Absolute Beginners

Absolute Beginners

4.0 1
Director: Julien Temple

Cast: Eddie O'Connell, Patsy Kensit, David Bowie

     
 

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The rise of teen culture in 1950s Britain provides the backdrop for Julien Temple's unconventional rock musical Absolute Beginners. The film centers on Colin, an 18-year-old with a talent for photography and a fondness for the neon nightlife of British jazz clubs. He also is in love with Crepe Suzette, an impulsive, ambitious young beauty who abandons him afterSee more details below

Overview

The rise of teen culture in 1950s Britain provides the backdrop for Julien Temple's unconventional rock musical Absolute Beginners. The film centers on Colin, an 18-year-old with a talent for photography and a fondness for the neon nightlife of British jazz clubs. He also is in love with Crepe Suzette, an impulsive, ambitious young beauty who abandons him after attracting the attention of a powerful fashion designer. Depressed and aimless, Colin turns for help to a flashy ad executive (David Bowie) who promises to make him a star photographer. The former lovers take parallel paths to success, capitalizing on the youth mania gripping the nation. The film's nostalgic yet gently satirical look at teen culture is tempered by a recognition of the era's social tension, particularly a disturbing rise in racism. Despite these serious undertones, however, the film tells its story with a colorful vibrancy reminiscent of both MTV and old Hollywood musicals, filled with such show-stopping numbers as a memorable sequence in which Bowie dances on a giant typewriter. Critical reception was mixed, with some hailing the film's spectacular cinematography and ambitious scope, while others found the mixture of tones and style too inconsistent. The film also drew lukewarm response at the box office, with the memorable soundtrack receiving more attention than the film itself.

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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Michael Costello
Julien Temple's wildly stylized musical adaptation of Colin MacInnes' novel is a dazzling blend of music, dance, and visual effects, reminiscent of a two-hour video in the best sense. Set in the pre-swinging London of 1958, it centers on the tribulations of a young working-class photographer (Eddie O'Connell) anxious to impress a former girlfriend (Patsy Kensit) already moving up in the world. Evocative of the Minnelli and Gene Kelly musicals of the '50s, the film also reflects Vegas revues, with a visual style grounded in swooping crane movements and smoothly interlocking tracking shots which never seem to end. As it could be only in Temple's fantasy world, jazz is its lingua franca, with a coruscating patchwork score by the venerable Gil Evans that samples the music of Miles Davis, Charles Mingus, and other luminaries of the period. Given the limitations of O'Connell, Kensit, and the thin script, the film lags when the music stops and they're required to act, but most of the time the director uses them virtually as animatronic figures reacting in the simplest manner to the spectacle constantly spinning about them. In a film that touts the retro appeal of a martini and a smoke, David Bowie's Mephistophilean ad man is an emblem of its fascination with seductive surfaces.

Product Details

Release Date:
04/15/2003
UPC:
0883904130642
Original Release:
1986
Source:
Mgm (Video & Dvd)

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Eddie O'Connell Colin
Patsy Kensit Crepe Suzette
David Bowie Vendice Partners
James Fox Henley of Mayfair
Ray Davies Arthur
Steven Berkoff The Fanatic
Eve Ferret Big Jill
Anita Morris Dido Lament
Lionel Blair Harry Charms
Mandy Rice-Davies Mum
Tenpole Tudor Ed the Ted
Tony Hippolyte Mr. Cool
Chris Pitt Baby Boom
Paul Rhys Dean Swift
Julian Firth The Misery Kid
Ronald Fraser Amberly Drove
Irene Handl Mrs. Larkin
Sylvia Syms Cynthia Eve
Peter-Hugo Daly Vern
Johnny Shannon Saltzman
Amanda Jane Powell Dorita
Robbie Coltrane Mario
Susie Figgis Actor
G.B. Zoot
Joe McKenna Fabulous Hoplite
Mary Selway Actor
Zoot Money Chez Nobody Barman
Graham Fletcher-Cook Wizard
Sade Athene Duncannon
Bruce Payne Flicker
Alan Freeman Call-Me-Cobber
Gary Beadle Johnny Wonder
Jess Conrad Cappuccino Man
Smiley Culture D.J. Entertainer
Slim Gaillard Party Singer
Ekow Abban Santa Lucia Club Owner
Robert Austin Slim Brother
Gerry Alexander Ton-Up Vicar
Jim Dunk Slim Brother
Johnny Edge Trader Horn
Carmen Ejogo Carmen
Paul Fairminer Eddie Sex
Hugo First Maltese Lodger
Pat Hartley Ms. Cool, Sr.
Astley Harvey Mr. Cool, Sr.
Colin Jeavons Pamphleteer
Alfred Maron Bert the Tailor
Sandie Shaw Baby Boom's Mum
Bruno Tonioli Maltese Lodger

Technical Credits
Julien Temple Director,Songwriter
Ekow Abban Songwriter
Laurie Aitken Songwriter
Edward Barber Songwriter
John Beard Production Designer
Richard Bedford Editor
Sue Blane Costumes/Costume Designer
David Bowie Songwriter
Michael Bradsell Editor
Chris Brown Producer
Richard Burridge Screenwriter
J. Burton Songwriter
Al Clark Executive Producer
Smiley Culture Songwriter
Jerry Dammers Songwriter
David John & the Mood Sound/Sound Designer
Raymond Douglas Davies Songwriter
Miles Davis Songwriter
Gil Evans Musical Arrangement
Peter Frampton Makeup
Slim Gaillard Songwriter
Gerry Hambling Editor
Patsy Kensit Songwriter
Clive Langer Songwriter
Simon R. Lewis Songwriter
Russell Lloyd Editor
Nick Lowe Songwriter
Don MacPherson Screenwriter
Franco Migliacci Songwriter
Domenico Modungno Songwriter
Angela Morley Songwriter
Robert Palmer Songwriter
David Perry Costumes/Costume Designer
Nik Powell Executive Producer
Beatrice Reading Songwriter
Stuart Rose Art Director
Sade Songwriter
Oliver Stapleton Cinematographer
David Toguri Choreography
Edward Tudor-Pole Songwriter
Paul Weller Songwriter
Ken Wheatley Art Director
Christopher Wicking Screenwriter
David Wimbury Associate Producer
Joanne Woollard Set Decoration/Design
Stephen Woolley Producer
Jacqueline Young Songwriter

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