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4K Ultra HD Review: Flashdance: 40th Anniversary

May 16, 2023

By John Corrado

The iconic 1983 dance movie Flashdance is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year, and Paramount is releasing the film for the first time in 4K Ultra HD this month.

Directed by Adrian Lyne (a commercial director making his feature debut), and produced by Jerry Bruckheimer, the film centres around Alex (Jennifer Beals), a working class girl in Pittsburgh who works by day on construction sites as a welder, and as an exotic dancer by night.

The film follows Alex as she embarks on a romance with her steel mill boss Nick (Michael Nouri), and tries to work up the courage to apply to the Pittsburgh Conservatory of Dance and fulfill her dreams of dancing full time.

If the follow your dreams story is fairly simple, Flashdance is a film that works due to the style with which it has been brought to the screen. The cinematography by Donald Peterman and extended dance sequences are what make it so entertaining to watch, with scenes often being cut like music videos by editors Walt Mulconery and Bud Smith. The action influences of producers Bruckheimer and the late Don Simpson, in their first collaboration together, are also felt throughout, including early evidence of the style they would later bring to Top Gun in 1986.

While Flashdance was panned by most critics at the time for essentially being all style and no substance (Roger Ebert infamously hated it), the film was a hugely influential commercial hit that became the third highest grossing movie of 1983 and got nominated for four Oscars (editing and cinematography as well as two original songs). As a whole, the film is admittedly a cut below Saturday Night Fever, a huge hit for Paramount six years earlier which the story seems at least partially modelled after, but Flashdance is still a very enjoyable dance movie that feels emblematic of its era.

It’s accompanied by the Grammy-winning, post-disco soundtrack overseen by Giorgio Moroder, which became a smash hit in its own right, including the Oscar-winning track “Flashdance… What a Feeling” (and the Oscar-nominated “Maniac”). Visually, this is a surprisingly dark picture at times that makes use of smoke and shadow, including in the opening scene at the steel mill and during the iconic water dance, and the remastered 4K presentation (approved by Lyne) offers good clarity throughout. The increased definition allows us to appreciate textures of clothing, and the glistening skin of dancing bodies, while still maintaining a nice, filmic look to it.

Bonus Features (4K Ultra HD):

There are no bonus features on the 4K disc, but the set comes bundled with a regular Blu-ray that includes several archival extras.

Filmmaker Focus: Director Adrian Lyne Discusses Flashdance (5 minutes, 51 seconds)

The Look of Flashdance (9 minutes, 12 seconds)

Releasing the Flashdance Phenomenon (8 minutes, 52 seconds)

Theatrical Trailer (1 minute, 41 seconds)

Flashdance: 40th Anniversary is a Paramount Home Entertainment release. It’s 94 minutes and rated 14A.

Street Date: May 9th, 2023

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