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Wednesday, August 3, 2011

The above video shows three takes from an early concept for Bruce Springsteen's Dancing In The Dark video, directed by Jeff Stein. As Billboard reported back in 1984, Stein's concept was rejected by Springsteen, who then hired Brian De Palma to work on it. Note that the version prior to De Palma did not feature any scene where the singer picks a girl from the crowd to come up onstage and dance with the star. It seems likely that this was De Palma's idea, as he had wanted to include something along those lines, albeit more elaborate, in the unproduced Fire, a rock-themed film he had written around that time that was based on Jim Morrison. In De Palma's version of the video (see below), Springsteen keeps some of the Stein video's dance moves, which in the Stein version seem kind of like John Mellencamp channeling Olivia Newton-John by way of Loverboy. Really, though, I think Springsteen was attempting to channel some kind of Elvis spirit, and in the De Palma video, Springsteen's look seems to harken back to the fifties and sixties, with just a subtle silky hint of Prince, who was making it big with Purple Rain around the time the video was filmed in Saint Paul, Minnesota. Meanwhile, setting up the big dance scene at the end, De Palma throws in an early shot from the point of view of the girl (Courtney Cox). At one point, he shows Springsteen facing the camera with the crowd of thousands behind him. In keeping with the purpose of the genre of the music video, De Palma keeps the focus on his star, but can't help the subtle nod to the audience, even placing some of them behind the stage to cheer on this oddly cheerful Dionysian figure, maybe not starting fires, but working up a spark, nonetheless.

Posted by Geoff at 12:26 AM CDT
Updated: Wednesday, August 3, 2011 12:28 AM CDT
Post Comment | View Comments (3) | Permalink | Share This Post

Wednesday, August 3, 2011 - 8:23 AM CDT

Name: "truleigh"

IMO, Bruce picking the girl from the crowd symbolises the elimination of the border between reality (crowd) and fantasy (her experience of the concert), cf. Phantom of The Paradise (and Woody Allen's Purple Rose Of Cairo a.o.)

Wednesday, August 3, 2011 - 9:08 AM CDT

Name: "Geoff"
Home Page: http://www.briandepalma.org

I agree, it does have that sort of element, albeit with a lighter touch, of course, than that of PHANTOM OF THE PARADISE.

Thursday, August 4, 2011 - 2:24 AM CDT

Name: "rado"
Home Page: http://rado.bg

thanks for the interesting find and the illuminating lecture about the pop scene of the early 1980s :)

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