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George At 

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Flareup


In 1969, there was no actress more beautiful or more popular than Raquel Welch. Her assets are on fine display in the dated, silly thriller from that year, FLARE UP.

Raquel plays an independent woman and go-go dancer named Michelle. In the films opening scenes, she is meeting one of her closest friends for lunch. When her friend is gunned down by her jealous husband Alan, he soon turns his gun toward Michelle before escaping.

The opening scenes are shot at Caesars Palace Las Vegas in all its 1969 glory and it's incredible to see that there is literally NOTHING north of Caesars on the strip. It's desert! All the location filming in Vegas is terrific and adds some nostalgic fun to the film's first twenty minutes.

When it looks like the crazy husband is still coming after her, Michelle moves her act to Los Angeles, when she decides to dance at "The Losers" Go-Go club.

She falls in love with a very bland parking lot attendant/doorman Joe (James Stacy giving every male viewer the thought, "man-maybe if Raquel can fall for that guy, she could fall for me too!".....nope.)

The cops are fairly slow on the draw, the dancing is only adult enough to earn an M rating (now a PG-13 or light R) and the story never rises above an average episode of "The Streets of San Francisco", but Raquel is beautiful whether she's riding a horse on the beach, her sporty convertible or the stage.

The location shots of late sixties LA are a lot of fun, but the editing and directing are pretty bad and you feel like everything was printed on the first take.

The chemistry between Welch and Stacy is vapor thin and blows in and out like the fog. The bad guy is so one-note it grows boring and the chase through the zoo at the end seems about three times longer than it needs to be.

Check out the last three minutes: Michelle is an independent woman, strong the entire film. But is that how she acts in the closing scene? It feels like MGM wanted a more Hollywood ending slapped on at the last second. It's like Welch's weaker twin just showed up for the last act.

There will never be another Raquel. Love her.

The movie?

Meh, gets a D.

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