Though it flopped upon release in 1980, the musical extravaganza 'Xanadu,' starring Olivia Newton-John and Gene Kelly, has since achieved something of a cult status and is beloved by many. Its story concerns frustrated L.A. artist Sonny (Michael Beck) who paints enlargements of album covers for a living. He meets Kira (Newton-John), a living Muse who inspires him and with whom he becomes smitten; he also befriends retired musician Danny (Kelly), who dreams of opening up a new nightclub. Amid eye-popping, cheesetastic musical numbers, both true love and an awesome roller-disco palace eventually emerge.
One of the movie's delights is the excellent use of Los Angeles landmarks, including Santa Monica's Palisades Park and the famed Venice Beach boardwalk. Perhaps its most memorable location site was the historic, then-derelict Pan-Pacific Auditorium, which convincingly played the part of a crumbling venue that gets transformed into the glamorous titular disco. (Only its exteriors were used; Xanadu's insides -- both before and after makeover -- were built on soundstages.) Sadly life did not imitate art and the Pan-Pacific would be destroyed in a spectacular fire a decade after the movie's release.
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