October 24, 2012

The Boy Friend (1971)

Ken Russell's 1971 film version of The Boy Friend is an alternative interpretation, weaving the basic plot of the musical into a more complicated story in which the seaside dramatic company performing the musical is visited by a scouting film producer on the very night that the leading lady (Glenda Jackson) is replaced by her shy understudy Polly Browne (Twiggy). All that said, it is charming and tuneful and buoyant as it pays homage to numerous Busby Berkeley and MGM movie musicals of the 1930s. The National Board of Review voted Russell best director and Twiggy won Golden Globe awards as best newcomer and best actress (musical/comedy), but the film did not make a significant impact monetarily, perhaps because MGM edited it down to 109 minutes from its currently available 136 minutes.


which technically pushes the limits but this exception proves the blog
  • There is a well known continuity error at the end of the film. The closing scene was filmed beside the real stage door of the New Theatre Royal, Portsmouth. This is located in a narrow side street marked off with yellow "No Waiting" lines. For the filming, these lines were very badly painted over with black paint leaving easily recognisable marks on the road.

  • MGM/UA Classics' Michael Schlesinger reissued the full version theatrically in 1987. It was also released on laser disc and finally, in 2011, in a remastered edition.

  • Wilson's original score was freely adapted and augmented by Peter Maxwell Davies for the film. Davies subsequently prepared (and recorded) a concert suite based on the music.

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