Monday, March 21, 2011

Satine’s show must go on

Media Moment: Moulin Rouge
Queen-related: The Show Must Go On

I can’t remember exactly why I went to see Moulin Rouge in the theatre when it came out in 2001. I suspect my wife wanted me to go but I ended up being pleasantly surprised for two reasons:

1) After hearing Kiss, David Bowie, and other 70s staple songs being used as storytelling devices early in the film, I wondered if Queen would make an appearance in the track listing somewhere. Sure enough, near the climax of the film, I heard the unmistakable opening lines to TSMGO sung by Jim Broadbent and Nicole Kidman. Ha! My intuition was right.

2) Having not seen a Baz Luhrmann film, I was amazed at the level of detail he achieved in recreating a Victorian-era Paris. And his unique style of directing was also interesting to me (although Australia fell far short of my expectations after becoming a fan through MR).

An aspect of MR that I’ve grown fond of over the years is the spectrum of multinational talent that went into the film and its soundtrack. Kidman, an Australian thespian, plays a French courtesan who is pursued by Ewan McGregor, a Scottish actor playing an English ex-pat writer, while the production of the film was at Fox Studio in Australia and directed by an Australian with a large portion of the soundtrack produced by David Foster, a Canadian.

Of course, I never would have taken a serious interest in the soundtrack had Lurhmann declined to release Vol. 2 of songs featured in the film (which includes TSMGO); a track listing much more exciting than Vol. 1, in my opinion.

I didn’t notice it in my earlier viewing of MR, but last night I recall seeing a song and dance medley early on in the film that included Smells Like Teen Spirit by Nirvana, which reminded me of the Freddie reference in Kurt Cobain’s suicide note. Another connection to Queen, albeit morbid, in this film.

Lara Mulcahy is listed as a performer in MR and I looked her up on iMDB to see if she’s related to fellow Australian, Russell Mulcahy, of which there are numerous Queen connections. She was born in 1969 but nothing more than that. Russell Mulcahy, on the other hand, was born in 1953 so I don’t think she is his daughter, and he’s probably too old to be a sibling. Maybe they’re cousins. Or not.

Hey, there’s another Queen connection . . . Pink, who collaborated with three other divas on Lady Marmalade from MR, went on to do that infamous We Will Rock You video — disguised as a Pepsi commercial — with Britney and Beyonce; as well as her own concert performance of Bohemian Rhapsody.

So did Nicole Kidman and Jim Broadbent spend countless hours listening to Innuendo to get the subtleties of TSMGO down pat? If so, I wonder if their own appreciation of Queen took on new meaning for them simply because it was part of their job?

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