Racism, corruption and underworld violence abound as junior record company producer Coleman Buckmaster (Harvey Keitel) hypes his down’n’dirty R&B charges, The Group (played by members of Earth, Wind & Fire) to stardom from their humble beginnings in a scuzzy dancehall – not so much Studio 54, more Studio Filthy Floor.
But evil and gang warfare lurk just around the corner . . .
Buckmaster is eager to record with The Group but his rigidly commercial label (A-Kord Records) wants him to produce a hit single for the hideously insipid Carpenters-like wholesome family trio The Pages, comprising smarmy pedophile step-dad Franklyn (a perfectly vile Bert Parks), bitchy, neurotic daughter Velour (Cynthia Bostick), and hedonistic smack addict son Gary (former 50’s juvenile sitcom staple Jimmy Boyd).
Praised for its gritty, documentary feel on its release – it remains one of the best warts-and-all depictions of how a talented producer can take a terrible song and turn it into infectious AM radio pop – the film hasn’t dated particularly well, and scenes like Keitel visiting his down-at-heel former jazz pianist father (Murray Moston) and giving him a bag of cocaine as a gift now appear unintentionally hilarious.
Earth Wind & Fire
Francesca De Sapio
Big John Little (DJ)
Murray the K