Review: ‘Sign o’ the Times’

Following his disastrous, hubris-drenched fling as a leading man in the non-musical, glossy b&w fantasy Under the Cherry Moon, Prince Rogers Nelson of Minneapolis wisely has returned with a polychromatic concert performance film that should draw anyone who got a charge of out his classic rock 'n' roll romance pic Purple Rain.

Following his disastrous, hubris-drenched fling as a leading man in the non-musical, glossy b&w fantasy Under the Cherry Moon, Prince Rogers Nelson of Minneapolis wisely has returned with a polychromatic concert performance film that should draw anyone who got a charge of out his classic rock ‘n’ roll romance pic Purple Rain.

Shot on location at a music hall in Rotterdam and at the musician’s studio in Minnesota, Sign O’ the Times is a filmed treatment of Prince’s touring show of 14 songs from his hit lp of the same name. Defiantly carnal in the face of AIDS-era safe sexiness, the Prince revue is set in a film noir fantasy zone where the come-hither blinking of gaudy neon honky-tonk signs flashes over an idealized back-alley netherworld. There, strong-willed, Nautilus-sinewed, lascivious women – lissom gladiatrixes of rock ‘n’ roll bloodsport – challenge the sexual imperatives of Princely machismo.

Posing, pouting and pirouetting with androgynous abandon, pushing his guitar into ethereal, upper-register soundstorms and giving supple voice to songs of sensual and emotional free-fall in an anomic contemporary world, Prince provides musicvideo addicts with a pure fix of visual and aural synchronicity.

Sign o' the Times

Production

Cavallo Ruffalo & Fragnoli. Director Prince; Producer Robert Cavallo, Joseph Ruffalo, Steven Fragnoli; Camera Peter Sinclair, Jerry Watson; Editor Steve Purcell; Music Billy Youdelman, Susan Rogers (sup.); Art Director Leroy Bennett

Crew

(Color) Available on VHS. Extract of a review from 1987. Running time: 85 MIN.
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