Written by: John Hall
In 1986, Warner Brothers wanted Prince to star in another motion picture to follow up the critically-acclaimed and commercially successful Purple Rain.
Though this seemed like a good idea, the film, which was titled Under The Cherry Moon, ended up being a flop.
With an entire cast and crew in France, artistic differences eventually led to Prince firing the director of the film, leaving Prince behind the lens and in the driver’s seat to push the envelope of cinematic creativity.
That’s a kind way of saying Prince took over.
The final product was not the work of an auteur or even rudimentary film school theory put into practice, but rather a film where Prince felt his fans would get what he was trying to do. As a huge Prince fan, I still don’t get it. However, I do enjoy the film for its escapist entertainment.
The challenge is where to rent it on DVD:
Here are the Top 10:
Kristin Scott Thomas – Long before The English Patient, this talented actress made her motion picture debut in this film. She also has a naked drum solo while at her 21st birthday party.
It’s A Black and White French Film with Occasional Subtitles – Who doesn’t like these kinds of films? Guys, impress your girlfriends by renting this movie.
Nice – There are plenty of lavish scenes in black and white featuring this beautiful and historic French city near the sea.
The Soundtrack – (Parade) Everyone is familiar with “Kiss,” but other French-inspired songs such as “Do You Lie” demonstrate Prince’s breadth of musical creativity.
Steven Berkoff – Terence Stamp was originally slated to play Isaac Sharon, but quit soon after due to artistic differences. Journeyman actor Berkoff appears as Mary Sharon’s father, and it’s almost like he is still playing Victor Maitland from Beverly Hills Cop, but in a different film. Great villain, though.
The Wardrobes – Backless glittery shawl-type clothing with high heels abound in the film, along with waist chains and polka dot suits. The women’s wardrobes were great, too.
The Revolution – Everybody loves the “When Doves Cry” video where Wendy and Lisa’s head morph into the shape of a heart. How could you not love this band? Though the Revolution do not appear in the actual film, their appearance in the video for “Mountains” closes out the film.
WRECKA STOW – Where one buys a Sam Cooke album. You just have to watch the film to get this.
Cinematography– The film was originally shot in color, but released in black and white. The opening scene is quite breathtaking, with a sweeping aerial shot of the French Mediterranean.
Jerome “Tricky” Benton – Both Siskel and Ebert were complimentary on The Time band member’s comedic timing in this film.
Bonus weird fact: Both Joni Mitchell and Ray Parker Jr. were at the movie’s premiere. In Wyoming.
Another bonus weird fact: 1988’s Dirty Rotten Scoundrels in a strange way is a cover version of Under The Cherry Moon. A superior one, sure, but the plot is oddly similar…