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Behind the Burly Q- The Story of Burlesque in America
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Burlesque was one of America's most popular forms of live entertainment in the first half of the 20th century. Gaudy, bawdy and spectacular, the shows entertained thousands of paying customers every night of the week. And yet the legacy of burlesque is often vilified and misunderstood, and left out of the history books. By telling the intimate and surprising stories from its golden age through the women (and men!) who lived it, Behind the Burly Q reveals the true story of burlesque, even as it experiences a new renaissance.
DVD BONUS FEATURES INCLUDE: Three Featurettes:
- The Reunion
- Memorabilia & Costumes
- Behind the Scenes
Original Theatrical Trailer
Closed Captions. Color & b/w
Charming...a delight! It's great that Zemickis immortalized these women. --Manohla Dargis, The New York Times
A privileged front-row seat to the history of burlesque! Glorious ladies in their heyday...their long-ago stripteases still pack a sensual, sassy, what-the-hell punch, while juicy anecdotes run from raunchy to touching to funny to flat-out incredible. --Ronnie Scheib, Variety
Top Customer Reviews
Zemeckis, wife of producer/director/writer Robert Zemeckis, replaces anything that could be called judgmental with love. As she interviews these ladies, shows lengthy clips from their past and explains in a seemingly relaxed, but actually a strict and inclusive narrative, each element of life connected with this art form, this world of glamour and glitz comes back with a rosy hue. Yet Zemeckis never turns from the darker side of this life: exploitation, drug addiction, the mob, alcoholism and suicide. When one of the ladies is asked if she'd do it again or if she'd change anything as she looked back on what must be three quarters of a century, she explains with a gargantuan smile that she'd do it again . . . and not change a thing. That's love, commitment to art, and certainly a life well spent.Read more ›
Although there were some downbeat components to burlesque--in fact, many of the earliest performers hailed from difficult or abusive backgrounds--the film doesn't' wallow in negative. The ladies interviewed seem to be proud of their status and contribution, as if the stage offered them an escape and not merely exploitation. In those days, it could lead to power, fame and (most importantly) financial stability. And it wasn't just about baring it all, there was an artistic component and outlet involved. I kept thinking about the musical "Gypsy" and the number You Gotta Get A Gimmick (and indeed, the real Gypsy Rose Lee is featured in the film's background material), and the individual ladies often did have a singular claim to fame.Read more ›
"Behind The Burly Q"
Directed by Leslie Zemeckis
This bare-bones documentary (no pun intended) looks back at the golden years of American burlesque theater, a low-rent, erotically charged offshoot of the world of vaudeville, where comedians and musical acts shared the stage with young girls who did striptease acts and pushed the envelope of social propriety. Director Leslie Zemeckis (wife of mega-producer Robert Zemeckis) conducted several years of first-person interviews with a number of veteran performers, including many of the most famous striptease artists, along with club owners and other performers, telling their own stories about the glories and the misery of their profession. They are pretty frank about the downsides -- alcoholism and drug use, grubby venues, sexual harassment, legal hassles -- but most also look back fondly at the camaraderie and air of genial competitiveness, and at the excitement of being in show biz and finding a way out of the economic hard times of their Great Depression backgrounds. There are also connections to the wider world of famous entertainers: Alan Alda recalls being on tour with his father, actor Robert Alda, who worked as an emcee in the burlesque circuit, and at the decency and kindness of the performers he met as a child; others recall the days when Abbott & Costello warmed up the crowds with their comedy act. It's not a rosy-eyed, nostalgic look back, but even in their seventies and eighties, the interviewees have such large, generous personalities that it's hard not to be drawn in and charmed by their stories.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I didn't know that Alan Alda's father was in burlesque. (Not surprised, just wasn't something I'd heard before this. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Zoo D.
A throw back to old school sexy, this DVD features commentary from the original stars, over original photos and footage. Read morePublished 14 months ago by izzy
Extraordinary documentary because it was informative and so entertaining! A very sexy tease indeed. Loved the narration by Alda, enjoyed the editing of the film. Read morePublished 16 months ago by Teresa W.
Ok for an historical view point, tries to cover has much as possible, which is good even thought it is too long.Published 18 months ago by benlib
An excellent education is provided, a thorough presentation from all angles. Well done and fun. Hopefully this entertainment form will return. Read morePublished on August 20, 2014 by Don Lewis
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