This is topic Xanadu 2x400 ft. in forum 8mm Print Reviews at 8mm Forum.

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Posted by James N. Savage 3 (Member # 83) on February 05, 2008, 10:51 AM:
Universal 8
2 x 400 foot.

This two-part digest was released with "The Blues Brothers". These are believed to be the last two digests released by Universal 8.

The digest starts with a neat retro-style version of the classic Universal logo from the 30's, with an airplane flying around the world. This is set to instrumental variations of the song "Xanadu", and an older tune. Then moves to the lead star, Michael Beck (Swan from THE WARRIORS), who is painting, as the credits continue. He rips up his work and throws it out the window. As the paper floats in the wind, it flys up to a painted mural of women (muses), who then come alive and dance to "I'm Alive", by E.L.O.. At the conclusion of the song, all of the women are "beamed up" to ...wherever. Bun one (Olivia Newton-John) is beamed back down- on roller-skates (remember, it was 1980 [Big Grin] ). She bumps into Beck in a park and kisses him, then skates off.

We then see Gene Kelly sitting on some rocks playing a bugle. Beck tells others about his strange encounter. Later, Beck bumps into Kelly, and they visit an old closed up theater, and dream of opening a club that will mix old and new types of music. Part of the song mix "Forget About The Blues" and "Got Some Dancin to Do" is played.

Later, Kelly, Beck, and Olivia go shopping for clothes, and we have, what is basically like a music video, for "All Over the World" by E.L.O..

Opening night at the club, everyone is skating around a disco-type rink. Olivia then performs a mixture of songs, followed by "Xanadu", played in full. She then is "beamed" away. Beck, pouting, fears that he will never see her again. Kelly encourages him and says "I want you to meet someone". Beck turns, and its a waitress that looks just like Olivia (sniff, sniff....awwwwww). The credits roll with Beck and Olivia talking in the backround. The End.

Is it really as silly/corny as it sounds? Yes, it really is. What can be said about this movie, that hasn't already been said. The critics showed no mercy when it was released in 1980. And it is stilled dogged to this day. And with good reason. This movie had all the cheeziness of disco-era movies, but somehow lacked the energy of, even something like "Roller-Boogie".Except for many of the actual songs, of which many became huge hits of that time, this movie seemed to fail on every level. Do I like enjoy the movie? I'll never tell.

O.K., this is one of my guilty pleasures. [Razz] . I practically had to sneak to the movies to see this one, as you were labeled a "loser" if caught by fellow teenagers at that time. I think it was right around the beginning of the "Disco Sucks" era.

About the digest-

The editing is similar to the Blues Brothers digest, as it contains long, uncut scenes. But this sort of movie 'cries' for much tighter editing. A good digest editor could have actually made the movie flow much better than the feature. The opening credit scene is rediculously long and so "not choppy". Its like the editor was just trying to use as much footage as posible.

On the bright side, at least we get three complete songs. This digest is so confusing, so I took the music numbers, gave them a stereo re-recording, and put them on a short reel.

What can I say, if you are one of the few who like the movie or the music, go for it. This digest pops up from time to time.


[ August 02, 2008, 03:20 PM: Message edited by: James N. Savage 3 ]
Posted by Mark Mander (Member # 340) on February 05, 2008, 12:43 PM:
Hi James,I've got the trailer to this film and have to say that i really enjoy it,not seen the 2x400 version or the whole film for that matter but might be one to look out for best Mark
Posted by Tom Photiou (Member # 130) on February 05, 2008, 02:05 PM:
Not exactly a "mans" film but i do have this one as the soundtrack by ELO is pretty good
Its a pity that the picture is a little on the soft side as the actual editing is not at all bad. In all, an enjoyable little film, what is quite amusing is seeing Michael Beck acting the girly after the macho role he played as Swan in the Warriors.

[ November 10, 2013, 04:19 PM: Message edited by: Tom Photiou ]
Posted by Tony Stucchio (Member # 519) on February 05, 2008, 07:00 PM:
I think it was right around the beginning of the "Disco Sucks" era.
This era started around 1977/78. By 1980, when the aforementioned film was released, I believe it was in full swing! [Big Grin]
Posted by James N. Savage 3 (Member # 83) on February 06, 2008, 06:04 AM:

I don't think the "disco sucks" era started that early, since Saturday Night Fever was released in 1977, which propelled disco way up there. I think it was actually around '79 when disco was on a steep decline.

Tom said: "not a manly movie" [Razz] .

Well, your probably right. But, I know there are a few under-cover "Xanadu" fans out there. Like you said, the soundtrack was awsome. I had the 8-track tape in 1980 and I popped it in everytime I came home. I finally wore the tape out and had to buy the LP (album).

And don't forget, Olivia was in her prime back then, and a definate factor in making me like this movie! [Wink]

Posted by Tom Photiou (Member # 130) on February 06, 2008, 02:38 PM:
exactly, great soundtrack, good idea for a film, i think what makes me snigger now is the roller skating disco bit, other than that i dont mind viewing it,
Posted by Robert Tucker (Member # 386) on February 06, 2008, 02:44 PM:
Not forgeting another so bad it's good musical of the same decade Can't Stop The Music!
Posted by Andreas Eggeling (Member # 105) on February 06, 2008, 04:46 PM:

is the print from U8 letterboxed?

Xanadu from piccolo-film is letterboxed mainly.

Was also a theatrical trailer available?

Posted by Robert Wales (Member # 502) on February 06, 2008, 07:02 PM:
Yes, Universal's print was hard-matted to the 1:85 theatrical ratio.

Those of you across the pond may not be aware that Xanadu has returned to America as a Broadway musical that has been playing to rave reviews for almost a year now. This version retains most of the songs, and most of the plot but is done as a flat-out parody . Kerry Butler does a pitch-perfect Olivia Newton-John impression and old pro Tony Roberts assumes the Gene Kelly role ( as well as Zeus for a few moments ). Cheyenne Jackson graduated from understudy to lead when the original male lead broke his ankle during previews last spring. All were terrifiic. I saw this last July and highly recommend it to fans of the film with a sense of humour.
Posted by Tony Stucchio (Member # 519) on February 06, 2008, 07:24 PM:
I don't think the "disco sucks" era started that early, since Saturday Night Fever was released in 1977, which propelled disco way up there. I think it was actually around '79 when disco was on a steep decline.
Well, then the kids in my class in grammar school were ahead of their time, since they were already saying it in 1977. [Big Grin]

Anyone remember when Bill Veek (owner of the Chicago White Sox) had a night at Comiskey Park where fans destroyed disco records?
Posted by James N. Savage 3 (Member # 83) on February 07, 2008, 05:53 AM:
Yes, I remember that historic event. I just did a Google search on it. The date was July 12, 1979.

Robert- I didn't know about that play at all. Sounds neat though.

Posted by Andreas Eggeling (Member # 105) on February 16, 2008, 04:20 AM:
Can someone tell me if there is a diffrent of the U8-Logo to the U8-Logo of other U8 digest? Looks it a little bit thicker as normal?
Posted by Tom Photiou (Member # 130) on February 16, 2008, 06:18 AM:
Cant stop the music???????
I bought this from derann to add to my scope colection and watched it with total embarassment [Embarrassed]
Definatly aimed at the fruit cake society.
Posted by Lee Mannering (Member # 728) on February 18, 2008, 02:51 AM:
[Big Grin]
Posted by Andreas Eggeling (Member # 105) on February 18, 2008, 10:21 AM:

Asking again about the Universal8-Logo of this Edition:
Can someone tell me if there is a diffrent of the U8-Logo to the U8-Logo of other U8 digest? Looks it a little bit thicker (bigger) as normal?

It is important for me to know it.
Posted by James N. Savage 3 (Member # 83) on February 24, 2010, 06:32 PM:
There doesn't seem to be any difference in the UNIVERSAL 8 logo that I can see Andreas. I compared it with several other UNIVERSAL 8 films. Only the black and white logo (from "The Raven" 400 foot digest) seems to be different.

The following are shown:

Xanadu (beginning and end)
The Raven
Chilly Willy
The Blues Brothers.


Hope this helps.

Posted by Adrian Winchester (Member # 248) on February 24, 2010, 07:37 PM:
I've only seen this digest once but it brings back good memories, as it was the last film screened at the very first BFCC I went to, in Holborn Library. Must have been spring 1982, when it was still a recent release. I wouldn't have seen the film in the cinema, but the good-natured feel to the digest seemed a great way to end the day. Because of this, I'd happily buy it, if only they weren't all faded!
Posted by Joerg Polzfusz (Member # 602) on February 25, 2010, 04:00 AM:

the Universal8-logo is sooo cool... it definitely deserves to be used for my own films, too:

P.S.: I guess that this was rather off-topic [Big Grin]
Posted by Damien Taylor (Member # 1337) on February 25, 2010, 09:44 AM:
Great little film with a good message, really enjoy this one.
Posted by Michael Hyde (Member # 748) on February 25, 2010, 10:00 AM:
Hi, Yes a truly great soundtrack from ELO,lovely feelgood film,i was lucky enough to buy the full lenght optical print years ago from Derek Simmonds own collection,beautifull quality even today,booming sound too....
Posted by Ferran Gimenez (Member # 1069) on February 25, 2010, 12:49 PM:

Adrian, I have the Xanadu digest and the colour is not faded. I'd say it has pretty good colours.

Posted by Adrian Winchester (Member # 248) on February 25, 2010, 07:01 PM:
Ferran - that's impressive, hope it stays that way for a long time. Must have been kept cool!
Posted by David Kilderry (Member # 549) on March 01, 2010, 04:25 AM:
My print is a little soft and a little red, typical U8 actually.

I like it, but how could they leave out the song Suddenly?

This film was very popular in Australia because of ONJ who could not put a foot wrong at the time, and the hit laden soundtrack.

Now to find the Blues Brothers!
Posted by Marshall Crist (Member # 1312) on March 01, 2010, 09:58 PM:
No kidding, David. They should have just crammed as many songs into the digest as possible, "plot" be damned. Although smash hit "Magic" is really under-served in the feature anyway.

[ March 02, 2010, 12:45 AM: Message edited by: Marshall Crist ]
Posted by Douglas Meltzer (Member # 28) on March 01, 2010, 10:33 PM:
I agree. How dare they cut out Cliff Richard!

Posted by Marshall Crist (Member # 1312) on March 02, 2010, 12:46 AM:
"It's as if 'Devil Woman' had never been written!"
Posted by David Kilderry (Member # 549) on March 02, 2010, 03:35 AM:
Marshall, you got it, just music would have been best in these (Blues as well) digests.

How about The Rose without the title song!

Mad Mad Mad Mad World does not have my favourite scenes either, yet they are on the clamshell cover!!!
Posted by Damien Taylor (Member # 1337) on March 02, 2010, 04:43 AM:
Maybe Suddenly was left out because the acompanying visuals were thought to be weaker than others like "whenever you're away from me", Suddenly played during the 'inspiration studio' sequence, right? I don't have this film yet, but tell me the animated 'don't walk away' portion made it.
Posted by James N. Savage 3 (Member # 83) on March 02, 2010, 08:40 AM:
Well Damien, I'm sorry to say, that great song "Don't Walk Away", is nowhere to be found in this digest!

Marshall, I SO agree with you. As I mentioned in the review, this 2 x 400 foot digest could have REALLY benefitted from a tight editing job, that included as many of the hits as possible. WAY too much time is spent on the opening credits, before the song "I'm Alive" even begins! Then, too much time is spent of the "grand opening of club Xanadu" scene near the end. Of course, some of that scene would have been o.k., like the song "Xanadu". But all those other songs and dances and costume changes could have (and SHOULD have) been left out.

I also agree with you guys about "Magic" being under-used in the full-feature. I believe it was actually the biggest hit song from the movie.

PS- "Magic" is heard in the digest at the end, when "Swan" meets the waitress, ONJ.


[ March 02, 2010, 11:55 AM: Message edited by: James N. Savage 3 ]
Posted by David Kilderry (Member # 549) on March 28, 2010, 05:39 AM:
.........speaking of musical digests, was You Can't Stop The Music ever released? If it was I am sure the digest would have been better than the feature!
Posted by Douglas Meltzer (Member # 28) on March 28, 2010, 10:43 AM:

Derann sells a 400' scope/color "Can't Stop the Music" promo. I've heard good things about this print.

Posted by David Kilderry (Member # 549) on March 28, 2010, 07:18 PM:
Thanks Doug, I think I can recall seeing that promo on TV or at the movies.

I don't think I need to collect any more catalogs; I just need to ask you!

Posted by Osi Osgood (Member # 424) on July 09, 2011, 12:52 PM:
I didn't hear it mentioned so I'd have to assume that it wasn't included in the digest, but I felt one of the best parts of this movie was "Whenever Your Away From Me', just because Gene Kelly would dance on screen for the last time (apart from those "tribute to the movies" styled films). he wasn't making the big moves like he did in the 40's and 50's, but he was still oh so smooth on his feet and it was a very nice film taken in total.

But actually, I have lately had a dream of actually finding the optical feature of this, as I would edit out a little of the film ...

The parts?

Believe it or not, the "All Over the World" number, with those idiot "punk" charafcters popping in and out in the scene. For me, it really takes away from the film and I even story boarded the whole scene, still including the Gene Kelly bits from that scene, but using some "exploding" neaon, reminiscent of the era, much in the style of the colorful "Windows Media" images you get with that program. There is even a neat little bit where I have a "neon Kelly" dancing on both sides of Gene, doing the same moves that he does. It would be awesome.

Absolute low point of the film?

After the first version the complete Xanadu, the 'Nymphs" then break into a rediculous section of different styled numbered, starting with a moronic tap dancing bit, which then morphs into a rock-n-roll idiocy and then, (gag!) a country bit! I would edit the very end of the first part of "Xanadu" to that reprise of the same tune, right before the NYmph's take off, thereby getting a nice flow to that section.

The film would be perhaps three or so minutes shorter, but that would certainly improve the film for one OSI!
Posted by Michael Hyde (Member # 748) on July 09, 2011, 03:02 PM:
Hi Ossie, As i mentioed back in this post Feb last year ,i was lucky enough to buy an optical print from Derek Simmonds own personnal collection,had this print over twenty years,and still as good as the day i bought it,even tho it cost a fortune back then,and around ten yers ago found it on 16mm from paul foster films.
Posted by John Hourigan (Member # 111) on July 10, 2011, 12:11 PM:
I think we have to remember that with this digest and the Blues Brothers digest being essentially the last gasp of Universal 8 (with video already rearing its head by this point), I'm sure whoever was assigned the job of editing these last two digests was more concerned about "gettin' it done" rather than any semblance of creative editing. As a case in point, I have the Blues Brothers "2x300-foot" digest, and the opening credits are comprised of choppy jump cuts that are extremely noticeable in the background action and the music -- one of the indications of a "rush job." Also, the digest is comprised of rather lengthy scenes, mostly of the endless car chases that quickly grow tiresome (even in the feature), rather than any of the awesome musical numbers -- again another indication of a "quickly-get-it-done" mentality.

By this point in 1980/1981, the handwriting was on the wall for Super 8 digests, and the editing on this particular digest smacks of quickly getting an editing job done (rather than any careful, deliberate, creative editing job).

Of course, the heyday was probably over before then, given companies were issuing things like "Disco Beaver From Outer Space" and, dear God, "Grease 2"!!

[ July 10, 2011, 05:26 PM: Message edited by: John Hourigan ]
Posted by Osi Osgood (Member # 424) on July 11, 2011, 01:30 PM:
As well as "Police Academy 2"!

So many films that could have been released as a 2X600ft, and they had to release "Police Academy 2", (not Universal, however).

One thing seems to be apparent in that Xanadu digest ...

Whoever did it must not have been a fan of Olivia, as the only big songs given full time appear to be "I'M Alive", "All Over the World" and, "Xanadu" which all happen to be ... ELO tunes! (Though Oliva sings Xanadu with Lynne providing the back-up vocals).

Therefore, it appears that this editor was a closet ELO fan!

I say closet as ELO was largely panned by the "music critics" of thier day, (though they hold a record of more top twenty hits than any other group of the 70's) and from what I've read, it just wasn't too "cool" to be an open ELO fan.

As for me, I'm nuts about them!
Posted by David Kilderry (Member # 549) on July 22, 2011, 05:56 AM:
Blues Brothers and Xanadu probably suffer as the digests were made too close to their release in theatres. We have grown to love and admire certain scenes over the years with endless cinema re-runs, VHS, DVD & TV viewings.

Remember Blues Brothers failed initially at the box - office, yet later in the 80's it had a lateshow run of over 10 years at a local cinema here.

To us now it seems obvious that the music is what we love about these films, yet the editors were probably trying their hardest to tell the story.
Posted by Douglas Meltzer (Member # 28) on August 28, 2017, 01:59 PM:
A more recent thread about this title may be found here.

To avoid confusion I'll close this one.


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