by Richard Mudhar (International Only Olivia Fan Club)
The critics can harp on about Xanadu all they want, but I found it a blast. Here was my favorite 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. Great music, fantastic costumes, Don Bluth on
the animation, what else could you need?
Well, 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 a top selling 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.
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 symbolizes 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
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 costumes 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 20 years, but the programme's in good nick still.