Born To Boogie was, first and last, a celebration of the phenomenon of Marc Bolan. There was no plot, no message, no subliminal undertone; it was simply a huge self-congratulatory pat on the back for Bolan, being for the most part a simple account of a T. Rex concert at Wembley Empire Pool.
There was no attempt at documentary movie-making, no cinéma-vérité, with Ringo Starr at the helm and, indeed, helping out as one of the cameramen.
“The film was made,” said Bolan at the time, “purely as a piece of rock and roll entertainment. I feel it documents the phenomenon that has been T. Rex through the past year – and that was the purpose of the film initially. But as Ringo and I became more involved in the making of Born To Boogie we decided to add several more scenes – bringing in ‘accidental’ humour and to shoot actually live without dubbing”.
“By doing so we were endeavouring to get a spontaneity which does not come naturally from some films. In some of the scenes outside the concert, we let our imaginations take their courses and with the aid of props and a dwarf, let whatever happened, happen. And it did”.
“We made the film strictly for a teenage audience who demand youthful excitement at the cinema as well as on television and in the theatre. I think the film does that – no more, no less”.
Giant toothbrushes, dwarfs and a tiny non-singing role from Elton John notwithstanding, the audiences wanted to hear the hit records. They were rewarded with Jeepster, Children Of The Revolution, Telegram Sam, Hot Love, Get It On, plus one minute and twenty-one seconds of Tutti Frutti and odd snatches of Jessie May Robinson’s Some People Like To Rock.
Born To Boogie was largely seen in the spring of 1973 but failed to spark off riots or even elevate Marc Bolan’s career, which went into a depression shortly afterwards.
The overall impression – felt many critics – was that the movie was made because no pop star considered himself worthy of the description unless he had figured on celluloid.
While Bolan may indeed have been born to boogie, he was certainly not born to make films.