Worth reading: 'Music on Film ... Purple Rain' shows why the film endures
Okay, Darling Nikki, you may think you know everything about Prince's Purple Rain, but a new book by John Kenneth Muir quickly proved at least myself wrong on that account. At about 150 pages and just four chapters, Music on Film ... Purple Rain feels more like a weighty Wikipedia item sometimes -- I read it start to finish in a couple hours in a single night -- but don't let the width of the book distract you.
Thanks to interviews with some of the stars, the producer and director, the author packs each pages with items that will impress even hardcore fans. (Sorry, no actual Prince interview here. The Purple One is just as elusive with this author as he is with most of his watchers.)
Here are a few things I didn't know before reading Muir's book:
- The original title of the movie, as conceived by Prince, was Dreams. And in the original incarnation, his on-screen father dies after his suicide attempt.
- Speaking of his father, actor Clarence Williams III was one of the very few actors on screen with any acting experience. The rest were subjected to acting and dancing classes before production began. Morris Day, however, was so disruptive during class that the teacher threw him out.
- Albert Magnoli stumbled into the job of directing Purple Rain after just about every other director with experience turned down the job. It was Magnoli's student film at USC (Jazz) and his editing work on 1984's Reckless that essentially got him the job.
- Though Graffiti Bridge is sometimes considered a sequel to Purple Rain, an actual Purple Rain 2 was planned, with the spotlight this time on Morris Day and Jerome in Las Vegas. It couldn't get a green light from studios.
Purple Rain ... Music on Film is due out on April 10 from Limelight Editions.