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Elvis Costello: Mystery Dance

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While ITV lauds the King, a more overdue tribute is paid to Britain’s Elvis. Declan MacManus, as he was born, revisits childhood haunts before we’re bundled through his expansive career. Archive film shows the angular persona with big specs who gave sharp words to punk rage, while Paul McCartney and Allen Toussaint recall the well-matched collaborations.

Costello is candid: unwise decisions include taking his backing group the Attractions to a choreographer (see the results!) and extend to drunken, “despicable” words that could have ended his career. There are real treasures here (an early, live Alison, the unreleased demo with Macca) but for one of pop’s greatest lyricists, one hour just isn’t enough.


Mark Kidel directs a profile of the singer-songwriter, who began his career as part of London's pub rock scene in the early 1970s and later became associated with the British new wave movement later that decade. The story is picked up from the star's childhood under the influence of his father, Ross McManus, a Catholic education that left a big impression on him, and his overnight success with the Attractions. The musician talks openly about the shaping of his career and life, and revisits the places where he grew up.

Cast & Crew

Contributor Elvis Costello
Director Mark Kidel


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