Stardust (1974)

R   |    |  Drama, Music

Stardust (1974) Poster

The rise and fall of the rock singer Jim Maclaine, in the mid 60s, with his manager, Mike, and his group, "The Stray Cats."


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1 June 2006 | CosmicDwellings
| "Look what they've done to the Rock 'n' Roll clown..."
"Stardust"...the continuing story of young Jim Maclaine (David Essex) from "That'll Be The Day" is an excellent 'must-see' sequel.

The story not only portrays the development of Maclaine's aspiring musical ambitions, but is a very insightful depiction of how the music business can be unpredictably cruel and coarse.

Ray Connolly is at the helm as writer once again along with David Puttnam and Sanford Lieberson producing. But, it is Michael Apted taking the reigns as Director in this second movie.

The nature of the story calls for another strong supporting cast and this is achieved with not only Essex maturing very well in the lead role, but with the addition of 60's pop idol, Adam Faith and future "Dallas" star, Larry Hagman. Faith's portrayal of Mike Menary, the manager of Maclaine's rock band, "The Stray Cats", cuts a brutally shrewd and dark figure. Hagman, in the role of Porterlee Austin, portrays a flamboyant personality as his character name suggests. Both of these characters eventually have one thing in common - money. But, it's Messrs. Faith and Hagman who virtually steal the whole film together because of their 'meaty' characterisations.

To add authenticity to the role of the rock band in the movie, Dave Edmunds is on hand in a supporting role along with writing and producing the band's songs. Keith Moon reprises his role from "That'll Be The Day" as the drummer and Paul Nicholas cuts a fine 'jealous' figure in the form of 'Knee-tremble Johnny'. And, Rosalind Ayres once again portrays Jim's wife, Jeanette.

The story takes up three years later where "That'll Be The Day" left off, and is a roller-coaster ride of sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll sixties-style. The film covers a wide canvas between England, Spain and the USA and is beautifully filmed. It was made in 1974 and even then comes across as controversial for the time with some very memorable scenes. One of the scenes I particularly remember is when the band meet up in a Vegas showroom and during a heated discussion Jim Maclaine points to Stevie (Karl Howman) and matter of factly points out: "If it weren't for me you'd still be catching crabs in Oldham!". This certainly puts the place of my birth on the map. Finally, there is an equally enjoyable soundtrack that oozes the changing styles of Rock and Pop music from a distant time. Also, the ending is a killer...but won't really leave you in a state of shock.

"Stardust" is a wonderful piece of cinema that the British film industry should be very proud of.

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