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Xanadu Reviews

Gene Kelly made Hollywood musical history anew with XANADU--not only had he starred in perhaps the greatest musical of all time, SINGIN' IN THE RAIN, he could now claim the dubious additional distinction of having appeared in one of the worst. Struggling artist Sonny Malone (Michael Beck) finds a muse in the form of Kira (Olivia Newton-John), a painted figure who, with her sisters, comes alive faster than you can say, "Let's put on a show!" to sing, roller-skate, inspire Sonny, and generally get the plot moving. Enter Danny McGuire (Kelly), a wealthy businessman who was a clarinetist in the 40s--when, it's revealed in flashback, he too was inspired by Kira. He still longs for her, but doesn't recognize Kira in her modern-day incarnation. Danny plans to open a small nightclub, while Sonny prefers to create a rock'n'roll hall, and under the influence of their mutual muse the two combine to create Xanadu, a schizophrenic nightclub mixing 1940s and 1980s music in a sea of roller-skates and neon. Though meant to be a throwback to old-style Hollywood musicals, XANADU merely replaces style and substance with flash and glitz, and Kelly (using his character name from COVER GIRL) gives the film its only real link to the past. Trying to appeal to both old and young audiences, the movie ends up shooting itself in the foot, but the soundtrack yielded several hits for Newton-John on the pop charts.