Bobcat Goldthwait To Direct Musical Based On Kinks Album

KinksSchoolboysInDisgraceIt has always struck me as odd that Hollywood has not investigated the idea of turning rock and roll concept albums into film. As potential film projects, they certainly seem like attractive prospects- They already have a built in storyline, score and fan base. But with the exception of director Ken Russell’s Tommy, based on The Who’s classic album, and the short film Kilroy Was Here, which the rock band Styx screened on tour in 1983 to promote the same-titled album which yielded the hit “Mr. Roboto,” I am at a loss to think of when Hollywood looked to a pre-existing rock and roll album¬† as the source for a film.*

Perhaps comic-turned-director Bobcat Goldthwait will change all that if his planned rock musical film, an adaptation of the Kinks’ 1975 concept album Schoolboys In Disgrace, comes to fruition.¬† During an interview with CHUD to promote his upcoming film World’s Greatest Dad, Goldthwait stated that he is currently developing storyboards for the film to help him convince potential investors of the project’s viability.

The album was released at the end of the band’s short-lived “theatrical period,” which saw Kinks’ frontman Ray Davies turning his hand from pop hits to broader, sprawling rock operas. The story of a school boy who is continually humiliated and punished by a sadistic school master until he eventually grows up to be a villain himself, serves as a prequel to two previous 1973 albums, Preservation: Act 1 and Preservation: Act 2, which kick started the theatrical period.

Goldthwaite has already met with Davies about the project and has received the singer’s blessing.

Due to numerous reasons, the Kinks’ “theatrical period” is probably the least familiar to modern listeners and casual fans, myself included. While this might not be ideal from the standpoint of the project already having a built-in audience, it does give Goldthwaite some latitude to develop the film’s plotline without having to worry that any deviation from the source material will put him under fire from fans. Goldthwaite has been very quietly building a decent resume as a director, starting with 1991’s cult classic Shakes The Clown, described by one critic as “the Citizen Kane of alcoholic clown movies.” While a musical would be new territory for Goldthwaite to navigate as a director, I am sure that it will still carry his distinct darkly comic sensibilities.

And who knows, if the film hits, maybe it will give me the incentive to dig out my half-completed screenplay Celluloid Heroes out of my desk drawer.

*I am, of course, throwing out many of the rock and roll movies that featured rock acts as characters, oft times playing versions of themselves, or which draw some of their plot from a single song title like the Herman’s Hermits film Mrs. Brown You’ve Got A Lovely Daughter.

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About Rich Drees 7210 Articles
A film fan since he first saw that Rebel Blockade Runner fleeing the massive Imperial Star Destroyer at the tender age of 8 and a veteran freelance journalist with twenty-five years experience writing about film and pop culture. He is a member of the Philadelphia Film Critics Circle.
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Frank Lima
Frank Lima
August 18, 2009 6:26 am

The Kinks theatrical era was one of my favorite periods of the kinks touring years and I have seen them all from the late 1960’s right up through their last show here in the US in 1995. I would love nothing more than to see Schoolboys In Disgrace turned in to a musical film and even more so maybe to Broadway where Soap Opera, Preservation, 80 Days, and Ray’s newest musical that is actually in stage production Come Dancing also belong. Ray Davies is not only a treasure to the world of Rock & Roll but all to the world… Read more »

August 19, 2009 1:46 pm

I love all the buzz about making a movie about “Schoolboys in Disgrace”.It’s very exciting for Kinks fans. I still have my “Schoolboys in Disgrace” concert t-shirt!

john mckenna
john mckenna
August 20, 2009 3:36 am

The so called theatrical period of Ray Davies’s songwriting produced some of his best work.That he is the greatest living songwriter and the best of his generation means that to work with the said material is a no brainer.