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Came across this little gem while doing some research, I'd never heard of it so grabbed a copy and was surprised at how good it was. Flame or Slade In Flame (1975) features the English glam rock band Slade, at the height of their fame. Most famous for their perennial Christmas hit Merry Xmas Everybody, from 1973. The lads from Wolverhampton, despite not being actors, pull off a decent rock music based movie as the band of the title "Flame". Along with a supporting cast of some of the best of 70s British B-movie actors.
The story isn't unusual, the lads play in different rival bands and eventually come together and rise to stardom. Only to collapse as they reach their peak. The movie sit alongside the 1974 movie Stardust, which was a sequel to the 1973 That'll Be The Day. Both movies I rate as examples of early 70s popular cinema in the UK. Flame complements and in places surpasses both of these movies.
The band Slade are from what is known as the Black Country part of the British Isles. And their sardonic dark sense of humour is well represented in the movie. Adding a sense of real life git to what otherwise could have been a piece of over-blown promotional vehicle for the band. The band (as with many movies that feature untrained actors in lead roles purely based on their fame) actually pull off a half-decent acting job. Noddy, steals scenes, as you would expect from the charismatic clown. Over all the movie still holds up, as a commentary on the trials and tribulations of the music industry. The circling sharks involved in the industry and how musicians are easily exploited. It's not a jolly watch, it has a gritty realism and depth akin to the kitchen-sink dramas of the era. A movie about class divides, that could well sit alongside the likes of movies by Ken Loach and Mike Leigh. Yes I said it, that's where it belongs. Displaying the realities of what it was like for bands in the period (and possibly ever since) trying to make it in the music industry. The renowned British film critic Mark Kermode described it as the Citizen Kane of British rock movies. Not that great an accolade, when you consider what it stands among... Now that could be a list to do!!!
Weird Retro Fact: The album of the movie came out before the movie and reached #6 in the UK.