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Warner Home Video presents
Under the Cherry Moon (1986)

"Act your age, mama, not your shoe size."
- Prince (from the song Kiss)

Review By: Jeff Rosado   
Published: January 06, 2005

Stars: Prince, Kristin Scott Thomas, Jerome Benton, Emmanuelle Sallet
Other Stars: Steven Berkoff, Alexandra Stewart, Francesca Annis, Victor Spinetti
Director: Prince

Manufacturer: WAMO
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for (sexuality, language)
Run Time: 01h:40m:00s
Release Date: August 24, 2004
UPC: 085393353827
Genre: musical

Image Transfer
Audio Transfer
B+ B-BB B-

DVD Review

Not unlike the critical reception that greeted 1964's A Hard Day's Night, Prince's Purple Rain became a smash with film reviewers and audiences upon its release in 1984. Prior to that time, the most exciting singer-turned-actor vehicles were Neil Diamond's The Jazz Singer and Kenny Rogers Six Pack (and of course, we're all chomping at the bit to see Collector's Edition issues of those gems on DVD). In the vein of The Beatles, this equally influential Minneapolis musician emerged with a film befitting of its time and wowed those expecting merely a vanity project with zilch in the way of artistic merit. Rare for a rock-oriented film back in the day, Purple Rain's amazing, multi-platinum soundtrack went on to win an AcademyAward for Original Song Score.

So, what did the other "gloved one" do for a cinematic encore? Now, don't feel bad if memory fails you, because for you and others who specialize in selective recollection, you're probably amongst the camp that completely shut out the terror known as Under The Cherry Moon. Yes, the Razzie-winning train wreck of a movie that left average Prince fans dumbfounded.

The artist formerly known as a symbol steps into the shoes of Christopher Tracy, an eccentric pianist living high on the hog in the Mediterranean with fellow opportunist Tricky (the way cool Jerome Benton from The Time); a dynamic duo in the art of swindling cash via fly by candlelight romances with rich women. Within their grasp is their potentially biggest payday, courtesy of a pretty young thing named Mary Sharon (Kristen Scott Thomas) set to inherit $50 million. But that not-so-nasty four letter word comes into play as our nattily attired, ivory tickling loverboy falls hard for the fetching heiress. Though not intrigued at first, like all the other females luredinto Christopher's web of sexual charm, Mary eventually comes around, not just to the displeasure of Mr. Sharon (Steven Berkoff) who wants to off him, but to brother Tricky, too.

Though beset with many problems, ranging from period setting (are we in the 1940s or were vintage fashions suddenly the rage in '80's era France for about a month and Vogue didn't catch wind of it?), to an abrupt shift from light comedyto lukewarm melodrama that just doesn't feel right, Under the Cherry Moon somehow remains watchable due to the hypnotic charms of Prince, an affable foil in Benton (whose comic gifts belong in a better movie), and a smooth debut by Thomas, one of our era's most sophisticated, not to mention beautiful actresses. Amongst the supporting troupe, Berkoff brings the same kind of menace from The Krays and his unforgettable turn as Victor Maitland from Eddie Murphy's Beverly Hills Cop to Mr. Sharon, and Shakespearean performer Francesca Annis is superb ina vital role as one of Christopher's past scammees.

Though some will challenge me, I feel Cherry's soundtrack is on a par with the legendary Purple platter and much more versatile, from the old-school r & b of Boys and Girls to the classy Sometimes It Snows In April and perhaps Prince's best single, the funkier than funk Kiss.

Rating for Style: B+
Rating for Substance: B-


Image Transfer

Aspect Ratio1.85:1 - Widescreen
Original Aspect Ratioyes

Image Transfer Review: Cherryís letterboxed debut is a notably crisp transfer whose only fault is a lack of significant sharpness; thereís a faint ring of artificiality to the picture that keeps it from reaching its full potential.

Image Transfer Grade: B


Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0Englishyes

Audio Transfer Review: Itís disappointing that Warner didnít take the time to go back and give both Moon and Graffiti Bridge 5.1 makeovers like they did with the special edition of Purple Rain, especially since the soundtrack is so well recorded. Still, good separation, impressive stereo imagery and fairly impressive low end keep my impression of this old-school Dolby Stereo mix on the positive side.

Audio Transfer Grade: B


Disc Extras

Static menu
Scene Access with 26 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English, French, Spanish with remote access
1 Original Trailer(s)
Packaging: Keep Case
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: dual

Extra Extras:
  1. Classic Music Videos for Kiss, Boys and Girls, Mountains and anotherloverholenyohead
Extras Review: Considering the turmoil that surrounded the first weeks of production (noted 80s director Mary Lambert departed after after an artistical tiff with Prince), a juicy commentary track would have been just fine with me. But there's a nice tradeoff with the inclusion of four classic music videos released at the time of the film's unveiling, including the still-mesmerizing, starkly staged Kiss and a kicking live version of anotherloverholenyohead that smokes the album version (and where's the rest of what appears to be a fantastic gig?). Like the rest of Warner's Prince re-issues, Cherry's trailer is also showcased.

Extras Grade: B-


Final Comments

Though not the post-Purple Rain follow-up many of his disciples would have preferred, those willing to follow Prince's lead may find themselves strangely allured by the flawed but occasionally flavorable Under the Cherry Moon. A fine transfer and reasonably adequate sound mix make it a must for true fans of the Rock and Roll Hall of Famer, but more casual fans may want to steer clear and settle for a one night (rental) stand instead.


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