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26 July 2011

All that Jazz (1979) [Muscal Film-a-Thon] 7#

Directed by: Bob Fosse
Written by: Bob Fosse & Robert Alan Arthur
Genre: Musical, Drama
Runtime: 122 Minutes 
"All That Jazz" tells the story of an exhausted director/choreographer who is frantically working on his new Broadway show while editing a film. The film’s inspiration was by Bob Fosse’s manic effort to edit his film while simultaneously staging his 1975 Broadway musical Chicago. The aspects of the film are of the dancer, choreographer, and director's life and career.  Without a daily dose of Vivaldi, Visine, Alka-Seltzer, Dexedrine and sex, he wouldn't have the energy to keep up the biggest show of them all — his life. It is an excellent piece of drama which makes it one of the best musicals there is with it’s It is a viciously honest portrayal that alongside it’s drama has some good eye (and ear) candy to behold.

Director and choreographer Joe Gideon is a workaholic who is manically trying to do far too much as he choreographs his new show, edits his film about a stand-up comedian and with complex relationship issues. In a wacky film structure of dreams, psychological songs and unique editing (that lends some style from Frederico Fellini’s 8 ½) it’s style from It is an honest portrayal of the efforts that goes in to these happy singing musicals.


The actors are top rate and director and writer Bob Fosse put down the right cards for sure. Roy Schieder plays a great workaholic as Joe Gideon in a more than fine performance. Fosse cast his former lover Ann Reinking as Joe Gideon's fading flame, and basically dissected the life of a doomed, dysfunctional anti-hero who alternately evokes sympathy, then repulses with sexual addiction and constant need for ego-gratification. Schieder's ground breaking performance gained him a nomination for bet actor, but lost. Although the film won 9 out of 4 awards being best Editing, best original score, best art direction and best costume design.


The music was something of a different breed itself as many of the soundtrack is in Joe Gideon’s head, and at the end I think heaven (the film’s structure isn’t really explained). What makes these songs great is they overlook Joe’s complex and dysfunctional life. In a glittery musical frenzy Joe steps up on the great stage of life In the 5 final songs, which when watching you will identify very much so. The finale featuring Joe singing the song ‘Bye Bye Love’, the song that describes his very death. It is a 10 minute musical number and quite easily is one of the best musical numbers in cinema with it’s psychological meaning of Joe’s life and furthermore, the terrific sound it has. 



In one musical number we have a fair amount of nudity in all it’s strangely energetic dancing that clearly represents having sex. I is called ‘Take off with us’ and soon becomes a song of the airline Air-rotica. This is one of the finest musicals there is because of how it shows the dysfunctional life of Joe Gideon, whose life actually in fact over when the film begins as we see him talking to an angel of death named Angelique. And that is the film’s narrative structure; he telling her all about his dysfunctional and plain messed up life. The film has a (15) age rating and for good reason, in one scene we see clips of Joe Gideon’s heart surgery, which is obviously real footage from somewhere and is a very hard to watch scene. There are several scenes of nudity in this musical extravaganza but it doesn’t hold back it’s sheer brilliance as a psychological musical roller-coaster.

   
My Rating: 8.5/10

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