As the world mourns the loss of arguably one of the most phenomenal artists of our times – the Artist himself – Prince fan or not, I think we can all agree that there was a seriously ridiculous amount of creative genius packed into this one (imcomparable) individual . One other worldly, irresistible and visionary artist who was “arguably the greatest popular musician there ever was” and whose talents spilled beyond the musical arena into several other notable Hollywood successes that included winning an Oscar, starring in a big screen hit, writing and directing, and creating countless songs for other artists and productions.
This Friday April 29th & Monday May 2nd, VIFF Vancity Theatre pays tribute to Prince with a screening of Sign o’ the Times (on 35mm) – the rarest of all Prince films that has been considered one of the best concert movies ever made. Get your tickets Here.
“The music … benefits immeasurably from the live treatment. Prince’s performance of ‘If I Was Your Girlfriend’ was already astonishing, a sensitive plea for understanding paired with the world’s most brittle, callous funk. The live version is something else entirely. The tempo picks up, a guitar colors around the original rhythm’s emaciated bones, an organ plays sustained chords; the result is lithe groove, Prince walking on water.”
“Here, in 84 incandescent minutes, is proof that all those otherworldly talents—that voice, that guitar playing, that style—somehow all fit inside the same physical being, a circumstance that would have been implausible had he been eight feet tall instead of just a hair over five.”
“To watch Sign o’ the Times now, in the wake of Prince’s shocking death Thursday at the age of 57, is to experience all of his gifts at once, with an intensity so fierce it tempts the boundary between pleasure and neural shutdown.”
Here’s a brief look at ‘Purple Rain’ and Prince’s other two feature films, ‘Under the Cherry Moon’ and ‘Graffiti Bridge.’
- Thumbs up by Roger Ebert on this film, calling it “one of the best combinati
ons I’ve seen of music and drama.” It went on to become a huge box office success with $68 mill in sales
– but only costs $7 mill to make!
- The soundtrack to this film not only won an Oscar for Original Song Score but also a Grammy for its writing and performance.
- The lead female role was supposed to Prince’s own girlfriend but she left him just before filming…
Under the Cherry Moon
- Prince starred and directed (for the first time) in this feature-length black-and-white period film in 1986.
- Prince plays a gigilo named Christopher Tracy who swindles rich women with his partner Jerome Benton. Long before The English Patient, the talented Kristen Scott Thomas made her motion picture debut in this film. She also has a naked drum solo while at her 21st birthday party.
- This is a black and white French film with occasional subtitles and lavish scenes featuring the beautiful city of Nice – precisely the kind of movie that typically appeals to VIFF Vancity fans…
- Prince wrote, directed & starred in this 1990 film, a sequel to ‘Purple Rain.’
- The film itself didn’t fare too well commercially but the soundtrack peaked at No. 6 on the U.S. charts.
- The title to the film, “Graffiti Bridge,” comes from a torn-down bridge located in Eden Prairie, Minnesota and to this day remains a local legend.
…And then there was Sesame Street
Beyond Prince’s three feature films, Prince lent his creative talents to countless other TV and film projects. His music was used in well known scenes from ‘Batman’ and ‘Pretty Women’ to ‘Rush Hour 3’ and ‘Happy Feet’ and he even recently made a cameo appearance in TV’s “New Girl” and offered Zooey Deschanel’s character relationship advice before they paired up for a memorable duet.
My favourite though has got to be the discovery of Prince’s guest appearance on Muppets Tonight where – to the delight of this Calgary girl – he dons a cowboy hat, flannel and overalls to join the muppets in song and chatter.
And for all you pre-millenniel gamers out there – Prince released a game on CD-ROM, which contained Prince trivia, music videos, piccolos and an adventure element for players to explore Prince’s recording studio.