Sunday, July 09, 2017

TV review - "Raquel!" (1970) ***

There was a time when TV specials roamed the earth - stand alone episodes that focused on a particular entertainer. They'd normally do a bunch of songs have special guests. In many ways they were the fore-runner of video clips.

Nancy Sinatra did one, so did Herb Albert (Tom Mankiewicz wrote about working on them in his memoirs). This was Raquel Welch's one and it was popular enough to lead to a sequel, Really Raquel!

It's a bizarre thing, consisting of a series of video clips, really... Raquel doing covers of songs like "California Dreaming", "Good Morning Starshine". and "Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head".

There's appearances by John Wayne (plugging True Grit), Tom Jones (singing two songs including "I Who Have Nothing") and Bob Hope (whereupon a laugh track starts up, disconcertingly; they duet on "Rocky Racoon"). Raquel plays off all three well and I wish she'd made a movie with anyone of them - she worked best with strong co-stars, as with Frank Sinatra in Lady in Cement.

It's very campy - Raquel does a number dancing with spacemen, and imitates Mae West (ironic considering they would clash on Myra Breckenridge) - and very much a product of its era. Raquel can carry a song well enough, she can dance (it's a shame she didn't do more musicals), changes her outfits constantly, and is in a massive variety of locations.

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