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Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Julien Temple|
|Written by|| Richard Burridge |
|Music by||Gil Evans|
|Edited by||Gerry Hambling|
|Distributed by|| Palace Pictures (UK)|
Orion Pictures (USA)
|Box office||£1.8 million|
Absolute Beginners is a 1986 British musical film adapted from Colin MacInnes' book about life in late 1950s London, directed by Julien Temple. The film stars Eddie O' Connell, Patsy Kensit, James Fox, Edward Tudor-Pole, Anita Morris, and David Bowie, with featured appearances by Sade Adu, Ray Davies, and Steven Berkoff. It was screened out of competition at the 1986 Cannes Film Festival.It received immense coverage in the British media but was panned by critics and became a box office failure. However, Bowie's theme song was very popular in the UK, spending nine weeks on the charts and peaking at number two.
The commercial failure of Absolute Beginners and two other films is blamed for the collapse of British film studio Goldcrest Films.
The film takes place in 1958, a time in which popular culture is transforming from 1950s jazz to a new generation on the verge of the 1960s. The storyline incorporates elements of the 1958 Notting Hill race riots. Young photographer Colin falls in love with aspiring fashion designer Crepe Suzette, but she is only interested in her career. Colin tries to win her affections by taking a crack at the big time himself. Meanwhile, racial tensions heat up in Colin's neighbourhood of London.
Christopher Wicking worked on an early draft of the script which he said "had some sort of propulsion from one scene to the next".He says the script helped raise American finance but then Julien Temple became involved and disregarded a lot of Wicking's ideas. Wicking also says the filmmakers could never reconcile if the musical numbers should advance the story or illustrate something about the characters at the time.
$2.5 million of the film's budget came from Orion and £2.5 million from Goldcrest.
|Absolute Beginners: The Original Motion Picture Soundtrack|
| Soundtrack album by |
Gil Evans with Various Artists
|Released||7 April 1986|
|Producer||Clive Langer, Alan Winstanley|
|Singles from Absolute Beginners: The Original Motion Picture Soundtrack|
Absolute Beginners: The Original Motion Picture Soundtrack was concurrently released to promote the film, and the musical score was composed by Gil Evans. David Bowie's title track, Ray Davies' "Quiet Life", and the Style Council's "Have You Ever Had It Blue?" were released as singles. Abridged versions of the LP were released featuring only sides one and two, and CD versions excised the tracks "Absolute Beginners (Slight Refrain)," "Landlords and Tenants," "Santa Lucia". and "Cool Napoli."[ citation needed ]
|1.||"Absolute Beginners"||David Bowie||David Bowie||7:58|
|2.||"Killer Blow"||Sade Adu, Simon Booth, Larry Stabbins||Sade||4:34|
|3.||"Have You Ever Had It Blue?"||Paul Weller||The Style Council||5:36|
|4.||"Quiet Life"||Ray Davies||Ray Davies||2:55|
|5.||"Va Va Voom"||Gil Evans||Gil Evans||3:26|
|1.||"That's Motivation"||Bowie||David Bowie||4:14|
|2.||"Having It All"||Geoff Beauchamp, Alex Godson, Patsy Kensit||Eighth Wonder Featuring Patsy Kensit||3:06|
|3.||"Rodrigo Bay"||Booth, Stabbins||Working Week||3:27|
|4.||"Selling Out"||Slim Gaillard, Tot Taylor, Julien Temple||Slim Gaillard||3:34|
|5.||"Riot City"||Jerry Dammers||Jerry Dammers||8:28|
|1.||"Boogie Stop Shuffle (Rough and the Smooth)"||Charles Mingus||Gil Evans||3:01|
|2.||"Ted Ain't Dead"||Edward Tudor-Pole, Temple||Tenpole Tudor||2:35|
|3.||"Volare (Nel Blu Dipinto Di Blu)"||Franco Migliacci, Domenico Modugno||David Bowie||3:13|
|4.||"Napoli"||Clive Langer, Temple||Clive Langer||4:09|
|5.||"Little Cat (You Never Had It So Good)"||Nick Lowe||Jonas (24)||2:19|
|6.||"Absolute Beginners (Slight Refrain)"||Bowie||Gil Evans||0:38|
|1.||"Better Git It in Your Soul (The Hot and the Cold)"||Mingus||Gil Evans||1:49|
|2.||"Landlords and Tenants"||Laurel Aitken||Laurel Aitken||2:46|
|3.||"Santa Lucia"||Ekow Abban||Ekow Abban||3:49|
|4.||"Cool Napoli"||Langer, Temple||Gil Evans||2:01|
|5.||"So What? (Lyric Version)"||Smiley Culture||Miles Davis, Smiley Culture||4:18|
|6.||"Absolute Beginners (Refrain)"||Bowie||Gil Evans||1:37|
New York Times film critic Caryn James remarked upon the "unevenness" of Temple's adaptation and its "erratic" results.Pauline Kael declared that the music was "peculiarly unlyrical and ephemeral". Jeremy Allen in The Guardian praised Bowie's theme song but described the film as "an overbudget turkey of huge proportions". Corey K. Creekmur stated in The International Film Musical that the film "failed to deliver on the critical expectations surrounding it", although it remained "a deeply interesting, if flawed, attempt to harness the contemporary musical in the services of politics and social equality".
Alex Stewart reviewed Absolute Beginners for White Dwarf #79, and stated that "It's glossy, slick and superficial, with a couple of nodes towards Social Significance which stand out almost as awkwardly as the stumps of the subplots that ended up on the cutting-room floor. On the other hand the singing and dancing are quite nice, the climax looks uncannily like Quartermass and the Pit set to music, and the grossly over-hyped Patsy Kensit duly meets a most satisfying nemesis by turning in a performance that would have disgraced an episode of Thunderbirds."
Absolute Beginners currently holds a 79-percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes based on nine reviews.
Goldcrest Films invested £4,680,000 in the film and received £1,859,000 back, losing £2,821,000.
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Absolute Beginners may refer to:
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