Sunday, July 02, 2017

Movie review - "Flareup" (1969) **

A not particularly well known movie despite having the sort of one line concept that you'd think people would go for: Raquel Welch is a dancer in Las Vegas who sets out to avenge the death of her friend, a fellow dancer.

We know who did it straight away - we see Luke Askew gun down the girl - when some mystery might have been more useful. The handling is very late 60s network TV, as is the plotting. To be fair, TV from this time was often stronger in its handling.

There are some breasts on display from some of the dancers but Raquel is surprisingly covered up. It's a good role for her - she's brave, spirited, a bit nihilistic in her life, is the focus of attention.. It's got to be said she's not very good - her awkwardness and inexperience clearly shows. I think she needed to be protected more. And wear better outfits - if she didn't want to show off skin she should at least have changed outfits every scene and danced more.

Her best moments come in the love scenes with James Stacy - a virile, confident actor who never became a big star but who is comfortable on screen (and later lost an arm and leg in an accident and was arrested for molesting young girls; he tried to kill himself by jumping off a cliff but caught a ledge on the way down and survived!). These two have good chemistry - not sure if the director spent more time on the scenes or Welch and he rehearsed or she just lifted around him.. but she's at her most natural and relaxed with him.

Luke Askew is a good psycho. The characters of the fellow dancers and investigating police officer feel stock - I kept wanting to know more, to have them flip the story on its head somehow. As it is, the film is very linear.

The movie was produced by a company financed by one of the Getty family. It was released through MGM.

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