The Year 1980 Was the ‘Annus Horribilis’ for Movie Musicals

With the recent success of Bohemian RhapsodyA Star Is BornMary Poppins Returns and Mama Mia! Here We Go Again, movie musicals are big box office again.

With of course Cats being the big exception.

 


Cats (2019) Cockroach Scene

 

But 40 years ago we witnessed a remarkable year, which surely must be regarded as nadir of the film musical -- 1980. In a long, excruciating twelve months the world saw the release of XanaduCan’t Stop The MusicThe Apple (rated one of the worst films of all time), Popeye (the less said the better), and that lousy Neil Diamond remake of The Jazz Singer -- notable for Laurence Olivier’s completely cornball Cantor Rabinovich -- of ‘I Hef no Son!’ fame.
 
 
If you don’t believe me, m’lud, I present the following evidence:

 

 

 

Xanadu Official Trailer #1 - Gene Kelly Movie (1980) HD

 

Can't Stop The Music (1980) - Official Trailer

 

The Apple Official Trailer #1 - Joss Ackland Movie (1980) HD

 

 

The Jazz Singer (1980) Trailer

 

Neil Diamond and Laurence Olivier --The Jazz Singer

 

 

Larry O, making Topol (Fiddler on the Roof) look restrained:

Fiddler on the roof - If I were a rich man (with subtitles)

 

 

Olivier was given a sports car or some such for a brief cameo appearance in a movie; a fellow actor said to him (I paraphrase):

“You got that for just 10 minutes work?’

Olivier replied,” That was for 40 years work dear boy”
 
 
Well said. So will ever see the likes of 1980 and it’s musicals onslaught again?  We can only hope not -- although 1975 was a foreshadowing, with the late Stanley Donen’s awful Lucky Lady and Bogdanovich’s At Long Last Love with Burt Reynolds and John Hillerman having the unfortunate distinction of appearing in both these stinkers..
 

 


'Lucky Lady' Theatrical Trailer

 

At Long Last Love - Trailer

 
And…lest we forget, 1973’s Lost Horizon remake, a disaster so profound that it sundered the hugely successful songwriting partnership of Burt Bacharach and Hal David.
 
If you doubt me:

 

 

 

Lost Horizon Question Me.mpg

Arnell Esq

Arnell Esq

Broadcast consultant - former Director/Creator of ITV3, ITV4 in the UK, producer/writer (most recently Bob Fosse for Sky Arts in May 2019), commentator/rent-a-gob for trades, broadsheets and magazines. Also occasional lecturer (University of Westminster, London). Content provider. Accept no substitute (terms & conditions apply) 'Nullum bonum amico, nullum peius hostes'

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