When looking at adaptations and translations, it’s easy to see why some work and some don’t. It really is all abut the medium, stage, screen, book etc… and taking the essence of the piece and praying for the magic to hit.
A Chorus Line has been remastered and released on blu-ray. The musical which ran for over a decade and spawned touring companies, high school musical versions and one of the most memorable soundtracks in history.
The premise is simple, a line up of dancers is auditioning for the chance to join a musical. Led by a tyrannical director, Zach (Michael Douglas) each of the hopefuls are led through a series of conversations and songs about who they are, what they want, fears, hopes, dreams, etc…
The Chorus Line is intercut by Cassie (Alyson Reed), who is a former lead dancer who hasn’t worked in over a year and is trying to find a job. She used to date Zach and really needs a job. He doesn’t want to see her but she persists and eventually joins the chorus herself.
It’s a simple premise and on stage it sparkles. I remember seeing the play during a touring production at my hometown and as a young kid, I remember being very taken by the pure simplicity of it. It was a lineup of people talking, that’s it.
On film, it’s very difficult to try and capture that magic. When A Chorus Line was originally released it wasn’t loved by the critics and in fact it hard time even finding a director until Richard Attenborough stepped in. While the film doesn’t exactly stand the test of time, the themes surely do.
There are some great moments in the film. Cameron English has a great monologue that still holds up and Audrey Landers kills in during Dance: ten; Looks: three. It’s humorous, sassy and sexy. The finale of the iconic One is awesome and about triples the amount of cast members in the movie during one number. The amount of gold on the stage is blinding.
Like all of the recent 20th Century Fox rereleases, A Chorus Line looks spectacular on blu-ray. The image quality is pristine and I can’t imagine that it has ever looked better. The colors contrast nicely and fine detail is sharp. In fact, during the dance sequences you can even see the sweat falling off the dancers bodies.
Sadly, this release is lacking in special features sans the original theatrical trailer. I can’t imagine there wasn’t some sort of archival footage around somewhere.
Overall, I enjoyed the trip down nostalgia lane while watching A Chorus Line, however the film does lack the… Singular Sensation of the original musical.
A Chorus line is out now on Blu-ray
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