Xanadu (1980)

PG | 93 mins | Fantasy, Musical, Romance | 8 August 1980

Director:

Robert Greenwald

Producer:

Lawrence Gordon

Cinematographer:

Victor J. Kemper

Editor:

Dennis Virkler

Production Designer:

John W. Corso

Production Company:

Universal Pictures
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HISTORY

       According to production notes in AMPAS library files, co-producer Joel Silver, an executive at Lawrence Gordon Productions, was charged with the task of developing projects at the company. He was inspired to emulate classic movie musicals and began developing Xanadu with Warner Bros. However, the project was dropped by Warner Bros. and later set up at Universal Pictures.
       A 20 Sep 1979 LAHExam article stated that the film was slated for a modest budget but estimates were boosted to more than $10 million when popular actress-singer Olivia Newton-John was cast. Then, it was upgraded to more than $10 million. An 8 Oct 1979 DV brief stated that then sixty-seven-year-old actor Gene Kelly would star with the proviso that he would not be required to do any dancing. However, Kelly was eventually persuaded to dance, and perform on roller skates.
       According to 5 Sep 1979 Var and 18 Sep 1979 DV news items, principal photography began 18 Sep 1979. A brief in the 29 Nov 1979 DV stated that the Pan Pacific Auditorium was used to film exteriors, but city officials would not grant permission to filmmakers to shoot inside. Instead, an expansive set was built on Stage 4 at Hollywood General Studios to replicate the Pan Pacific. The set had mirrored walls, rising floors and waterfalls. According to a Nov 1980 International Photographer article, construction on the two-story, 163 foot by 90 foot-set began in early Sep 1979, and continued for three months at a cost of $1 million to accommodate the film’s finale. The sequence was comprised of 237 ... More Less

       According to production notes in AMPAS library files, co-producer Joel Silver, an executive at Lawrence Gordon Productions, was charged with the task of developing projects at the company. He was inspired to emulate classic movie musicals and began developing Xanadu with Warner Bros. However, the project was dropped by Warner Bros. and later set up at Universal Pictures.
       A 20 Sep 1979 LAHExam article stated that the film was slated for a modest budget but estimates were boosted to more than $10 million when popular actress-singer Olivia Newton-John was cast. Then, it was upgraded to more than $10 million. An 8 Oct 1979 DV brief stated that then sixty-seven-year-old actor Gene Kelly would star with the proviso that he would not be required to do any dancing. However, Kelly was eventually persuaded to dance, and perform on roller skates.
       According to 5 Sep 1979 Var and 18 Sep 1979 DV news items, principal photography began 18 Sep 1979. A brief in the 29 Nov 1979 DV stated that the Pan Pacific Auditorium was used to film exteriors, but city officials would not grant permission to filmmakers to shoot inside. Instead, an expansive set was built on Stage 4 at Hollywood General Studios to replicate the Pan Pacific. The set had mirrored walls, rising floors and waterfalls. According to a Nov 1980 International Photographer article, construction on the two-story, 163 foot by 90 foot-set began in early Sep 1979, and continued for three months at a cost of $1 million to accommodate the film’s finale. The sequence was comprised of 237 performers, including tightrope walkers, jugglers, roller skaters and adagio and boogaloo street dancers.
       Production notes state that Richard Greenberg of R/Greenberg Associates, Inc. was responsible for more than 100 optical effects for the film. It was also noted that Robert Greenwald made his theatrical directorial film debut with Xanadu. A 6 Jun 1980 DV brief reported that the film’s animated sequence marked the theatrical film debut of Don Bluth Productions after Bluth’s departure as a longtime animator at the Walt Disney Studios.

      The following statement appears in end credits: “Made in Hollywood, USA.”
More Less

GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Daily Variety
18 Sep 1979.
---
Daily Variety
8 Oct 1979.
---
Daily Variety
29 Nov 1979.
---
Daily Variety
6 Jun 1980.
---
Hollywood Reporter
14 Aug 1980
p, 3-4.
International Photographer
Nov 1980
p. 8A.
LAHExam
20 Sep 1979.
---
Los Angeles Times
11 Aug 1980
p. 1.
New York Times
9 Aug 1980
p. 10.
Variety
5 Sep 1979.
---
Variety
13 Aug 1980
p. 23, 26.
CAST
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
also starring:
co-starring:
[and]
The Xanadu dancers:
Jim Thompson
Chain Reaction Dancers:
Special appearance by The Tubes:
+
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXTS
A Universal Picture
A Lawrence Gordon Production
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Unit prod mgr
1st asst dir
2d asst dir
2d asst dir
DGA trainee
PRODUCERS
Co-prod
Assoc prod
Exec prod
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Steadicam op
Cam asst
Cam asst
Stills
Time lapse photog
Key grip
Best boy/Elec
Rigging gaffer
Spec op
Best boy/Grip
Grip
Dolly grip
ART DIRECTORS
Prod des
Asst art dir
Spec graphics consultant
Prod illustrator
Spec prod paintings
Spec prod paintings
FILM EDITORS
Film ed
Co-editor
Asst film ed
Apprentice film ed
Negative cutting
Negative cutting
SET DECORATORS
Prop master
Asst prop master
Asst prop master
Const foreman
Const foreman
Stand-by painter
Leadman
Set des
Set des
Set des
Painter
Painter
Painter
Painter
Painter
COSTUMES
Cost des
Cost supv
Cost supv
Costumer
Costumer
Costumer
Cost sketch artist
Asst cost des
MUSIC
Songs for Olivia Newton-John wrt
Songs for Electric Light Orchestra wrt
Mus scoring by
Mus ed
Mus ed
Asst mus ed
Mus eng for John Farrar
Mus eng for Jeff Lynne
Big band and string arrangements for John Farrar
Orchs for Barry DeVorzon
SOUND
Prod mixer
Spec synthesized eff
Bodifications, Inc.
Supv sd ed
Loop dial ed
Post prod mixer
Post prod mixer
Post prod mixer
Post prod mixer
Asst sd ed
Asst sd ed
Post prod rec
Post prod rec
Vocal eff adv
Post prod sd
VISUAL EFFECTS
Main title & spec visual eff prod and des
Richard Greenberg
Anim des supv, Spec visual eff unit
Anim des, Spec visual eff unit
Asst anim, Spec visual eff unit
Asst anim, Spec visual eff unit
Anim cam, Spec visual eff unit
Anim cam, Spec visual eff unit
Opt photog supv, Spec visual eff unit
Addl opt supv, Spec visual eff unit
Layout, Spec visual eff unit
Layout, Spec visual eff unit
Layout, Spec visual eff unit
Opt printer op, Spec visual eff unit
Opt printer op, Spec visual eff unit
Opt printer op, Spec visual eff unit
Vis eff ed supv, Spec visual eff unit
Eff ed, Spec visual eff unit
Model photog, Spec visual eff unit
Model maker, Spec visual eff unit
Spec visual eff prod, Spec visual eff unit
Addl opt eff, Spec visual eff unit
Addl opt eff, Spec visual eff unit
Spec eff
Spec eff
DANCE
Choreog
Choreog
Asst choreog
Asst choreog
Asst choreog
Dance eff supv
MAKEUP
Makeup
Makeup
Makeup
Addl makeup
Hairstylist
Hairstylist
PRODUCTION MISC
Prod asst
Prod asst
Tech assistance in skating seq by
Bill Butler and Judy Lynn
Spec skating consultants
Spec skating consultants
Spec promotion consultant
Transportation capt
Caterer
Asst to prod
Asst to co-prod
Asst to exec prod
Asst to exec prod
Asst to Robert Greenwald
Asst to Olivia Newton-John
Asst to Jeff Lynne
Asst to Carol Shapiro Janson
ANIMATION
Anim seq by
Anim, Anim seq unit
Spec eff, Anim seq unit
Backgrounds, Anim seq unit
Col coord, Anim seq unit
Asst anim, Anim seq unit
Asst anim, Anim seq unit
Asst anim, Anim seq unit
Asst anim, Anim seq unit
Asst anim, Anim seq unit
Asst anim, Anim seq unit
Asst anim, Anim seq unit
Asst anim, Anim seq unit
Asst anim, Anim seq unit
Asst anim, Anim seq unit
Asst anim, Anim seq unit
Asst anim, Anim seq unit
Cam planning, Anim seq unit
Anim cam, Anim seq unit
Anim cam, Anim seq unit
Prod assoc, Anim seq unit
Prod assoc, Anim seq unit
COLOR PERSONNEL
Supv col consultant
Col consultant
Asst col timing
Asst col timing
Col by
SOURCES
SONGS
“Xanadu,” written by Jeff Lynne, performed by Olivia Newton-John and Electric Light Orchestra
“I’m Alive,” performed by Electric Light Orchestra, words and music by Jeff Lynne
“Magic,” performed by Olivia Newton-John, words and music by John Farrar
+
SONGS
“Xanadu,” written by Jeff Lynne, performed by Olivia Newton-John and Electric Light Orchestra
“I’m Alive,” performed by Electric Light Orchestra, words and music by Jeff Lynne
“Magic,” performed by Olivia Newton-John, words and music by John Farrar
“Whenever You’re Away From Me,” performed by Olivia Newton-John and Gene Kelly, words and music by John Farrar
“Suddenly,” performed by Olivia Newton-John and Cliff Richard, words and music by John Farrar
“Dancin’,” performed by Olivia Newton-John and The Tubes, words and music by John Farrar
“All Over The World,” performed by Electric Light Orchestra, words and music by Jeff Lynne
“The Fall,” performed by Electric Light Orchestra, words and music by Jeff Lynne
“Suspended In Time,” performed by Olivia Newton-John, words and music by John Farrar
“Don’t Walk Away,” performed by Electric Light Orchestra, words and music by Jeff Lynne.
+
DETAILS
Release Date:
8 August 1980
Premiere Information:
Los Angeles and New York openings: 8 August 1980
Production Date:
began 18 September 1979 in Los Angeles, CA
Copyright Claimant:
Universal City Studios, Inc.
Copyright Date:
3 October 1980
Copyright Number:
PA84962
Physical Properties:
Sound
Recorded in Dolby Stereo™
Color
Lenses/Prints
Panaflex® Camera and Lenses by Panavision®
Duration(in mins):
93
MPAA Rating:
PG
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
26042
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

As artist named Sonny Malone rips up a drawing and throws it out his studio window. The scraps of paper are carried by the wind, and they flutter onto a wall mural of muses dancing. Suddenly, a spell is broken, and the figures on the wall come to life, dancing all over Los Angeles, California. Soon, Kira, one of the dancing spirits, roller skates along a beach path and stops to kiss Sonny, then disappears. Later, Sonny sheepishly returns to his old job at Airflow Records, where he paints replicas of album cover artwork for music store displays. He tells his fellow commercial artists that he could not earn a living as a fine artist. Meanwhile, Sonny notices that Kira, the mystery girl, appears on the album cover art that his boss, Simpson, has assigned. Sonny is fascinated and drops everything to discover her identity. The first thing he learns is that Kira was not paid for modeling in the photograph, so as far as the accountant is concerned, she does not exist. Next, he talks to the photographer, and finds that Kira wandered into the frame during the shoot at the Pan Pacific auditorium. Her appearance was not planned in advance. Sonny returns to the beach path, where he first saw Kira, but instead he meets a clarinet player named Danny McGuire. As the men talk, Sonny sees Kira on roller skates. When he waves at her, she ignores him and keeps skating. He borrows a motorcycle, follows her, but soon becomes distracted by her smile, and tumbles off the pier into the ocean. When he returns to shore, Danny offers to buy him a cup of ... +


As artist named Sonny Malone rips up a drawing and throws it out his studio window. The scraps of paper are carried by the wind, and they flutter onto a wall mural of muses dancing. Suddenly, a spell is broken, and the figures on the wall come to life, dancing all over Los Angeles, California. Soon, Kira, one of the dancing spirits, roller skates along a beach path and stops to kiss Sonny, then disappears. Later, Sonny sheepishly returns to his old job at Airflow Records, where he paints replicas of album cover artwork for music store displays. He tells his fellow commercial artists that he could not earn a living as a fine artist. Meanwhile, Sonny notices that Kira, the mystery girl, appears on the album cover art that his boss, Simpson, has assigned. Sonny is fascinated and drops everything to discover her identity. The first thing he learns is that Kira was not paid for modeling in the photograph, so as far as the accountant is concerned, she does not exist. Next, he talks to the photographer, and finds that Kira wandered into the frame during the shoot at the Pan Pacific auditorium. Her appearance was not planned in advance. Sonny returns to the beach path, where he first saw Kira, but instead he meets a clarinet player named Danny McGuire. As the men talk, Sonny sees Kira on roller skates. When he waves at her, she ignores him and keeps skating. He borrows a motorcycle, follows her, but soon becomes distracted by her smile, and tumbles off the pier into the ocean. When he returns to shore, Danny offers to buy him a cup of coffee. As they talk, Sonny confesses his attraction to the mystery girl, and Danny assures him that he is not crazy. He encourages Sonny to keep looking. Sonny visits the Pan Pacific, and notices an unlocked door on the building’s upper floor, walks inside, and sees Kira skating among the stacked boxes and amplifiers below. As he talks to her, he points out that all the events of the day add up to coincidence, but she thinks that someone has arranged for them to meet. As she skates away, Kira calls him by name, commenting that they will meet again. Back at work, Simpson complains that Sonny is spending too much time on Kira’s painting, and demands a meeting in his office. He lectures Sonny on the importance of doing what he is told because the job description does not include improving the existing album cover art. He sends Sonny to deliver finished canvases to the Platinum Palace, a nearby record store. There, he meets Danny, who purchased a vintage Glenn Miller album. When Danny invites him to hear the album at his home, Sonny learns that Danny played clarinet with Miller, Tommy Dorsey, and Benny Goodman. Later, after he stopped touring, he opened a jazz nightclub in New York City, but the heart went out of his music when his girl friend, a singer in the band, left. Sonny notices the singer’s photograph on the album sleeve, and how closely she resembles Kira. Meanwhile, Danny talks about opening a new club if he could only find the right location. Sonny offers to help, and leaves. At night, Sonny returns to work to spend extra time on Kira’s painting. When Kira appears, Sonny stops work and they skate. Kira leads Sonny back to the Pan Pacific, and suggests that it might be the perfect location for Danny’s club. Later, Sonny shows Danny the building, and he becomes excited. He asks Sonny to be his business partner, and Sonny agrees. As Danny wonders what to name his club, Kira appears and recites from Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s poem “Kubla Khan” with its description of a pleasure-dome identified as “Xanadu.” Sonny quits his job much to his co-workers amazement. Later, Sonny and Kira celebrate the creation of Xanadu, but she refuses to answer any of his questions about her background. They kiss and fall deeper in love. Danny and Sonny work with a construction crew to remodel the Pan Pacific, and Danny tells Kira he wants the first dance with her at the club’s opening. She teases him that he needs something glitzy to wear for the occasion, and she and Sonny take him shopping. Danny tries on many outfits, and settles on a sharp tuxedo. The night before the opening, Danny confesses having jitters, but Kira reassures him. Later, Kira hurts Sonny when she reveals that she was sent on a mission by the gods to make Xanadu happen. When she tells him that she is a muse from Mount Helicon, and is the daughter of Zeus, he thinks it is a joke and refuses to believe her. Then, she manipulates the actors from an old gangster movie on television to speak to him. As he reels from the shock, Kira explains that muses are supposed to inspire, not break the rules and fall in love, but she will always love him. She then disappears. The next day, Sonny sulks at the beach, but Danny convinces him that his love for Kira is worth a fight. Roller skating at the beach, Sonny comes across the mural of Kira and her sisters. He races toward the wall, crashes into it, and finds Kira on the other side. She warns him that no one has ever kidnapped a muse. Sonny and Kira argue that they are in love and should be together, but Zeus refuses to break the rules, and banishes Sonny. However, at the club’s opening, Kira appears after Zeus grants her a moment back on Earth. She dances and sings several numbers in various musical styles and in an array of costumes. Kira performs her last song with her sisters, then disappears. Sonny thinks Kira is gone for good, and dejectedly slumps in a booth. Danny orders him a drink. As Sonny reaches for his cocktail, he realizes his waitress is Kira, and she has not left after all. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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