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Behind the Burly Q


Dive into more than a century of decadence with this tantalizing look at the evolution of burlesque. Cabaret star Leslie Zemeckis traces the art form from vaudeville-style variety show through its extinction and contemporary rebirth. Vintage photos, film clips and ads illustrate burlesque's resilient history and how the public's sexual appetite kept it alive amid moral and legal ado.

Actors: Nat Bodian , Al Baker Jr. , Beverly Arlynne , Joan Arline , Alan Alda , Bud Abbott
Directors: Leslie Zemeckis
Country: USA
Release: 2010-04-23
More Info:
  • Peter Rainer

    The best commentator is Alda, whose rueful memories of being raised as a boy in burlesque are the film's highlight. "It was a form of abuse," he says of those days, but without rancor. It was, after all, the only childhood he knew.

    Christian Science Monitor Full Review
  • Ernest Hardy

    Leslie Zemeckis's slightly ramshackle but utterly entertaining Behind the Burly Q is a painstakingly researched love letter to the women and men who once made up the community of burlesque performers.

    Village Voice Full Review
  • Manohla Dargis

    A charming, uncritical, often entertaining jumble, the documentary was written and directed by Leslie Zemeckis.

    The New York Times Full Review
  • Ronnie Scheib

    The women's outspoken commentaries prove consistently colorful and their long-ago stripteases -- feathers flying, tassels spinning -- still pack a sensual, sassy, what-the-hell punch.

    Variety Full Review
  • John DeFore

    A love note to '30s-era burlesque that plays best for those already invested enough in the milieu to hang on every word of aged strippers.

    The Hollywood Reporter Full Review
  • Bob Mondello

    Behind the Burly Q traces that history all the way back to the early part of the 20th century, but doesn't really come into its own until Zemeckis can interview the stars themselves rather than their children.

    NPR Full Review
  • Elizabeth Weitzman

    The real stars of this film are the same ones who stole every show -- women who once boasted names like Tempest Storm, Candy Cotton and Lady Midnight. Their stories are alternately tragic and inspiring, and often very funny.

    New York Daily News Full Review
  • Cliff Doerksen

    Though frustratingly superficial and shot through a nostalgic, rose-colored lens, this enthralling 2010 doc opens a wider window on forgotten world of burlesque shows than anything I've previously seen.

    Chicago Reader Full Review
  • Roger Ebert

    You hear some nostalgia, but with most of them you don't get the idea that if they had the chance they'd do it all again.

    Chicago Sun-Times Full Review
  • Sara Schieron

    This doc contributes to the small collection of films on burlesque something more self-aware looks at the matter don't: an exposition of the messy history of a complex popular art that still leaves us with much to explore.

    Boxoffice Magazine Full Review
  • Aaron Hillis

    The sauciest of anecdotes are illustrated with faded vintage photos, all tiresomely filtered through the Ken Burns roving-cam effect and making for one chaste and unsexy cultural portrait--the biggest tease of them all.

    Time Out New York Full Review
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  • 30. Symphony No. 6 in B. Minor Pathtique--Final Adagio Lamentoso Writer: Leslie Zemeckis Stream Music Online