So last night we watched the filmed adaptation of A Chorus Line. It wasn’t horrible! 😉
That being said, it is VERY MUCH a product of it’s time. Directed by InGen founder John Hammond (aka Lord Richard Attenborough), right from the DVD menu (with so much synth, we almost started to cry) we could tell this wasn’t going to be very much like the stage production. And then the opening number started and we couldn’t help making comparisons to that Captain EO making of featurette that they play as you wait in line. I mean Mike (I Can Do That) was wearing parachute pants!
In the film adaptation, Zach is portrayed by Michael Douglas and apparently either he or Attenborough felt that the movie would be MUCH better if this quintessential ensemble piece was focused very tightly on Zach and Cassie. And they also decided that Cassie’s “The Music and the Mirror” wasn’t good enough, so it was replaced with something called “Let Me Dance for You”. Oh, and they GAVE “What I Did For Love” to Cassie as a solo. Saddness!
They also replaced the “Hello Twelve, Hello Thirteen, Hello Love” montage with a song for Richie called “Surprise, Surprise”. But they kept the opening of the song and teased me with it!
The instrumentation/music adaptation was SO VERY 80s. It was re-donk-ulous.
Larry (Zach’s assistance) was portrayed by Terrence Mann – The Beast from the original Broadway cast! He’s so young!!!
So all in all it was still nice to see a filmed version of the show. And there’s a delicious bonus feature with the late Marvin Hamlisch talking about the genesis of the show.
As a closing note, I very much enjoyed this anecdote that I found on Wikipedia:
An unsuccessful film adaptation was released in 1985. As Kelly Bishop, the original Sheila, later noted, “it was appalling when director Richard Attenborough went on a talk show and said ‘this is a story about kids trying to break into show business.’ I almost tossed my TV out the window; I mean what an idiot! It’s about veteran dancers looking for one last job before it’s too late for them to dance anymore. No wonder the film sucked!”
(Wikipedia: A Chorus Line – 4.2).