I’ve now officially seen more Fame than any straight man should ever dare admit. The things we do for the review.
Before the Fame TV series and the recent theatrical release their first came a film in 1980 directed by Alan Parker. This might seem an odd choice for a filmmaker who’s credits include Midnight Express, but this film is unlike anything that followed with its namesake.
Fame follows the lives of a group of kids throughout their four year-stint at the New York School of the Arts. Actors, dancers and musicians all struggle with the day-to-day drama of living in New York City and trying to excel in their studies.
The acting in the film is okay considering most these kids are first-time actors and were picked for their dancing and musical talents more than anything. Alan Parker really seems to get the lives of these characters and picked young kids who fit that parts well.
It’s a surprisingly gritty and raw film that definitely earned it’s R rating. With very coarse language, nudity and adult themes, this first film goes places that the TV series and remakes wouldn’t even dream of. Parker isn’t afraid of tackling uncomfortable and taboo topics and open and frank ways. He does this in such a way that there are moments in this film that are even still a little shocking by todays standards.
It was interesting to watch this film after the TV series because while much of the cast stayed the same, some of the characters were recast and I found I enjoyed the TV cast more.
Still, this is what came first and if you’re interested in dancing, singing and the struggle of show business, then this is an enjoyable film.
Fame is presented in 1:85.1 and 2.0 Dolby Digital stereo sound. This film looks okay in Blu-Ray. Not mind blowing, but better than the DVD release.
On Location with Fame: (11 min.) This Vintage behind the scenes from the ’80s is rather amusing.
Fame Field Trip: (12 min.) Take a tour of the actual school and meat some of the real students and teachers. This was kind of boring.
Class Reunion Commentary: See video interviews of several cast members as they reflect on the film. Either watch these on their own or while you’re watching the film.
Commentary by directors Alan Parker: Parker is definitely a competent director and he knows what he’s talking about, he’s just really boring to listen to.
Bonus Audio CD: You get a four track soundtrack sampler CD.
Having now reviewed both films and the first two seasons of the TV Series of Fame I’d have to say I enjoyed the TV series the most. However, this film is leaps and bounds better than it’s pathetic remake and it is, after all, where it all started.
Warner Bros. presents Fame: The Original Movie. Written by Christopher Gore. Directed by Alan Parker. Starring: Irene Cara, Lee Curreri, Albert Hague and Gene Anthony Ray. Running time: 133 minutes. Rated R for language, nudity and adult themes. Released on DVD: January 26, 2010. Available at Amazon.com
Mike Noyes received his Masters Degree in Film from the Academy of Art University, San Francisco. A few of his short films can be viewed here: http://www.youtube.com/user/mikebnoyes. He recently published his first novel which you can buy here: https://www.amazon.com/Seven-Days-Years-Mike-Noyes-ebook/dp/B07D48NT6B/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1528774538&sr=8-1&keywords=seven+days+seven+years