Classic of the Week: The Boyfriend (1971)


The Boyfriend is a 1971 British-American comedy musical film directed by Ken Russell an starring Twiggy, Christopher Gale, Tommy Tune and Max Adrian. It is an adaptation of the Sandy Wilson musical of the same name. In the 1920’s, after the lead star sprains her ankle, the assistant stage manager is forced to become the understudy, but while taking on the leading lady’s role, she becomes a huge star and finds love a long the way.

Twiggy, who was originally a model and fashion icon of the sixties, became a stage, screen and television actress in the early seventies. Maybe she should have just stuck to modeling or done something else altogether. She was not glamorous, by any means, but rather androgynous, thin and sometimes just cute. She was very thin like Audrey Hepburn, but lacked the elegance and grace and often times in this film, she came off as very awkward, a little mean at times and just okay at the singing and dancing.

The film features a lot of silly and cheesy songs and choreography, but some great costumes. It should’ve been shorter, being over two hours long is just plain torture, to have to sit and watch such a tawdry musical that is nowhere as good as more well known musicals. The entire film seemed like one big cheese fest taking place in the roaring twenties, set to song and dance.

I like Twiggy, I always have since a teenager, but she should have shied away from doing musicals, or just movies in general. She should have never been cast as the love interest of Tony Brockhurst, she was not ideal in any way for that kind of role. Christopher Gale did a fine job as Tony. Yes, he had some rather cheesy lines and choreography himself, but he outshined Twiggy (Polly Browne).

Normally, I love musicals, but this one far being anything great, even though it won numerous awards. Twiggy to me, brought the film down, along with the gaudiness of the entire film. The only good thing about this film, is the romanc and the dancing, everything else was like a broadway disaster The singing and dancing was far too much and there needed to more acting. No they didn’t sing everything instead of talk like a Jacques Demy musical, thank goodness, but there was two much “Broadway” and not enough drama and story.

The scenery and romance where by far the best things about this film. Sure it’s fun two watch Twiggy and Tony sing and dance, but this film lacks in drama and and it seems to be one performance after an other, with no real story, except Twiggy and Tony’s romance and she becoming a stage star. Not every musical is all performance after another, most Have drama that explains the story.

A great film for older kids and teenagers and families that like musicals. 8+ 3/5


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