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Purple Rain

A movie directed by Albert Magnoli

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Purple Rain – when doves cry

  • Sep 1, 2001
Pros: It's all about the music

Cons: violence, rape, sexist - to those that base the story on this

The Bottom Line: Blank out the story, go for the visual stimuli of the musical performances

….**Dig if u will the picture
Of u and I engaged in a kiss
The sweat of your body covers me
Can u my darling
Can u picture this?

Dream if u can a courtyard
An ocean of violets in bloom
Animals strike curious poses
They feel the heat
The heat between me and u **….

I’ll admit it, I’m a closet Prince fan. He, like Michael Jackson, possesses an inherit talent that they chose to cover up with abhorrent behavior that ultimately draws negative attention to them. Add to that list, G-n-R, Madonna, Kiss and the like. Yeah, I know, sounds pretty white-bread, but I think white singers tend to be more offbeat in their outward appearance in order to seek fame and fortune. Thinking back, though, the exception to the black singer role might have been that stint Patti LaBelle had with that hair for a while.

Tragically, under that they usually have all the talent they need, but feel it can’t be showcased on its own merits. Perhaps it is the promotional people that egg this on, or perhaps it is personal preference. Personally I don’t care. Outward appearances never particularly come into play for me.

The reason I picked the movie over the album (I have the round black disk known as a record – remember them?) to review is because it is truly one and the same. This movie is ALL about the music, plain and simple, in my opinion. Besides, I feel more comfortable doing movies, I don’t have to give as much away about my character as I do in music. (Except for that addiction I have for big apes and lizards that is)

Purple Rain will never be considered a classic. Fifty years from now it won’t be redux and few will remember it even existed. When released it caused a burble of excitement because of the sexual nature of the players, the sexist attitude of the men in the movie, and frankly, because Prince always seemed to cause a stir.

It has often been referred to as an autobiographical portrayal of Prince’s life. I’ve never lived his life, so I don’t know. Even if it isn’t truly autobiographical, I still feel there is a lot of truth in the movie. Perhaps it is a compilation of the lives of most on-edge musicians, think of Ike & Tina Turner. Nevertheless, it is a dirty little peek into the homelife of The Kid (Prince) and his desire to break into the music industry. It isn’t a pretty story but it is a talented one.

Prince has a major opponent and rival, not only for the music accolades but also for the fair hand of the entrancing, but scantily clad, Apollonia (Apollonia Kotero), who has designs on being in the business herself. His rival is the irrepressible Morris (Morris Day) and Time. In the movie they have more or less taken over the scene with one blockbuster song, as Prince sits in the sidelines with music that is too negative, sexual, or out of the norm for the standards of the time.

Of course Prince’s music, if able to get to the audiences, will blow Morris out of the water because of presentation alone. However, coming from a broken home with an abusive father, that has given up his own musical career, Prince always walks on the edge of the music industry. It isn’t until he becomes involved with Appollonia that he manages to release some of the hatred inside him, and produce the music that the audience wants to hear.

However, coming from the background he does, he is abusive himself, and loses Appollonia to Morris, who turns her into quite the fetching babe in her little corset and stockings – very preMadonna like in appearance. Her singing group makes it big which infuriates Prince even more, leading to one of the most suggestive performances in the movie, Darling Nikki, very steamy.

The entire movie is centered around the idea that women are the possession of their men, and should be treated accordingly. Of course, this raised quite the stink-a-rooney when released in the early 80’s, as women were foolishly thinking they were finally coming into their own, something that still hasn’t been accomplished.

The tragedy of the family portrayed in the movie is almost secondary to the violence, and the music is practically forgotten. Everything focuses on the abuse and that is what a good deal of the critics remember from the movie. Me, I remember the music.

Performances by Prince, musically, in this movie are some of the best I have ever viewed. His showmanship is unbeatable at this time of his life, sexually charismatic and vibrantly charged. The man is a virtual powerhouse of energy with great presentation. The songs travel from the haunting The Beautiful Ones to the pounding Baby I’m A Star. The releases would not be considered soft, make love ballads, to be sure, but under the right circumstances, they can still provoke a sexual response from most anyone.

As far as acting abilities go, there was little to base anything on here. Truthfully the only person I was familiar with was Clarence Williams III, who played the father in the movie. His few appearances were generally at the end of a fist sporadically placed throughout the movie. I didn’t consider what he was doing as acting, as his few parts were screaming, yelling, or fighting. The most poignant part of the movie however was when he realized he had reached the chasm of his life and he leans against the basement wall, broken and defeated. The mother, Olga Karlatos, offered little more than Williams – except you did witness her in a more dramatic sense as she accepts his ways as her ways.

Other than that, the main characters were musical performers doing music. Their personal acting abilities were nil, but their vocal and instrumental performances were above standard.

Written by William Blinn and Albert Magnoli. Magnoli directed the production as well. Prince was sole music & lyrics composer for this movie and won the Academy Award for best song score. Donald Thorin’s photography was an added bonus to the movie.

Prince’s song credits for the movie include: Let’s Go Crazy, Take Me With U, The Beautiful Ones, Computer Blue, Darling Nikki, When Doves Cry, I Would Die 4 U, Baby I’m A Star, and of course Purple Rain. The album remains in the all time top 10 since it’s release.

[note: with the exception of 3 major people in the movie, most actors go by their own names, apparently Magnoli feared they would not respond if they were using another name, or this could have been the preference of the stars]

**from the song When Doves Cry by Price, recorded by Prince and the Revolution


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More Purple Rain (1984 movie) reviews
review by . February 24, 2001
posted in Movie Hype
Although somewhat shallow this movie does have interesting moments. The best part is depicting the competition between Prince and Morris Day as they each try to make it big in the club scene. It is also inteersting how Prince's parents turbulent relationship shapes his self serving personality in the film. He finally realizes in the end that the world does not revolve around himself when he gives his two female band members a bit of a showcase for their song.It would have been nice for the characters …
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Susi Dawson ()
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A brilliant, talented young musician struggles for success even as a rival musician threatens to supplant him, both professionally and romantically. "Purple Rain" features Prince, in his own inimitable style, performing many of his latest hits, including "Purple Rain," "When Doves Cry," and "Let's Go Crazy." Academy Awards: Best Original Song Score.
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