27 July 2009

purple rain - 25 years later


July 27, 1984 Purple Rain was released. Twenty-five years later, the film stands the test of time as not only one of the greatest films of the 1980's, but one of the greatest of all time. I wouldn't put Purple Rain in my top 5, but it probably has a spot in the top 25. Since the passing of Michael Jackson a month ago, much debate has been made as to who is a better artist: Prince or MJ? Before you try to convince me that Bad, or any other song Jacko put out in the 80's could even hold a candle to the catalog of his purple majesty; consider this - during the summer of 1984 Prince had the number one album, single, and movie in the country. And if you're still not convinced, try this on for size from David Z the engineer from the album purple rain:
"I was mixing the soundtrack at a sound stage in Los Angeles. I pull up with two huge tapes under my arms, and I see Prince talking to somebody. "David, do you know Michael Jackson?" In this sound stage, there was a ping pong table. They come in with their bodyguards. Prince says, "You want to play ping pong?" Michael says, "I don't know how to play, but I'll try." The whole crew stops working to watch them play. Pretty soon, Prince says to Michael, "You want me to slam it?" Michael drops his paddle and holds his hands up in front of his face so the ball won't hit him. Needless to say, the game is over. Michael walks out with his bodyguard. And Prince starts strutting around like a rooster. "Did you see that? He played like Helen Keller."
That's right. Ping pong bitches....ping pong. Since the purple one immediately takes down any attempt to post his work on youtube, I'll leave you with the script from the final scene of Purple Rain, as it was written, this version of the script excludes his dedication to his father 'Francis L', as well as includes the part of Vanity before she was replaced by Apollonia:


MC
(over)
Ladies and gentlemen,
please welcome The Revolution!

Applause off screen. Prince stands
abruptly, straps on his guitar. His
Band Members look at him closely, trying
to discern his feelings. He gives them
a cursory glance, cuts out the door.

(111) INT. CLUB -- NIGHT

Prince hits the stage and the APPLAUSE
grows, but it' s nothing like the
exuberance that greeted Morris. He
moves center-stage and plants himself
there, his eyes staring into the
audience.

BILLY SPARKS
leans against the bar, a smug look on
his face.

VANITY
walks slowly up the stairs, gazes at
Prince.

PRINCE
does not move. The APPLAUSE trickles
away. He continues to stare in the
audience making no attempt to direct his
Band, or start a tune. A nervous
TWITTER ripples though the crowd. Those
who know about the tragedy feel a
profound embarrassment for him -- but no
one turns away. Then his voice comes
clear and mellifluous--

PRINCE
I would like to do a song that
two of my friends wrote.

A MURMUR, cuts through the Crowd like a
riptide. Prince snaps a look to Lisa
and Wendy and confirms that it is indeed
their song. They can't believe it!
Tears spring to Wendy's eyes before she
knows it ...

Prince smiles at her, then gazes at his
entire Band. Their eyes fasten on him
in an instant. He counts softly and...

MUSIC. The opening bars of "Purple
Rain." He turns to to the audience and
SINGS....

It's a ballad, a poem really, a plea for
understanding, love, and survival. It's
a testament, a pact if you will, between
himself and others...

The AUDIENCE is mesmerized, all EYES are
upon him -- but Prince doesn't notice.
Lips pressed against the mike, dark eyes
streaming, he's lost to himself now,
loosening all that's within him,
cleansing himself of his rage, hatred
and pain...

VANITY
is crying. Every moment she has shared
with him is expressed in this song, and
the effect on her is unnerving. Her
heart leaps to him in a way she never
thought possible. But she lets it go
willingly, as the words draw her in,
seducing her somehow, making her
free...as if the music, his words, all
that he has experienced and understood,
is purging what is confused and ugly
within herself, leaving her with an
understanding and joy that burns in her
womb like soft fire. A smile springs to
her lips as tears continue to flow, and
she finds herself moving closer...

...as the Audience moves closer, drawn
somehow to the stage, to the person who
SINGS so truly, to the person who gives
of himself unselfishly to all that he
feels...

Prince begins a long sustained CRY that
cuts though the hearts of all present.
The MUSIC builds awsomely, and he
continues to sing out, emptying himself
of all the remaining pain lying within.
The MUSIC crescendos and comes to a
quiet end...

Stunned SILENCE. A silence so profound
you could hear a pin drop. Prince
sighs, assumes the worse, then cuts
across the stage purposefully. Now some
CLAPPING. And a WHISTLE from the back
and the SHOUTING. And more WHISTLES and
some even SCREAMING. And the WHISTLES
and the SHOUTS and the CLAPPING growing
and growing as....

(112) INT. HALLWAY -- NIGHT

Prince cuts from the stage in a frenzy,
rushes toward the rear exit. The
APPLAUSE is building and building until
it's a THUNDER, an onrushing ROAR, an
avalanche of HYSTERIA that rocks the
club mightily...

PRINCE
is still running though, his face
streaming with tears, past the surprised
look of Jill, past the FANS, past
everyone -- stripping of his clothes
fiercely, flinging off his jacket, his
shirt, his scarf--

(113) EXT. BACK ENTRANCE, INT. HALLWAY -- CLUB -- NIGHT

He SMASHES open the door, BURSTS
outside. He sucks in the night air as
if he was drowning. He wipes away his
tears, rushes to his bike, starts to
undo the chain...

...they're SHOUTING his NAME...

Not randomly, not haphazardly, but...in
unison. And relentless, very demanding,
downright urgent, and...it's beautiful.

A wry smile crosses his lips. He heads
back to the door. Jill is there,
scared, her face a map of tears. He
flashes her a smile--

PRINCE
Hi.

She's thunderstruck, can barely squeak
it out--
JILL
Hi.

And he whips into the hallway. Her face
dissolves into a smile of pure joy.

(114) INT. CLUB -- NIGHT

MOVING now, FAST and FURIOUS. The
HALLWAY is LINED with PEOPLE. They
reach for him as he passes, touching
him, showering him with their love.
Someone hands him his shirt, another his
scarf -- it's so intense!

He's moving quickly now, his jacket up
ahead, closer...he stops suddenly,
stunned...

...Vanity is holding his jacket. He's
struck speechless -- she hands it to him
smiling, tears streaming down her face--

VANITY
I love you.

His knees go weak, she kisses him
spontaneously, pushes him lovingly to
the stage.

THE CROWD IS ROARING!

(115) INT. HALLWAY AND STAGE REAR -- NIGHT

He's half-running now like crazy -- his
Band is on-stage, peering anxiously into
the hallway. They spot him and relief
sweeps their faces like a tidal wave.
He whips his jacket on, rushes up the
stairs...
(116) INT. CLUB -- NIGHT
STAGE
THUNDER! Prince walks center-
stage...and bows. The AUDIENCE goes
BERSERK! He acknowledges Wendy and
Lisa, and then the entire Band. The
CROWD is jumping out of their skin! He
straps on his guitar, gives a deft
signal and--

MUSIC. The Band launches into "I Would
Die For You." Vanity squeezes her way
through the crowd and stands watching
Prince from the wings. He presses his
lips to the mike and SINGS.

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