Flashdance turns 40 is still a classic

On April 15, 1983, (then almost) novice director Adrian Lyne released a version of the Cinderella story in theaters with the movie Flashdance. More than an immediate success, it was a worldwide fever. With a soundtrack signed by Giorgio Moroder, the work immortalized the look and storytelling of that decade, with several clipped moments and opportunities to explore hit songs. The film earned Irene Cara the Oscar for Best Song.

The project had been in the works for three years from an original script by Linda Obst and was scrapped by Brian de Palma and David Cronenberg before settling on Lyne, a publicist with a single feature (Foxes) but who had a visual signature coming from the commercials that would dictate the fashion of the decade. Lyne considered Demi Moore and Leslie Wing before settling on Jenniffer Beals for the lead role, that of a blue-collar girl who dreams of being a ballerina. As his romantic partner, there was also a huge list of actors before closing with Michael Nouri, names like Gene Simmons (from the band Kiss), Tom Hanks, Mel Gibson, Richard Gere, Robert DeNiro, Pierce Brosnan, John Travolta and an unknown, Kevin Costner, who almost got picked.

Flashdance also marked the beginning of legendary partnerships such as those of Don Simpson and Jerry Bruckheimer, who later signed the phenomena Top Gun and Beverly Hills Cop, and screenwriter Joe Eszterhas and Adrian Lynne, who later worked together on 9 1/2 Weeks, Fatal Attraction and Indecent Proposal, among others.

The story revolves around the hard-to-achieve dreams of young people far from the entertainment capitals of Pittsburgh, where Alexandra “Alex” Owens (Jennifer Beals) works as a welder in a steel mill by day and dances in a nightclub by night. dreaming of becoming a professional dancer, even without formal training. Her friend Jeanie (Sunny Johnson) works as a waitress and is training to be a figure skater, and Richie (Kyle T. Heffner) pays the bills as a cook but hopes to become a stand-up comedian. Alex catches the attention of Nick Hurley (Michael Nouri), owner of the steel plant where she works and with whom she falls in love.

There is a complex issue of Flashdance‘s narrative for today, with many situations that reflect the machismo and fetishism accepted 40 years ago, but it is still a delight to watch. Jenniffer Beals (only 19 at the time of recording) did not know how to dance and had to have a body double (French Marine Jahan), who later sued the producers in order to receive credit. And people, it’s very easy to identify her dancing, it’s almost lame. What no one denies is the brilliance of the soundtrack, a collection of great hits from the 1980s that sold more than 700,000 copies in just two weeks, winning the 1984 Grammy.

With many iconic and imitated images since then, Flashdance is the typical afternoon movie, an opportunity for nostalgia that we love here in Miscelana. What a feeling!


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