Xanadu

  • Universal, 1980, Color, 96 minutes, ***
  • Released August, 1980

Though I don’t rate this movie very highly overall, I really do like it a lot. It has a lot of high points, though there are some definite low points in between. The musical scenes are wonderful and definitely worth seeing, and the music is great. Don Bluth’s first independent work is included in the animated scene, Gene Kelly is fun (as always), and Olivia is fun and sings like an angel!

The story is both interesting and fun. Sets, costumes, lighting… all great. And the music is fantastic. What seems to bring the movie down is Michael Beck — he just is not a good lead opposite Olivia. And the script — ugh! With a good script and a lead like Travolta it could have been a fantastic film! Anyway, don’t miss it, it’s fun!

In Xanadu did Kubla Khan
A stately pleasure-dome decree:
Where Alph, the sacred river, ran
Through caverns measureless to man
Down to a sunless sea.

– Samuel Taylor Coleridge
Kubla Khan
ca. 1797

Details

  • Produced by: Lawrence Gordon
  • Co-Producer: Joel Silver
  • Associate Producer: Terry Nelson
  • Executive Producer: Lee Kramer
  • Directed by: Robert Greenwald
  • Animation Sequence: Don Bluth Productions
  • Written by: Richard Christian Danus and Marc Reid Rubel
    Songs for Olivia Newton-John written by John Farrar
    Songs for Electric Light Orchestra written by Jeff Lynne
    “Xanadu” written by Jeff Lynne, performed by Olivia Newton-John and Electric Light Orchestra
  • Musical Scoring by: Barry DeVorzon
  • Choreograpers: Kenny Ortega, Jerry Trent
  • Production Designer: John W. Corso
  • Set Decorator: Marc E. Meyer, Jr.
  • Costume Designer: Bobbie Mannix
  • Make-Up: Rick Sharp, Harry Blake, Craig Smith
  • Hair Stylists: Martin Samuel, Candy Conery
  • Director of Photography: Victor J. Kemper
  • Special Effects: Richard Greenberg
    Filmed in Panavision, color by Technicolor
  • Film Editor: Dennis Virkler

Cast

  • Olivia Newton-John [Kira]
  • Gene Kelly [Danny McGuire]
  • Michael Beck [Sonny Malone]
  • James Sloyan [Simpson]
  • Dimitra Arliss [Helen]
  • Katie Hanley [Sandra]
  • Fred McCarren [Richie]
  • Ren Woods [Jo]
  • Sandahl Bergman [Muse #1]
  • Lynn Latham [Muse #2]
  • Melinda Phelps [Muse #3]
  • Cherise Bate [Muse #4]
  • Juliette Marshall [Muse #5]
  • Marilyn Tokuda [Muse #6]
  • Yvette Van Voorhees Muse #7]
  • Teri Beckerman [Muse #8]
  • Marty Davis [Male Guard]
  • Bebe Drake-Massey [Female Guard]
  • Mickey McMeel [The Accountant]
  • Aharon Ipale [The Photographer]
  • Lise Lang [Popcorn Girl]
  • Melvin Jones [Big Al]
  • Matt Lattanzi [Young Danny McGuire]
  • Ira Newborn [40s Band Leader]
  • Jo Ann Harris [40s Singer #1]
  • Cindy Leake [40s Singer #2]
  • Patty Keene [40s Singer #3]
  • John “Fee” Waybill [80s Rock Singer]
  • Stephen Pearlman [Foreman]
  • Church Ortiz [Worker #1]
  • Randy T. Williams [Worker #2]
  • David Tress [Nick]
  • Madison Arnold [Vargas]
  • Wilfrid Hyde-White [Heavenly Voice / Male]
  • Coral Browne [Heavenly Voice / Female]
  • Maria V. Langston [Dizzy Heights]
  • Additional Cast: The Tubes [Themselves]

Musical Program

  • [0:00] Overture (played by Orchestra behind titles)
  • [0:04] I’m Alive (sung and played by Electric Light Orchestra, danced by Olivia Newton-John and Muses)
  • [0:17] Magic (sung and skated by Olivia Newton-John)
  • [0:27] You Made Me Love You (sung by Olivia Newton-John in background)
  • [0:28] Whenever You’re Away from Me (sung and danced by Olivia Newton-John and Gene Kelly)
  • [0:36] Suddenly (sung by Olivia Newton-John and Cliff Richard, skated by Olivia Newton-John and Michael Beck)
  • [0:43] Dancin’ (sung by Olivia Newton-John and The Tubes, danced by Chorus juxtaposing 1940s dance style with 1980 style — great number!)
  • [0:55] Animated sequence: Don’t Walk Away (sung by Electric Light Orchestra)
  • [0:59] All Over the World (sung and played by Electric Light Orchestra, danced by Gene Kelly, Olivia Newton-John, Michael Beck and Chorus)
  • [1:11] The Fall (sung and played by Electric Light Orchestra as Sonny makes the leap)
  • [1:17] Suspended in Time (sung by Olivia Newton-John)
  • [1:21] Xanadu (sung by Olivia Newton-John and Electric Light Orchestra, danced and skated by Company and Chorus)
  • [1:33] Exit Music: Xanadu (sung by Olivia Newton-John behind end credits)