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Fame is a American musical film conceived and produced by David De Silva, directed by Alan Parker, and written by Christopher Gore. The film follows a group of students through their studies at the New Yorkmarker High School of Performing Arts (which later merged with the High School of Music and Art to become the Fiorello H.marker LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Artsmarker). The film is split into sections corresponding to auditions, freshman, sophomore, junior and senior years. The film ranked number 42 on Entertainment Weekly's 2006 list of the "50 Best High School Movies".

The film has spawned a television series and spin-off, a stage musical, and a 2009 film remake.

Title

The original screenplay was titled Hot Lunch and this was the title for the film until part-way through shooting when Director Alan Parker noted a pornographic film showing on 42nd Streetmarker with the same title. For the rest of the shooting schedule of 14 weeks the script was just labelled "title".

Plot

Auditions

The film opens with students auditioning for admittance. Those admitted include:

Several of the teachers are also introduced:
  • Miss Berg - Dance (Joanna Merlin)
  • Mr. Farrell - Drama (Jim Moody)
  • Ms. Grant - Dance (Debbie Allen)
  • Mrs. Sherwood - English (Anne Meara)
  • Mr. Shorofsky - Music (Albert Hague)


Freshman year

Students learn on the first day of classes that academics are weighted equally with performance. Leroy clashes with Mrs. Sherwood in English class. Doris is overwhelmed by the energy and spontaneity in the lunchroom and flees, meeting Montgomery.

As the year progresses, Coco tries to convince Bruno to book performing gigs with her. Doris and Montgomery become friends, and Doris worries that she's too ordinary against the colorful personalities of the other students. Leroy and Mrs. Sherwood continue to clash over Leroy's refusal to do homework (Leroy is illiterate and ashamed to admit it). Bruno and his father argue over Bruno's reluctance to play his music publicly. Coco tells Bruno of her belief that she's "doing my last dance on this dark little planet" so it has to be spectacular. Miss Berg warns Lisa she is not working hard enough. Graduating senior Michael (Boyd Gaines) wins a prestigious scholarship and tells Doris that the William Morris Agency wants to send him out for auditions for television pilots.

Sophomore year

New student Hilary van Doren (Antonia Franceschi) joins the school, and she and Coco clash over Leroy. Hilary seduces him. Bruno and Mr. Shorofsky debate the merits of traditional orchestras versus synthesized instruments. As an acting exercise, students have to divulge a painful memory. Ralph tells of learning about the death of Freddie Prinze. Doris relates her humiliation at being forced by her stage mother to sing at a child's birthday party. Montgomery discusses discovering his homosexuality, in the process coming out to the school, for which he is teased by Ralph wearing The Rocky Horror Picture Show-style drag. Bruno's father plays Bruno's music (the title song Fame) outside the school, inspiring the student body to dance in the streets. Miss Berg drops Lisa from the dance program, and Lisa, after initially apparently considering suicide, instead drops her dance clothes on the subway tracks and declares "Fuck it, if I can't dance I'll change to the drama department."

Junior year

Ralph and Doris discover their mutual attraction, but their growing intimacy leaves Montgomery feeling excluded. Hilary brings Leroy home to shock her father and stepmother. Ralph's young sister is attacked by a junkie and Ralph lashes out at his mother's attempts to comfort the child by taking her to the local Catholic church, instead of to a doctor. Doris also begins to question her Jewish upbringing, changing her name to "Dominique DuPont." She and Ralph attend a screening of The Rocky Horror Picture Show at the 8th Street Playhouse, and during the "Time Warp" Doris rips off her blouse and joins the stage show. She becomes giddy the next day as she realizes that as an actress she can put on any personality she wants, but is sobered upon running into Michael, struggling as an actor and waiting tables.

Senior year

Ralph follows in the footsteps of his idol Freddie Prinze and performs stand-up comedy at Catch a Rising Star and garners some initial success. He falls into a hard-party lifestyle and strains his relationship with Doris. Given a prime spot at a comedy club, he bombs after clashing with both Doris and Montgomery over his new lifestyle. Disgusted with himself, he believes his career is over, but Montgomery comforts him by telling him that bombing is part of the entertainment business. Hilary is offered a spot with the San Francisco ballet and, to take it, has an abortion. Coco is approached in a diner by a sleazy guy claiming to be a director. She goes to his apartment for a "screen test" and he forces her to undress in front of the camera. Leroy is offered a spot in Alvin Ailey's dance company, but to be accepted he must graduate. He finds Mrs. Sherwood outside her husband's hospital room and lashes out at her. She lashes back and, chagrined, he comforts her.

At graduation, the student body performs the finalé, "I Sing the Body Electric". The opening lines are sung by Lisa, Coco, and Montgomery.

Locations

The film was not filmed at the actual High School of Performing Arts due to worries by the school board, instead the externals were shot using a former church on the opposite side of the same road. A disused school, Harlem Highmarker, was converted as a replacement and used for the majority of internal scenes including the finalé.

Music

The score of the film won the Academy Award for Best Original Score.

Awards and nominations

Academy Awards



BAFTA Awards



Golden Globes



Franchise and spin-offs

Fame spawned a television series of the same name, a spin-off TV series, and a musical that has played on Londonmarker's West Endmarker since 1995. MGM/UA has since produced a remake of this film, released in 2009. The remake received mixed to generally negative reviews in contrast to the original, with the Razzies even currently considering it the worst film of the year.

MGM owns the Fame franchise,

References

  1. "The 50 Best High School Movies", Entertainment Weekly #897 September 15, 2006
  2. Commentary by Alan Parker, Fame DVD release 2007
  3. Fame the Musical official site


External links




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