1973 – The Rocky Horror Show, starring Tim Curry, opens at a…

Tim Curry in “The Rocky Horror Picture Show”

Tim Curry in “The Rocky Horror Picture Show”

1973 – The Rocky Horror Picture Show, starring Tim Curry, opens at a London theater,. Also, making his first time ever appearance is Meatloaf.

The Rocky Horror Picture Show is a 1975 musical comedy film that parodies science fiction and horror films. With a screenplay written by Richard O’Brien and Jim Sharman, the film features Tim Curry, Susan Sarandon and Barry Bostwick. The film is based on the British musical stage production The Rocky Horror Show.

The film is considered a cult classic and a midnight movie, although it is widely known by mainstream audiences and has a large international following. RHPS was the first movie from a major film studio — 20th Century Fox — in the midnight-movie market. The movie is one of the most well known and financially successful midnight movies. It is the longest running theatrical release in film history. More than 30 years later it is still in limited release in cinemas around the world. In 2005, the film was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant”.

The story, narrated by a criminologist (Charles Gray), is that of a newly engaged young couple, Brad Majors (Barry Bostwick) and Janet Weiss (Susan Sarandon), who find themselves lost on a cold and rainy late November evening. Seeking a phone from which to call for help, the two find shelter at a nearby castle inhabited by strange and outlandish characters who are holding an Annual Transylvanian Convention. They watch, still wet from the rain, as the Transylvanians dance the Time Warp, the film’s signature song.

They are soon swept into the world of Dr. Frank-N-Furter (Tim Curry), a self-proclaimed “sweet transvestite from Transsexual, Transylvania” and his servants, siblings Riff Raff (Richard O’Brien) and Magenta (Patricia Quinn), as well as groupie Columbia (Nell Campbell) and an ensemble of convention attendees. It is Furter’s intention to unveil the “secret to life itself”. In a scene inspired by Frankenstein movies, “Rocky Horror” (Peter Hinwood) is brought to life. After the disoriented Rocky is chased down by Frank, the party is interrupted by Eddie (Meat Loaf), an ex-delivery boy, who rides out of a deep freeze on a motorcycle. The scene ends with his bloody death at the hands of Furter.

Brad and Janet are shown to separate rooms where their host has his way with both. Janet, overcome with emotion, wanders off looking for Brad. She discovers a cowering Rocky, hiding in his birth tank from Riff Raff, who torments the creature much as Igor tormented Frankenstein’s monster. Janet, having discovered Brad’s infidelity, chooses to take advantage of the situation with Rocky. After discovering the “Creature” is missing, Frank, Brad, and Riff Raff return to the lab where they learn that an intruder has entered the building. Dr. Everett Scott (Jonathan Adams), Brad and Janet’s old high school science teacher, has come looking for Eddie, who is his nephew. It is at this point that Rocky and Janet are discovered hiding together. In a scene added specifically for the film version, the new guests are prepared a dinner consisting of Eddie’s remains. After they see what they have consumed, horror and disgust lead to a chase after Janet who runs screaming from the room. Frank captures all, temporarily turning them into statues and commanding them to participate in a cabaret-style floor show. The performance is disrupted by Riff Raff and Magenta, who kill Columbia, Frank, and Rocky. They release the earthlings—Brad, Janet, and Dr. Scott—as the castle takes off into space to return to the planet of Transsexual, in the galaxy of Transylvania.

Production

Based on the London stage production The Rocky Horror Show, by Richard O’Brien, The Rocky Horror Picture Show is slightly different from its original theatrical conception. In the production of the film, many of the original aspects from the Kings Road stage production changed, as did characters and dialogue, although many cast- and crew-members from its original production returned to work on the film. Director Jim Sharman, production designer Brian Thomson, and costume designer Sue Blane collaborated on the original London production with many of the cast that made it into the film version. Tim Curry reprised his role from the London and Los Angeles stage productions. After the film, Curry also did a short run on Broadway as Dr. Frank-N-Furter. Creator Richard O’Brien also returned for the film from the British stage team, as did Little Nell (Columbia) and Patricia Quinn (Magenta). Jonathan Adams, the narrator from the original cast, also returned for the film, instead playing Dr. Scott. The film was shot at Bray Studios and Oakley Court, a country house in Berkshire, England, UK from October 21, 1974 to December 19, 1974. Filming of Rocky’s birth occurred on October 30, 1974, the 81st anniversary of the birth of Charles Atlas.

Several ideas from the original conception of the film were dropped before production. During the opening theme, the film was supposed to include clips from all the movies mentioned in the song “Science Fiction Double Feature”. Producers discovered quickly that obtaining the rights to all the various film clips would be very costly, and cut the idea. Another idea was to parallel The Wizard of Oz (1939) by having the first 20 minutes of the film in black-and-white and Academy ratio until the doors burst open showing the Transylvanians in widescreen and then to full color at Frank’s entrance. This effect would have been prohibitively expensive, so the idea was discarded. The film was, however, shot in the narrower 1.66:1 aspect ratio.

Locations, sets, and props
Oakley Court refurbished and now a luxury hotel.

The film’s plot, setting, and style echoes that of the Hammer Horror films. Much like Universal Studios’ Horror films had their own style, Hammer productions did as well. Reuse of sets and props through many of their films, was money and time saving. Production designer Brian Thomson and director Jim Sharman chose locations, sets, and even props that were, in many cases, used in various old Hammer productions. The castle is known as the Hammer House for the number of films that it appeared in. A great deal of location shooting took place here. At the time, the manor was in very dilapidated condition. Filming took place during the fall, which made conditions harsh.

Today, the castle, Oakley Court, has been completely refurbished and is now a luxury hotel. It recently hosted a Rocky Horror picnic on its grounds. The classic “Creation” scene in Rocky Horror, so reminiscent of “Frankenstein” movies, has a good reason for that feel. The scene re-uses the tank and dummy from a Hammer production of “The Revenge of Frankenstein” starring Peter Cushing.[9] Other props and set pieces were used as well from stock that may be seen in many old British television shows and feature films.

Costumes

Perhaps the most unusual parts of this film are the costumes worn by the cast. Costume designer Sue Blane based all her designs on what little she knew of 1950’s America as well as a previous stage production she designed called “The Maids”. It is from this production that Tim Curry’s Victorian corset is borrowed.[10] Blane compared the relatively small ($400) costume budget of the stage show to the $1600 costume budget in 1974 for the film.

Nearly all the costume designs from the original stage production were transferred directly to the film, with a few exceptions. Some new designs appeared as well as a few that were discarded. In the London stage production, Tim Curry began the role of Frank-N-Furter as a blond, although it was short lived, the original design sketches by Blane do reflect that. Magenta gained a new maid costume to give the character more purpose and Columbia gained a sequined tuxedo and tails.

The introduction of new characters such as the Transylvanians presented Sue Blane with a challenge to costume a number of extras who reappear throughout the film. The outcome of their costuming did not satisfy Blane who stated that she wished she had more time for those particular costumes.

In the stage productions, actors generally did their own make-up, but for this film producers chose famed artist Pierre La Roche to redesign the make-up for each character. La Roche is also famous for designing make-up for David Bowie.[12] Production stills were taken by an artist famous for his 1970’s rock photographs, Mick Rock. The photographer has published many calendars and photo books from his Rocky Horror work.

Casting
The majority of the cast from The Rocky Horror Picture Show posing for the wedding photo at Ralph and Betty’s wedding in the movie’s opening scene.
The majority of the cast from The Rocky Horror Picture Show posing for the wedding photo at Ralph and Betty’s wedding in the movie’s opening scene.

* Tim Curry as Dr. Frank-N-Furter, a Scientist. Auditioning for the part for the original stage production Tim Curry sang the song “Tutti Frutti”. He originated the role and recreated it in all productions except the Australian production up to filming. Frank is a flamboyant, well-meaning, often devious and sometimes evil transvestite, bisexual scientist.

* Susan Sarandon as Janet Weiss, a Heroine. Sarandon was not the first choice for the Production but Twentieth Century Fox insisted on American casting for the part of both Brad and Janet. Janet Weiss is the well-meaning, sweet and somewhat naive woman who was recently engaged to Brad, who gets tempted into bad ways.

* Barry Bostwick as Brad Majors, a Hero. Bostwick had previously had training in singing, juggling, trapeze, clown techniques, fencing, mime and ballet before his role in the film. Brad Majors is the clean-cut fiancé of Janet Weiss, to whom he recently proposed at a friend’s wedding.

* Richard O’Brien as Riff Raff, a Handyman. The author and song writer, Richard O’Brien had originally seen himself as Eddie. It was director Jim Sharman who cast him as Riff Raff.

* Patricia Quinn as Magenta, a Domestic. Quinn reprises her role from the original stage production, however she was not in any of the other productions. She almost did not return for the filming, as the part was drastically reduced from the stage play. Magenta is the sister of Riff Raff, and works as Frank’s domestic worker. Patricia Quinn’s lips are also used for the iconic opening number and movie poster.

Dr. Frank-N-Furter (Tim Curry) in his most iconic role, as self proclaimed “Sweet Transvestite from Transexual, Transylvania.”
Dr. Frank-N-Furter (Tim Curry) in his most iconic role, as self proclaimed “Sweet Transvestite from Transexual, Transylvania.”

* Nell Campbell as Columbia, a Groupie. Laura “Little Nell” Campbell recreates her character from the original stage production. Columbia is the groupie and friend of Frank, but also Eddie’s alleged lover.

* Jonathan Adams as Dr. Everett Von Scott, a Rival Scientist. He was Brad and Janet’s science teacher. He has come to the castle in search of his nephew Eddie, who has been murdered by Frank. Adams originally played the role of the Narrator in the London production.

* Peter Hinwood as Rocky Horror, a Creation. Muscle bound creation of Frank’s, with blond hair and a tan. Peter Hinwood has his own solo in “Sword of Damocles”, but does not speak throughout the show. This was changed from the stage show. Rocky’s songs are performed by Trevor White.

* Charles Gray as The Criminologist, an Expert. Narrator of the film. Gray accepted the role by saying, “Why not?” The character becomes a criminologist in the film, another change from the stage production.

* Meat Loaf as Eddie, an ex-delivery boy. Columbia’s boyfriend. Dr. Frank-N-Furter murders Eddie in the film version. In the stage version, Eddie merely pops out of a Coke machine and then jumps back in at the end of the scene.

Release

The film has found a major longevity in many venues throughout the years in the United States, as well as internationally. The movie is considered to be the longest running release in film history.[13] It has never been pulled by Twentieth Century Fox from its original 1975 release, and continues to play in cinemas more than thirty years later. Some cinemas showing the movie have run it for decades at a time.

The film was released on VHS during the home video boom of the 1980s, except for in the U.S., which had to wait for the 15th anniversary in 1990. The limited VHS edition release had a suggested retail price of $100. In 1993, a LaserDisc edition was released, and in 1995 a Special Edition LaserDisc was released. On the 25th anniversary in 2000, the DVD with all the special features from the LaserDisc, as well as new features and DVD-Rom games was released. Before the mainstream use of home video a Super 8 version of selected scenes of the film was available.

There are two versions of The Rocky Horror Picture Show, the US and British releases. The British version contains the original ending which includes the full version of the musical number “Super Heroes”. The US version edits out the number, which was thought to be too depressing by the studio. Both versions are on the 25th Anniversary DVD.

Reception

Main article: The Rocky Horror Picture Show cult following

The film opened in the U.S. at the UA Theatre in Westwood, California on September 26, 1975. It did well at that location but not elsewhere.[16] The cult following did not begin until the movie began its midnight run at the Waverly Theatre in New York on April 1, 1976.[17] The film is still shown with audience members acting out the entire movie in front of the screen. The Clinton Street Theater in Portland, Oregon has also shown the movie weekly since its debut there in April, 1978.

Overall, critics were negative with their reviews of the movie. The overly sexual nature of this British rock comedy was not well received by the mainstream media of 1975, although there were positive reviews. The music was praised, as was Tim Curry’s performance. However, before the success of the midnight screenings, the film was withdrawn from its eight opening cities due to very small audiences, and its planned New York opening (on Halloween night) was cancelled.[18] Fox re-released it around college campuses on a double-bill with another rock music film parody, Paul Williams’ Phantom of the Paradise, but again it drew small audiences.[18] With Pink Flamingos (1972) and Reefer Madness (1936) making money in midnight showings nationwide, RHPS was eventually screened at midnight, starting in New York City on April Fools’ Day of 1976.[19] By that Halloween, people were attending in costume and talking back to the screen. By mid-1978, RHPS was playing in over fifty locations on Fridays and Saturdays at midnight, newsletters were published by local performance groups, and fans gathered for Rocky Horror conventions.[20] By the end of 1979, there were twice-weekly showings at over 230 theaters.

The Rocky Horror Picture Show has taken in $139,876,417 (USA) (sub-total) in box office receipts since its release. The length of its run in cinemas (weekly for over 30 years), combined with its considerable total box office gross, is unparalleled by any other film. The original budget for the movie was $1,200,000 (estimated). The audience participation made the film become a worldwide phenomenon. As the cult-audience grew, Rocky Horror fandom became the subject of news stories. Dori Hartley, a fan from the original New York shadow cast, went on to appear in “Paradise Garage”, a Tim Curry music video.

After the release, the original advertising campaign for screen and television was pulled by Twentieth Century Fox executives in the very early stage. The studio objected to the use of the red lipsticked lips uttering the words Twentieth Century Fox. The American television network Fox Broadcasting aired the film’s much-publicized world television premiere on October 25, 1993. The film’s popularity breathed new life to the stage production, which had had a 45-performance run on Broadway early in 1975 at the Belasco Theatre.[27] Rocky Horror sequels and other media have found their way into production, including merchandise ranging from prefabricated costumes, games, and soundtrack releases.

Soundtrack

Songlist in Film
Song Lead Singer(s) Other Singers Scene
Science Fiction/Double Feature Richard O’Brien (Patricia Quinn as lips) N/A Opening credits
Dammit Janet Brad, Janet Riff Raff, Magenta, Columbia Hapschatt wedding
Over at the Frankenstein Place Brad, Janet Riff Raff, Chorus A rainy night on the way to Dr. Scott’s
The Time Warp Riff Raff, Magenta, Columbia Criminologist, Transylvanians Ballroom of the castle
Sweet Transvestite Frank-N-Furter Riff Raff, Magenta, Columbia, Transylvanians Ballroom of the castle immediately after Time Warp
The Sword of Damocles Rocky Riff Raff, Magenta, Columbia, Transylvanians The “Lab”
I Can Make You a Man Frank-N-Furter Transylvanians The “Lab”
Hot Patootie – Bless My Soul Eddie Transylvanians The “Lab”
I Can Make You a Man (Reprise) Frank-N-Furter Janet, Transylvanians The “Lab”
Once in a While (deleted scene/song) Brad N/A Brad’s Bedroom (intercut with scenes of him and Janet from the first half of the movie)
Touch-a, Touch-a, Touch-a Touch Me Janet Rocky, Brad, Frank, Magenta, Riff Raff, Columbia Rocky’s birth tank in the lab
Eddie Dr. Scott, Columbia Full cast The dining room in the castle, Columbia’s bedroom
You’d Better Wise Up Frank-N-Furter Riff-Raff, Magenta, Brad, Janet, Dr. Scott Stairway and corridors of the castle then back to the lab
Rose Tint My World Columbia, Rocky, Brad, Janet N/A Floor show stage
Don’t Dream It, Be It Frank-N-Furter Brad, Janet, Columbia, Rocky, Dr. Scott Floor show pool
Wild And Untamed Thing Frank-N-Furter, Columbia, Rocky, Brad, Janet Riff Raff Floor show stage
I’m Going Home Frank-N-Furter Columbia, Rocky, Brad, Janet Floor show theater stage and aisle
Superheroes (deleted scene/song in US release) Brad, Janet Criminologist Exterior of the castle and the criminologist’s office
Science Fiction/Double Feature (Reprise) Richard O’Brien (no character) N/A Ending credits

The Rocky Horror Picture Show: Original Soundtrack (1989)

Track listing

* 1. Science Fiction/Double Feature
* 2. Dammit Janet
* 3. There’s a Light
* 4. Time Warp
* 5. Sweet Transvestite
* 6. I Can Make You A Man
* 7. Hot Patootie – Bless My Soul
* 8. I Can Make You A Man (reprise)
* 9. Touch-A, Touch-A, Touch Me
* 10. Eddie
* 11. Floor Show: Rose Tint My World/Fanfare/Don’t Dream It, Be It/Wild and Untamed Thing
* 12. I’m Going Home
* 13. Super Heroes
* 14. Science Fiction/Double Feature (reprise)
* 15. Time Warp (1989 remix – extended version)
* 16. Time Warp (music – 1 = background track = u mix)

The Rocky Horror Picture Show: 25 Years of Absolute Pleasure! (2000)

Track listing
# Title Lead Performer(s) Length Other Performer(s)
1 “Science Fiction/Double Feature” Richard O’Brien 4:27 –
2 “Dammit, Janet” Barry Bostwick (Brad), Susan Sarandon (Janet) 3:22 Richard O’brien, Patricia Quinn, Nell Campbell
3 “Over at the Frankenstein Place” Susan Sarandon, Barry Bostwick, Richard O’Brien (Riff Raff) 3:59 Charles Gray (Criminologist), Chorous
4 “Time Warp” Richard O’Brien, Patricia Quinn (Magenta), Nell Campbell (Columbia) 4:29 Charles Gray, Transylvanians
5 “Sweet Transvestite” Tim Curry (Frank-N-Furter) 4:06 Barry Bostwick, Susan Sarandon, Richard O’Brien, Patricia Quinn, Nell Campbell, Transylvanians
6 “The Sword of Damocles” Trevor White (Rocky Horror: Voice) 3:38 Tim Curry, Transylvanians
7 “I Can Make You a Man” Tim Curry 3:15 Transylvanians
8 “Hot Patootie” Meat Loaf (Eddie) 3:21 Transylvanians
9 “I Can Make You a Man (Reprise)” Tim Curry 1:59 Susan Sarandon, Transylvanians
10 “Once in a While” Barry Bostwick 3:45 Charles Gray
11 “Toucha-Toucha-Touch Me” Susan Sarandon 2:59 Nell Campbell, Patricia Quinn, Barry Bostwick, Tim Curry, Richard O’Brien, Trevor White, Charles Gray
12 “Eddie” Jonathon Adams (Dr. Scott), Nell Campbell, Meat Loaf 2:47 Full Cast
13 “Planet, Schmanet, Janet” Tim Curry 2:36 Richard O’Brien, Patricia Quinn, Susan Sarandon, Barry Bostwick, Jonathon Adams
14 “Rose Tint My World” Nell Campbell, Trevor White, Barry Bostwick, Susan Sarandon 4:03 Charles Gray
15 “Don’t Dream It, Be It” Tim Curry 3:36 Barry Bostwick, Susan Sarandon, Nell Campbell, Trevor White, Jonathon Adams
16 “Wild and Untamed Thing” Nell Campbell, Trevor White, Barry Bostwick, Susan Sarandon 1:51 Richard O’Brien
17 “I’m Going Home” Tim Curry 2:57 –
18 “Super Heroes” Barry Bostwick, Susan Sarandon, Charles Gray 5:27 Patricia Quinn, Richard O’Brien, Jonathon Adams, Nell Campbell
19 “Science Fiction/Double Feature (Reprise)” Richard O’Brien 1:30 –
20 “Time Warp (1989 Remix – Extended Version”♦ Full Cast 5:36 –
21 “Rocky Horror Picture Show (Movie Trailer)”♦ – 2:58 –

From Wikipedia

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