Based around Sandy Wilson’s musical stageplay of the same title, Russell’s extravagant production storms between delightful tackiness and exuberant fantasy in pastiche of 1920’s stage musical (after Wilson) and Busby Berkeley’s film musicals of the ’30’s.
This film is not currently playing on MUBI but 30 other great films are. See what’s now showing
I was skeptical about the idea of Ken Russell directing an old-fashioned G-rated musical, but fortunately the result is just as surreally weird, witty, and visually impressive as you'd expect from Russell. The top-notch cast keeps the madcap energy high, even if the songs themselves are merely adequate and some of the musical numbers go on too long. A whole lot of fun, Russell fans should not pass this one up.
Gold Diggers of '71. A rather bizarre expansion of Wilson's gossamer-light original into a backstage musical complete with Berkley-esque numbers. It oddly works, though not for purists of musical form with its switches from am-dram sensibilities to all-out production numbers. A good showing of the Russell repertory company, cheerful production designs and a rather charmingly fragile lead - and not a nun in sight!
Next to no exposition, one of the only musicals I've seen focusing entirely on the production also avoiding a lots of the usual backstage drama. I didnt think Russell right for a lighthearted musical, but his in your face sensibilities are actually perfectly suitable, depicting the exhilaration and intimidation of performing in a stage production with the elaborate set pieces becoming almost overwhelming. Must see
"The Boy Friend" will always be my favorite Russell film, in fact, it's one of my all time favorite films. It has an extraordinary level of genius that's always been overlooked and misunderstood. You have to look at what's actually going on in this creation, there are so many layers to it, unlike any film I've seen. It's a mind trip – a good one.
Twiggy in slinky satin, ballroom-dancing the domestic bliss away among behemoth furnitures, then out of the window and straight to Pixieland – most hilarious psychedelic sendup of heteronormative ideas in a musical scene ever.
Along with Savage Messiah and Women in Love, this is Ken Russell's best work. Twiggy and Tommy Tune became theater stars in large part because of this unjustly neglected film. They should have made more such movies with Russell. The dance sequences are brilliantly devised by Russell and choreographed by Christopher Gable and Tune. Twiggy's remarkable talent as performer was unexpected and, afterward, sadly underused.