The musical bio pic is admittedly a little played out, except for when it hits those notes just right and captures the essence of the artist in question. Available on Blu-Ray for the very first time from Twilight Time releasing, we go back to 1978 and "The Buddy Holly Story" sails through on the innate charm and charisma that netted its leading man an Academy Award nomination.
The tale of a unique, rock n roll legend from Lubbock, Texas, Buddy Holly (Gary Busey) along with his band mates (Charles Martin Smith and Don Stroud) who had the musical imagination and determination to change the face of popular music as we know it as his impact is still felt anytime you turn on the radio.
I'm not the first to admit that the bio pic is something that doesn't always resonate with audiences, but in "The Buddy Holly Story" we get an added element as the lead actors are all playing their own instruments and we get a narrative that feels just as genuine as Buddy Holly the man was.
It's always a little unfortunate when a director's debut feature ends up being his best one but for Steve Rash that is exactly the case and with "The Buddy Holly Story" we get an earnest, straight ahead story that moves well and makes sure that we as audience members are never board. It's well shot and with Busey and his band playing their own instruments and doing their own singing, it never feels fake as Holly not only finds his voice as a musician but of that sound that made him famous. The screenplay by Robert Gittler borrows from the book by John Goldrosen, "Buddy Holly: His Life and His Music" getting the tone pretty spot on, as Holly was never a wild and crazy young man, but he was overwhelmingly driven by his love for the music and that unique sound in his head that he just had to get out.
In one of his very first leading man roles with his name at the top of the marquee, Gary Busey was an inspired choice to done the most iconic spectacles in the history of rock and roll. He brought a showman's swagger along with a deft and gentle to the man that was Buddy Holly. A rock star when he needed to be, a devoted husband which is what he aspired to be but first and foremost he was a musician first, as he was never in it for the money or the fame, for him it was about the music. Both Charles Martin Smith and Don Stroud were great as 'The Crickets' and there were a couple of other familiar faces including infamous comic of the time Paul Mooney as soul legend Sam Cooke, but it all centered around Busey's Holly who we are just as much in awe of as we are just genuinely fond of him and there was never a minute where weren't rooting for him.
Quite simply "The Buddy Holly Story" works and still holds up because it is just an earnest piece of storytelling that is pretty easy to get behind.
4 out of 5 stars.
Picture and sound quality on the Blu-Ray were top notch and the special features include and isolated score track, a feature length audio commentary track with director Steve Rash and Gary Busey as well as the original theatrical trailer.
"The Buddy Holly Story" is now available for purchase exclusively at the Screen Archives Entertainment website (http://www.screenarchives.com/). Click here to check out the latest releases from Twilight Time.