Director Richard Attenborough has not solved the problem of bringing the 1975 musical A Chorus Line to the screen, but he at least got it there after nearly a decade of diddling around by others.
There’s a common wisdom, of course, that a stage show must be ‘opened up’ for the camera, but Chorus often seems static and confined, rarely venturing beyond the immediate. Attenborough merely films the stage show as best he could.
Nonetheless, the director and lenser Ronnie Taylor have done an excellent job working within the limitations, using every trick they could think of to keep the picture moving. More importantly, they have a fine cast, good music and a great, popular show to work with. So if all they did was get it on film, that’s not so bad.
Michael Douglas is solid as the tough choreographer and Terrence Mann is good as his assistant. Alyson Reed also is sympathetic as Douglas’ dancing ex-girlfriend.
Worth special note, too, are Cameron English as the troubled young gay, Vicki Frederick as the older hoofer and Audrey Landers, who romps delightfully through the ‘T&A’ number.
1985: Nominations: Best Editing, Song (‘Surprise, Surprise’), Sound