In this unofficial sequel to Purple Rain (1984), The Kid (Prince) is now partners with the venal Morris Day in the Glam Slam nightclub. But Day, whose lust for villainy is matched only by the size of his wardrobe and the length of his car, wants complete control.
Into this tug-of-war falls Aura (Ingrid Chavez), an angel sent to make peace between the warring factions.
The plot mirrors Prince’s dual obsessions with religion and sex. He falls deliriously in love with Aura and finds his salvation but the theme is handled with little of the skill that made his albums intriguing.
The film looks marvellous, set in an interracial, blue-and-white neon bathed urban netherworld called Seven Corners where the main street is lined with such hot nightspots as the Clinton Club (run by George Clinton, not Bill!), Mavis Staple’s Melody Cool and Prince and Day’s Glam Slam.
But the songs in Graffiti Bridge are inferior to those in Purple Rain and the weak story is just an excuse to stitch together some splashy video music sequences. Chavez’s acting is just two steps removed from catatonia while Day’s once-charming showboat of a character is now just obnoxious.
Madonna had been Prince’s first choice for Aura, the Kid’s angelic muse. She turned it down, calling the screenplay “a piece of shit”.
The film’s critical and financial failure led Prince to quit acting (he only played minor roles or made cameos in films and television after this).
Levi Seacer Jr.
Garry ‘Jellybean’ Johnson