The idea behind Metro’s Fame is that it is supposed to tell the story, via its actors, of New York’s venerable High School of Performing Arts. In truth, the educational institution would have none of the project, so producers had to do with second best – the street outside the school.
Alan Parker has come up with an exposure for some of the most talented youngsters seen on screen in years. There isn’t a bad performance in the lot.
The great strength of the film is in the school scenes – when it wanders away from the scholastic side as it does with increasing frequency as the overlong feature moves along, it loses dramatic intensity and slows the pace.
With all this talent, there are two individuals who are so outstanding that they dominate every scene they’re in. Gene Anthony Ray, plays Leroy – a superb natural dancer, but resentful of anyone trying to help, especially a white. His continuing fight with English teacher Mrs Sherwood (Anne Meara) is the most believable plotline in the entire film.
1980: Best Song (‘Fame’), Original Score.
Nominations: Best Original Screenplay, Editing, Sound, Song (‘Out Here on My Own’)