Xanadu Xanadu

The critics can harp on about Xanadu all they want, but I found it a blast - here was my favourite singer on great form, she was looking out of this world and singing on a great soundtrack with ELO who performed rather well too. Fantastic - I went and saw this four times at the movies in London's Fulham Road and in Oxford St. It was Olivia heaven - who needs plot ;-) It was a million selling soundtrack album, Olivia was #1 on Billboard in the US with Magic - but the movie didn't draw the same numbers as Grease... However, the movie is a visual treat, with a great animation sequence by Don Bluth where I could start to believe that modern animation could actually cut it and have soul like it used to <g>. Great music, fantastic costumes, Don Bluth on the animation, what else could you need?

Olivia as museWell, I suppose non-Olivia fans needed a plot and maybe some better acting, but that's a whole new story. To see what can be done with the plot you need go no further than the movie Down to Earth (1947) starring Rita Hayward as Terpsichore which was the original, and far better as a movie to be honest. But you're here because you like Olivia and Down to Earth naturally didn't have her in it since Olivia was not to be born for another year after it came out! I agree with Hollywood casting that Olivia makes a perfect goddess, but she doesn't have much luck in movies which feature heavenly figures - her next movie, Two of a Kind, bombed out bigtime at the box-office, but that didn't have the redeeming feature of Xanadu's topselling soundtrack. Still, Olivia is a singer rather than an actress IMHO - and I have to say that she made an excellent Muse in Xanadu. Here's a little bit more about the movie.

The Xanadu Building


The Xanadu building was the Pan Pacific Auditorium on 7600 W Beverly Blvd in LA. However, a sad occurrence on May 24 1989 - the "Xanadu" building burnt down. Pictures


cel from the Xanadu animation

Three thousand images pass your eyes in two minutes - the length of the delightful animation section in the film. Don Bluth created the sequence which symbolises Sonny's tireless pursuit of his unattainable love, the unearthly Kira. He stays the chase while Kira transforms herself into birds and fish to evade him until against all odds she falls in love with him. The animation is a microcosm of the theme of the movie as a whole - a magical sequence.

Costume Designs

Xanadu costume design

Xanadu's costume designer was Bobbi Mannix, who created 260 costumes for the movie. Xanadu needed a whole range of styles, from the lavish costumes worn by the cabaret dancers to the flowing, feminine costimes of the Greek muses. These were gorgeous - we have a whole page on the Xanadu costumes - from the outline sketches to how they came out in practice..


Well, I had to buy an expensive programme, since this was an Olivia movie. I think I bought two, but one got lost somewhere, and I also got a couple of those flimsy teenage flyers - I still got one of these as it disintegrates. They don't make 'em so they last 30 years, but the programme's in good nick still. Check it out.

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