Lace up your roller skates for what is undoubtedly the greatest disco/romance/fantasy/movie musical starring ‘70s pop singer Olivia Newton-John and ’50 dancer Gene Kelly ever made! It’s an explosion of magical camp madness that could only be called … Xanadu! Hot off her success as the goody two shoes Sandy in the mega-hit Grease, lovely Aussie songbird Olivia Newton-John tried to cement her standing as Hollywood’s new It Girl by starring in another musical, this time as Kira, a totally hot goddess from Mount Olympus who roller skates down to Earth to make the dreams of puny humans come true. And thus was born the delightfully demented disco disaster known as Xanadu.
Co-starring legendary silver screen hoofer Gene Kelly and ‘70s teen heartthrob Michael Beck (best known as the gang leader in The Warriors), Xanadu is a one-of-a-kind kitsch spectacle that seems to exist in its own disco-fried universe – a world ruled by sexy roller skating deities dressed in leg warmers, peasant dresses and sparkly head bands. Adhering to its own highly bizarre logic, the film posits the notion that a magical goddess (often bathed in a neon pink aura) could roller skate her way relatively unnoticed through Southern California, fall in love with a struggling young artist, reignite the dusty passion of an elderly musician, and use her mysterious mojo to make both of their dreams come true by inspiring them to open a tacky roller disco called Xanadu. Along the way, much singing, much dancing and much skating collide with the Electric Light Orchestra (who, along with Olivia, provided the film’s toe-tapping tunes like “I’m Alive” and “Magic”), crazed animation sequences in which our two young lovers are transformed into frisky goldfish, and some of the most outrageous costumes in history (watch out for Olivia’s eye-popping “wardrobe holocaust” in the over-the-top finale). A box-office bomb that went on to become a cult classic and inspire a 2007 Broadway musical, Xanadu is a truly nutty spectacle that will spin you right round like a well-greased roller skate wheel! (Robert Greenwald, 1980, USA, 93 mins., Rated PG) Digital