Streets of Fire (1984) is a film directed by Walter Hill (48h Hrs), and co-written by Hill and Larry Gross. It was described in previews, trailers, and posters as "A Rock & Roll Fable." It is an unusual mix of musical, action, drama, and comedy with elements both of retro-1950s and 1980s. The film stars Michael Paré as a soldier of fortune who returns home to rescue his ex-girlfriend (Diane Lane) who has been kidnapped by Raven (Willem Dafoe).
The director Walter Hill set this sizzling rock-and-roll fable in a mythical Everymetropolis. He filled it with hot wheels, homey coffee shops, and macho saloons; split it into districts that suggest high-school cliques of greasers, preppies, and jocks; and studded it with fantastical details—the cops wear square-cut comic-book uniforms and drive stubby old Studebaker police cars. The result is a fast, tough, deadpan-funny pop epic about the Queen of the Hop getting kidnapped by the Leader of the Pack and rescued by the Soldier Boy—as well as a postmodern riff on the abduction of Helen of Troy. The heroine is a singer (Diane Lane), the villain is a biker-gang boss (Willem Dafoe), and the hero is a lone urban cowboy and Army veteran (Michael Paré). What makes this movie rock is its brooding visual textures and its hard-driving elastic beat. The cinematographer, Andrew Laszlo, bathes the dilapidated city in a magical half-light that's both vivid and unadorned. And, like the best rock musicians, the nimble-fingered editor Freeman Davies orchestrates tense, staccato effects into an overwhelming surge of imagery. Beneath the baroque surface, there's an authentic emotional core; Hill depicts a heroic yet ironic relationship with the fleeting, feral glamour and pure-blooded energy of youth. Released in 1984.
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Its dynamic musical score by Jim Steinman, Ry Cooder, and others, as well as the hit Dan Hartman song "I Can Dream About You", has helped it attain a cult following.
Dan Hartman's "I Can Dream About You" is the most successful song from this movie and became a Billboard top 10 hit in 1984. In the movie, the song is performed onstage at the end of the film by "THE SORELS," a fictional doo-wop style group consisting of actors Stoney Jackson, Grand L. Bush, Mykelti Williamson, and Robert Townsend. However, the song was actually sung for the film by Winston Ford, whose vocals were convincingly lip-synced by Jackson in the movie. There are thus two versions of the song, but the most popular was sung by Dan Hartman for commercial release. Ford's entire version has never been released commercially.
Michael Paré as Tom Cody
Diane Lane as Ellen Aim
Rick Moranis as Billy Fish
Amy Madigan as McCoy
Willem Dafoe as Raven Shaddock
Deborah Van Valkenburgh as Reva Cody
Richard Lawson as Officer Ed Price
Rick Rossovich as Officer Cooley
Bill Paxton as Clyde
Lee Ving as Greer
Marine Jahan as Torchie's Dancer
Ed Begley, Jr. as Ben Gunn
John Dennis Johnston as Pete the Mechanic
Lynne Thigpen as Subway Motorwoman
Stoney Jackson as Bird
Grand L. Bush as Reggie
Robert Townsend as Lester
Mykelti Williamson as B.J.
The concept for Streets of Fire came together during the making of 48 Hrs. and reunited director Walter Hill with producers Lawrence Gordon and Joel Silver, and screenwriter Larry Gross, all of whom worked together on that production. According to Hill, the film's origins came out of a desire to make what he thought was a perfect film when he was a teenager and put in all of the things that he thought were "great then and which I still have great affection for: custom cars, kissing in the rain, neon, trains in the night, high-speed pursuit, rumbles, rock stars, motorcycles, jokes in tough situations, leather jackets and questions of honor". The four men began planning Streets of Fire while completing 48 Hrs. Afterwards, Gross and Hill worked on the screenplay, writing ten pages a day. When they were finished, they submitted the script to Universal executive Bob Rehme on a Friday (in January 1983) and by the end of the weekend, the studio had given them the go-ahead to make the film.
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