Can't Stop the Music (1980)

PG | 118 mins | Musical comedy | 20 June 1980

Director:

Nancy Walker

Cinematographer:

Bill Butler

Editor:

John F. Burnett

Production Designer:

Harold Michelson

Production Companies:

Allan Carr Films, EMI FIlms, Inc.
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HISTORY

       As stated in production notes from AMPAS library files and a 16 May 1979 Var article, writer-producer Allan Carr had recently achieved box-office success with his 1978 film adaptation of the Broadway musical Grease (see entry) when he met the vastly-popular singing group Village People during the taping of a television performance. Knowing the group had a built-in audience of fans and that musical films were marketable, Carr came up with the original story of the picture, a fictionalized version of how the group was formed. According to Var, EMI Films and distributor Associated Film Distribution planned a 20 Jun 1980 release date for the picture before it went in production to “approximate” the 16 Jun 1978 release of Grease and the companies had already made "substantial bookings."
       A 28 Mar 1979 Var article referred to the film by its working title, The Music Never Ends, and stated that Grease screenwriter Bronte Woodard was hired to co-write the script with Bruce Vilanch. However, only Woodard and Carr are credited onscreen as writers. The 16 May 1979 Var article announced that actress Nancy Walker had been hired to make her directorial debut with the $10 million project, then titled Discoland... Where the Music Never Ends, and noted that principal photography was scheduled to begin 20 Aug 1979 in New York City and would continue for twelve weeks in Los Angeles and San Francisco, CA. However, a 29 Aug 1979 HR news item reported that the project began filming the previous day, on 28 Aug 1979, with ... More Less

       As stated in production notes from AMPAS library files and a 16 May 1979 Var article, writer-producer Allan Carr had recently achieved box-office success with his 1978 film adaptation of the Broadway musical Grease (see entry) when he met the vastly-popular singing group Village People during the taping of a television performance. Knowing the group had a built-in audience of fans and that musical films were marketable, Carr came up with the original story of the picture, a fictionalized version of how the group was formed. According to Var, EMI Films and distributor Associated Film Distribution planned a 20 Jun 1980 release date for the picture before it went in production to “approximate” the 16 Jun 1978 release of Grease and the companies had already made "substantial bookings."
       A 28 Mar 1979 Var article referred to the film by its working title, The Music Never Ends, and stated that Grease screenwriter Bronte Woodard was hired to co-write the script with Bruce Vilanch. However, only Woodard and Carr are credited onscreen as writers. The 16 May 1979 Var article announced that actress Nancy Walker had been hired to make her directorial debut with the $10 million project, then titled Discoland... Where the Music Never Ends, and noted that principal photography was scheduled to begin 20 Aug 1979 in New York City and would continue for twelve weeks in Los Angeles and San Francisco, CA. However, a 29 Aug 1979 HR news item reported that the project began filming the previous day, on 28 Aug 1979, with the new title Can’t Stop the Music. The name was reportedly changed to reflect the diverse musical styles included in the production and the filmmakers’ concerns about limiting its scope to the disco genre. A 30 Apr 1980 HR brief published after the production was complete listed the film’s cost at $20 million.
       Village People’s creators and managers, Jacques Morali and Henri Belolo, joined Carr as producers of the film in the early stages of development. An unnamed music critic cited in a 9 Sep 1979 LAT article stated that Morali, who is loosely depicted in the film as “Jack Morell,” created Village People with the intention of composing “disco songs spoofing homosexual fantasies” and then packaging “the whole enterprise with plenty of nonthreatening, good cheer to Middle America.” However, Morali’s true story of discovering the Village People and guiding the group to multi-million dollar success was highly augmented in the film.
       On 18 Oct 1979, Rolling Stone reported that Olivia Newton-John was previously attached to the project, but Carr refused her demand of a $750,000 salary. A 2 Sep 1979 NYT article suggested that former Village People lead singer Victor Willis, as well as actresses Chita Rivera and Pat Ast, were not cast for similar reasons. While a 6 Jun 1979 DV news item announced the casting of Olive Behrendt, she is not credited onscreen. The film marked Olympic decathlon gold-medalist Bruce Jenner’s feature film debut.
       As stated in production notes, rehearsals began Jul 1979 in Los Angeles and later resumed mid-Aug 1979 in New York City. Locations in the film include Washington Square in Greenwich Village, Times Square and the United Nations Plaza. The 2 Sep 1979 NYT article reported that the production schedule had been reduced to eleven weeks, with two weeks in New York City, eight weeks on Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM) sound stages in Los Angeles, and one week in San Francisco, where a musical finale was planned on the Golden Gate Bridge. Production notes stated that the finale employed the first professional model of the Louma camera crane that could rotate 360 degrees by remote control. A prototype of the crane had been used on 1941 (1979, see entry).
       Nancy Walker told NYT that the scene in which actor Steve Guttenberg roller-skates into a Shriners Parade was an accident; the crew kept filming because no one in the parade complained. An 8 Nov 1979 HR article, which reported that the production was approaching its final evening of principal photography, noted that Village People singer David Hodo, who performed as the group’s “construction worker” character, broke his chin after falling twelve feet during a musical routine. He was treated by a plastic surgeon and returned to set the same day.
       Reviews were mixed. While the Jul 1980 Film Journal lauded the film as “jubilant entertainment, the 7 Jul 1980 Time labeled it a “harmless, weightless enterprise.”
      The following acknowledgments appear in the end credits: “Special Thanks to Greg Gorman and Jeff Mont” and “Filmed in New York, San Francisco, Hollywood, and MGM Studios.”
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SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
Jul 1980.
---
Daily Variety
6 Jun 1979.
---
Film Journal
July 1980.
---
Hollywood Reporter
29 Aug 1979
p. 26.
Hollywood Reporter
8 Nov 1979.
---
Hollywood Reporter
30 Apr 1980.
---
Hollywood Reporter
12 Jun 1980
p. 3, 7.
Los Angeles Times
2 Sep 1979.
---
Los Angeles Times
9 Sep 1979
Calendar, p. 29.
Los Angeles Times
20 Jun 1980
p. 13.
New West
14 Jul 1980.
---
New York Times
2 Sep 1979.
---
New York Times
20 Jun 1980
p. 12.
Rolling Stone
18 Oct 1979.
---
Time
7 Jul 1980
p. 44.
Variety
28 Mar 1979
p. 7.
Variety
16 May 1979.
---
Variety
4 Jun 1980
p. 20.
Village Voice
17-23 Sep 1980
p.48.
CAST
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANIES
PRODUCTION TEXTS
EMI Films Presents
An Allan Carr Production
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Unit prod mgr
Asst dir
2d asst dir
Unit prod mgr, New York crew
2d asst dir, New York crew
2d unit dir
PRODUCERS
Prod
Assoc prod
WRITERS
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Cam op
Cam asst
Steadicam op
Stills
Key grip
Playback op
Dir of photog, New York crew
Cam op, New York crew
Gaffer, New York crew
Key grip, New York crew
Filmed with a Louma crane by
ART DIRECTORS
Prod illustrator
FILM EDITORS
Asst film ed
2d asst ed
Apprentice ed
Apprentice ed
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
Set dec
Prop master
Leadman
Asst prop
Const coord
Set des
Prop master, New York crew
Set dec, New York crew
COSTUMES
Cost des
Milk Shake and Galleria ensembles for Village Peop
Disco ensembles
Disco ensembles
Addl men's cost
Men`s cost
Women`s cost
MUSIC
Mus comp and prod
Mus scoring
Mus arr and cond
Orig world wide pub
Published in the USA by Can't Stop Music-BMI
Mus ed
Mus ed
Mus engineering consultant
SOUND
Prod mixer
Re-rec mixer
Re-rec mixer
Re-rec mixer
Re-rec mixer
Dial loop ed
Sd eff ed
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec eff
Electronic visual eff
Saddle Tramps disco lighting des by
Opticals by
Spec laser eff by
Main and end title seq des
DANCE
Mus staging and choreog
San Francisco finale des
San Francisco finale des
Asst choreog
Asst choreog
Dancer
Dancer
Dancer
Dancer
Dancer
Dancer
Dancer
Dancer
MAKEUP
Makeup artist
Makeup artist
Hairstylist
Hairstylist
PRODUCTION MISC
Co-ord consultant
Spec visual consultant
Asst to Village People
Asst to Village People
Unit pub
Transportation
Auditor
Catering
Scr supv
Dial coach
Loc mgr
Prod office coord
YMCA consultant
Asst to prod
Asst to prod
Asst to prod
Prod secy, New York crew
New York bits and extras, New York crew
Loc mgr, New York crew
Galleria consultant
Extra casting
Dance extra casting
Casting
Casting
STAND INS
Moped stuntman
Stick-up lady stunt
COLOR PERSONNEL
Col by
SOURCES
SONGS
“Can’t Stop The Music,” music by Jacques Morali, lyrics by Henri Belolo, Phil Hurtt, Beauris Whitehead
“Liberation,” music by Jacques Morali, lyrics by Henri Belolo, Phil Hurtt, Beauris Whitehead
“I Love You To Death,” music by Jacques Morali, lyrics by Henri Belolo, Phil Hurtt, Beauris Whitehead
+
SONGS
“Can’t Stop The Music,” music by Jacques Morali, lyrics by Henri Belolo, Phil Hurtt, Beauris Whitehead
“Liberation,” music by Jacques Morali, lyrics by Henri Belolo, Phil Hurtt, Beauris Whitehead
“I Love You To Death,” music by Jacques Morali, lyrics by Henri Belolo, Phil Hurtt, Beauris Whitehead
“YMCA,” music by Jacques Morali, lyrics by Henri Belolo, Victor Willis
“Magic Night,” music by Jacques Morali, lyrics by Henri Belolo, Victor Willis
“Milk Shake,” music by Jacques Morali, lyrics by Henri Belolo, Victor Willis
“Give Me A Break,” music by Jacques Morali, lyrics by Henri Belolo, The Ritchie Family, i.e. Vera Brown, Jacqui Smith-Lee, Dodie Draher
“Samantha,” vocals by David London, music by Jacques Morali, lyrics by Henri Belolo, Phil Hurtt
“The Sound Of The City,” vocals by David London, music by Jacques Morali, lyrics by Henri Belolo, Phil Hurtt
“Sophistication,” music by Jacques Morali, lyrics by Henri Belolo, Phil Hurtt
“I’m A Singing Juggler,” music by Jacques Morali, lyrics by Henri Belolo, Phil Hurtt.
+
DETAILS
Alternate Titles:
Discoland...Where the Music Never Ends
The Music Never Ends
Release Date:
20 June 1980
Premiere Information:
Los Angeles and New York openings: 20 June 1980
Production Date:
began 28 August 1979 in New York City
Copyright Claimant:
EMI FIlms, Inc.
Copyright Date:
8 July 1980
Copyright Number:
PA74808
Physical Properties:
Sound
Recorded in Dolby Stereo®
Lenses/Prints
Filmed in Panavision®
Duration(in mins):
118
MPAA Rating:
PG
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
25615
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

After composer Jack Morell quits his music store job in New York City, he meets his friend, Samantha “Sam” Simpson, at Washington Square Park and tells her he has been hired to be a guest disc jockey at Saddle Tramps nightclub. Jack is convinced the job will be his big break in the music business, but Sam thinks the loss of income spells disaster for Jack, who has been her house sitter. She promises to watch him at the club and he agrees to go to dental school if his music career fails. When Sam visits Jack in the Saddle Tramps deejay booth, he plays one of his own songs. The crowd gyrates to the music while Sam’s neighbor, Felipe Rose, dressed as a Native American, dances on stage. Sam asks Jack to make a demonstration tape so she can promote his music. While Jack works on new songs, Sam rejects a lucrative offer from agency owner Sydne Channing to return to modeling. Sydne vows to do whatever it takes to hire Sam for a dairy industry advertising campaign. As Jack plays his new music, Sam advises him to hire professional singers, but he complains about the high cost. In her neighborhood, Sam discovers that Felipe, cowboy Randy Jones, and construction worker David Hodo are singers, so she invites them to record a demo at her apartment that evening. Sam and her friend, Lulu Brecht, who is Sydne’s assistant, prepare dinner while Jack rehearses the singers. Tax attorney Ron White arrives with a cake from Sam’s sister, while Sam’s friend, Alicia Edwards, arrives with another singer, Ray Simpson, dressed as a motorcycle policeman. Before recording begins, ... +


After composer Jack Morell quits his music store job in New York City, he meets his friend, Samantha “Sam” Simpson, at Washington Square Park and tells her he has been hired to be a guest disc jockey at Saddle Tramps nightclub. Jack is convinced the job will be his big break in the music business, but Sam thinks the loss of income spells disaster for Jack, who has been her house sitter. She promises to watch him at the club and he agrees to go to dental school if his music career fails. When Sam visits Jack in the Saddle Tramps deejay booth, he plays one of his own songs. The crowd gyrates to the music while Sam’s neighbor, Felipe Rose, dressed as a Native American, dances on stage. Sam asks Jack to make a demonstration tape so she can promote his music. While Jack works on new songs, Sam rejects a lucrative offer from agency owner Sydne Channing to return to modeling. Sydne vows to do whatever it takes to hire Sam for a dairy industry advertising campaign. As Jack plays his new music, Sam advises him to hire professional singers, but he complains about the high cost. In her neighborhood, Sam discovers that Felipe, cowboy Randy Jones, and construction worker David Hodo are singers, so she invites them to record a demo at her apartment that evening. Sam and her friend, Lulu Brecht, who is Sydne’s assistant, prepare dinner while Jack rehearses the singers. Tax attorney Ron White arrives with a cake from Sam’s sister, while Sam’s friend, Alicia Edwards, arrives with another singer, Ray Simpson, dressed as a motorcycle policeman. Before recording begins, Sydne arrives uninvited, hoping to convince Sam to take the dairy association job. As the singers record Jack’s first tune, Ron complains that Sam’s friends are too weird and leaves. Meanwhile, Sam tells Jack she wants to broker the recording and publishing rights for his music. When Sam collects a pile of rejections from music company executives, Jack convinces her to contact her former lover, Steve Waits, at Marrakesh Records, and the music executive agrees to provide professional recording studio time. Sam lies by telling Steve that she is the manager of an undiscovered musical group and dashes Steve’s hope of having sex with her until her group gets a recording contract. Upon leaving Steve’s office, Ron White recognizes Sam, and apologizes for his previous behavior. When she refuses his dinner offer, he follows her home. Sam tells Jack that they have been given studio time; and when Jack wants to audition more musicians, Ron offers his office. Jack departs, leaving Ron to romance Sam. More singers are recruited after auditioning for the group, and later, Ron finds a free space at the YMCA to start rehearsals. Now known as the “Village People,” the group rehearses while Lulu choreographs their routine. At the demo session, the group’s music fails to interest Steve, who offers Sam an embarrassing low contract offer that she refuses. She then agrees to do the dairy industry commercial when the company agrees to hire Village People to do the music. However, when the finished commercial is too controversial to air, it is canceled. Instead, Sam and Jack book the group to perform at a charity party in San Francisco, California, hosted by Ron’s socialite mother, Norma. When Sam invites Steve to join her for the weekend in San Francisco, Ron becomes angry and possessive, but she tells him that they should maintain a business relationship. Instead of traveling to San Francisco with Steve on his private jet, Sam sends Jack and his mother, Helen Morell, a Broadway veteran, in her place. Helen negotiates a contract for the group, and when they land, Jack and the Village People have a two-record deal. Before the concert, Sam and Ron reconcile and decide to get married. On stage, the Village People excite the audience with their theatrical act and the event is a success. +

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

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