Here is greatness...Wonder...Majesty...A motion picture no human words can describe...But wich every human heart can feel...And Share...
In 1981, with tongue firmly in cheek, Madness and their video director and Stiff Records boss Dave Robinson embarked on the somewhat more ambitions task of a full length feature about the band's formative years up until they attempt to get all band members together and into pathway recording studios to record their first single, 'The Prince'.
Made on a shoe-string budget, and with some decidedly-ham acting, the film is quite a charming account of a group of mates and chancers from around Camden Town peroidically kicking each other out of the band while diverting their attentions from other sorts of mischief. For the film buffs among you, it is worth checking out the obvious visual homage to Scorsese's Mean Streets, with much claustrophobic clubs and bars in dim red light and Mike Barson arguably taking a visual cue from De Niro's 'Johnny Boy Civello' character. One scene of the band escaping from a milee down an alleyway was virtually lifted directly from Scorsese's debut. The film was also claimed to be a reaction to the depressive portrait of a band being manipulated after finding success that was Hazel O'Connor's 'Breaking Glass' released a year previously.
Complimenting the film was 'The Nutty Film Book', with interviews, stills, a discography, free poster and free flexidisc with out-takes from the film. The book/mag reveals a band settling in to their consistant chart success, looking much more a pop group than the skinhead / rude boys of a year or two previously. Maybe not quite full of wonder and majesty, but worth a flick through none the less...
Scans courtesy of Mike Cornwell & Chris Dabbs.