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  Born to Boogie T. RextasyBuy this film here.
Year: 1972
Director: Ringo Starr
Stars: Marc Bolan, Ringo Starr, Mickey Finn, Elton John, Geoffrey Bayldon, George Claydon, Hilary Bluebyrd, Steve Currie, Bill Legend, Mune Light, Chelita Secunda
Genre: Music
Rating:  7 (from 1 vote)
Review: Rock band T. Rex, led by frontman Marc Bolan, are back in Britain after six months touring and ready to blow the home audience away. This is a recording of that concert, and starts with them playing Jeepster to a crowd of adoring fans, a mix of screaming girls and grooving guys who lap up every note that Marc sings and strums on his electric guitar. This is not all about the concert footage, however, as later there will be a mix of sessions and filmed interludes, all of which do their best to capture that mercurial pop pixie himself - with a little help from director Ringo Starr.

It's only fitting that one of the Beatles should have, in effect, passed the torch from their band, whose Beatlemania had gripped the world, to the new standard bearers of global musical popularity T. Rex: certainly this could not have been lost on the audiences who went to see Born to Boogie back in 1972 when Bolan was enjoying his most profitable year since... well, since 1971. For two or three years he was massively successful, and even when the hits started stalling at lower chart positions he was still held in great affection by the public and his peers.

This film captures that energy of a man who can do no wrong in the eyes of his fans, and if you were not a fan you couldn't help but hear his tunes and think, you know, he's on to something with this glam rock. Plenty of artists followed this trend, from the unpretentious Slade (who also made a film) to the jokey Mud, but it was Bolan who seemed to put it across with more perfection than any of them, and there were some excellent records made at the height of glam. He was one of those British rock stars who, if you had never heard of him, would sound ridiculous if described to you, yet in performance made you believe every note.

If there was a whiff of affectation about Born to Boogie, it was never in the stage sequences. Mostly this is reserved for the Magical Mystery Tour-inspired bits in between where Bolan cavorts with Starr, Elton John and right hand man/bongo player Mickey Finn in scenes such as the one which arrives near the start, where Ringo, dressed in a mouse costume, drives up to the camera in a sports car with Marc perched on the back of it, they exchange a few impenetrable words, and dwarf George Claydon (also part of the Beatles' Magical Mystery Tour) begins to eat the vehicle.

What does it all mean? Nothing more than simple messing about, but where in the Fab Four's folly this kind of thing became tiresome, here you're never more than a minute away from some great music. Bits such as Marc and Ringo laughing their heads off while trying to deliver some serious lines show them in an endearing light, and the tea party where there are about a hundred shots of people eating with rather too much gusto is enlivened by some acoustic versions, complete with string quartet, of T. Rex hits. It's the concert where the band truly shines, however, storming through versions of their most popular tunes that sound every bit the equal of their masterful pop records. In fact, it's all over a little too soon: we could have done with a couple more songs to beef up the running time.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

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