Friday, June 24, 2005

Can't Stop the Music is the "penultimate disco film" according to the DVD sleeve notes. Although the word "gay" is never uttered in it, there is a definite "sensibility" to the whole thing, particular with songs like "Liberation" and "YMCA".

The plot, which is so peripheral it may as well not be there, concerns the story of how the Village People got together. The VP themselves are very much backgrounded, almost appearing as cameos in their own movie. Instead other characters get most of the dialogue and story - Steve Guttenberg (who went on to make those awful Police Academy films which summarised everything about the 1980s that you ever really need to know) plays a frustrated song writer (on rollerskates) who quits his boring job for a chance at the big time. Gutterberg is allegedly ashamed of the film (a shame if true). Olympic winner, Bruce Jenner plays a square lawyer who...quits his job to manage the Village People. His transformation 3/4 through the film is amazing. He goes from boring suits to cut-off shorty shorts and midriff revealing go-go dancer slut top (see picture below - and yes, he does have big thighs doesn't he).

There's also a blonde lady who's a model (and looks like one of the Nolan sisters) and various rich old ladies who play the mothers of various characters and get to say all the camp and outrageous lines that really should have gone to the Village People. The comedy is all rather endearing, like a school play put on by the kids in the "bottom form" e.g. someone loses a contact lens in a lasagne with hilarious results. Each musical number is more lavish than the one before, and there's plenty of innuendo. I can't listen to the song about milk for example as I'm sure it's about sex, although I'm not sure how.

The film's set piece is the YMCA song, which I've reproduced several shots below. In Busby Berkley style, this is where the film totally loses its grip on reality, using a montage of what look like 200 1970s gay porn stars to maximum effect. Mae West tried to repeat this sequence in her later dud "Sextette" (which if I'm in the mood, I'll be covering later on). Anyway, enjoy the pictures.

Innocent wrestling?

Y-fronts at the Y.

Esther Williams should probably have sued.

Suspicious looks in the locker-room.

The money shot. I'm sure that's supposed to be shaving foam.


JayMaster said...

I saw a clip of this film recently on Boy George’s TV programme about the best gay TV moments ever! I immediately ordered the DVD (5.99 at for my boyfriend’s birthday. I cannot wait to see it (yes – I suppose it is a gift for me too!), the dance numbers look great.

matty said...

Just after Valley of the Dolls and Mommie Dearest -- this is my third fave camp movie. And, yes, it really is the gayest "non-gay" films ever made. ...and Rhoda's mom directed it.

The UK edition DVD is so much better quailty than the US version!