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Friday, June 24, 2016
Albert Magnoli | Purple Rain
baby i’m a star
by Douglas Messerli
I think anyone who knows me realizes that I have never pretended to be knowledgeable about popular music outside of the major performers of my generation, The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, and David Bowie. I must have, at one time or another, heard one of Prince’s songs, but I don’t think I ever saw him perform. With his death, after ingesting painkillers, on April 21, 2016, however, I was moved to watch his famed movie, Purple Rain.
Because of the great popularity and the performer, however, Netflex told me that it would be a “long wait” before I could get my hands on the DVD. It took about a month, accordingly, before I received the film. The short review below is my response.
Albert Magnoli’s 1984 film Purple Rain is a near disaster, with some truly embarrassing acting, at times murky plot twists, and, the overall feel of a long music video instead of a coherent cinema. Despite that, the film is absolutely amazing due to the various songs it contains and to Prince’s sheer energy as guitarist, pianist, dancer, and singer. As he leaps, spins, tumbles, splits, playing a mean guitar while singing remarkable songs such as “Take Me with U,” “The Beautiful Ones,” “When Doves Cry,” and, most particularly, “Purple Rain,” Prince as The Kid exudes so much androgynous sexual energy that anyone with ears and eyes simply has to drop his jaw in wonderment.
Los Angeles, June 24, 2016