Friday, July 30, 2010

Friday Dance Party: Make Your Own Kind of Music

The clip above is the theatrical trailer for a sweet little film from the mid-90s, Beautiful Thing. If you haven't seen it, it's worth a look. It's one of those coming-of-age stories which indie film makers do so well, and this is one of the decade's best. Glen Berry and Scott Neal play teenagers trying to discover themselves in a world (working-class London) which does not celebrate diversity.

Writer Jonathan Harvey, who penned both the screenplay and the original stage version, created some terrific characters in the piece, including an oddball dropout named Leah, who has a peculiar musical fascination.

Which is what reminded me of this movie today. The soundtrack is composed largely of Cass Elliot's hits, both as a solo artist and as lead vocalist for the Mamas and the Papas. Though she is well-regarded by pop music historians, by 1996, Elliot had been largely forgotten by the public, having died 20 years earlier. Jonathan Harvey remembered her well, though, and placed her music at the center of his play and film, reviving a bit of interest in this large lady with the large voice. I never stopped being her fan, and her own Dance Party clip is here, if you are interested (it's VERY bizarre).

The 36th anniversary of Cass Elliot's death was yesterday, so for this week's Dance Party, enjoy the final scene from Beautiful Thing. Our two heroes have finally recognized their sexuality, and decided to celebrate it, rather than hide it. This clip also includes the dynamic Linda Henry as Sandra, the single mother who comes to terms with this new kind of relationship. The three leads of the film all had substantial experience on British television, and in fact, Beautiful Thing was filmed as a TV movie, but it came out so well that it received an international theatrical release in 1996. And the tune, of course, is Cass Elliot's signature song. Happy Dance Party!

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