Paramount needed his print for another engagement. Since Paramount had only made eight prints of this movie, Mahon had no choice but to end the engagement, but Mahon was able to coerce the studio to allow him to keep this movie for a final two weeks, since it had done so well, which he promoted quite heavily. You can see Mahons' savvy ad campaign on the Varsity website (google Varsity Theatre Des Moines) if you go to the website's "History" page and click on "newspaper ads", scroll down to the bottom of the page under the "Enchanted April" ad, and click on "More Newspaper ads and the 'Stepping Out' story. The story is a fascinating example of what might have happened to this movie if Paramount had gotten behind it intelligently. It's also a rather sad story, as Liza Minnelli, as of December 2014, has never made another major Hollywood movie, much less a musical one, which, it must be said, is everyone's loss. Still, the ten-week, well-attended engagement at the Varsity does exist as some of vindication for this overlooked gem, a fabulous mash-up of Rocky (1976) and "A Chorus Line". See more »
This must have been a left over script that Judy turned down, so they dusted it off and gave it to Liza instead. Typical Garland/Rooney story, where a dance troop decides to put on a show, in this case, for a charity. This movie isn't bad, but it gets off to a slow start, and finally becomes entertaining at the end. Of course there are a few dance numbers thrown in for Liza to demonstrate that she can still sing and dance in 1991! She looked too thin, and her complexion wasn't healthy looking. Knowing what we know now, you can probably guess what was up with her looks. The rest of the cast is okay, but I wouldn't want to spend any more time with them. The secondary players weren't that compelling, nor for that mater, was Liza's character.
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