Under the Cherry Moon (1986)

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Released 2-Feb-2005

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Musical Main Menu Audio
Music Video-Under The Cherry Moon: The Videos
Theatrical Trailer
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 1986
Running Time 95:53
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 2,4,5 Directed By Prince

Warner Home Video
Starring Prince
Jerome Benton
Kristin Scott Thomas
Steven Berkoff
Emmanuelle Sallet
Alexandra Stewart
Francesca Annis
Pamela Ludwig
Barbara Stall
Karen Geerlings
Victor Spinetti
Myriam Tadesse
Moune De Vivier
Case Amaray-Transparent
RPI $19.95 Music Prince

Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.78:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English
English for the Hearing Impaired
Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

" Once upon a time in France, there lived a bad boy named Christopher Tracy"

     Being a huge fan of Prince it was with some trepidation that I sat down to watch and then review Under The Cherry Moon. Having already reviewed Purple Rain and Graffiti Bridge, the reputation of Cherry Moon (having won the 1987 Razzies's "Worst Movie Of The Year" award) was well known. Under the Cherry Moon had huge boots to fill as a follow up to Purple Rain, but with Prince at his creative peak you might think he could not fail. Unfortunately Prince is a musical genius and not a film director or leading actor. With a massive ego that could not see the failings, Prince took creative control of the movie and succeeded in turning it into a self serving vehicle of his own vision.

     The movie's opening forty seconds as narrated by Mary Sharon (Kristin Scott Thomas ) effectively summarises the plot and outcome of Under the Cherry Moon. Set in the French Riviera at an undetermined time, the fashions and surroundings are a mix of flapper twenties (Al Capone and Betty Boop come to mind) and eighties glam. It all looks rather beautiful, but not more beautiful than the Valentino like and doe-eyed Christopher Tracy (Prince) who with his side-kick Tricky (Jerome Benton) make their living scamming money off rich white women. To describe them as gigolos is perhaps appropriate – although we never actually see them being paid for their services. Chris bases his operations at a local high-class hotel where he plays piano for tips. What Tricky does apart from seducing women is less clear. With their jive-talking and Afro-American shtick they are a curiosity amongst the well-heeled and polite European surroundings – and perhaps successful because of it. Into this rather shallow world we encounter Mary Sharon, the daughter of a rich family with a rebellious streak of her own. At first meeting Mary is not so impressed with the hustling Christopher who is attracted to both her looks and money. As the relationship develops however, Mary begins to see Chris differently, and Chris starts to realise that his attraction to Mary is more than superficial, and that he is actually falling in love. Unfortunately their growing romance is not acceptable to Mary's domineering father (Steven Berkoff) who sets in train a sequence of events that ultimately leads to tragedy.

     Although originally shot in colour, Under the Cherry Moon is presented in black and white following creative input from Prince. It all looks rather nice with Prince in particular (of course) always looking ravishing with impossibly groomed features and laced outfits. There are brief musical interludes but unfortunately they are not of the same quantity and quality of Purple Rain or Graffiti Bridge. Although the plot is reasonable, if formulaic, the script is awful and the acting from Prince and Benton terrible. Kristin Scott Thomas and Steven Berkoff acquit themselves well in the acting stakes with the remaining second-tier actors also quite satisfactory. As a Prince fan the most disappointing aspect of this movie is the way Prince demeans himself by acting as one half of a clown act with Benton. In his other two movies Prince played the serious character with Benton and Morris Day doing the Abbot and Costello style comedy routines. The "comedy" routines in Cherry Moon are really very silly, are not funny, and in my eyes make Prince look stupid. So sad.

Don't wish to see plot synopses in the future? Change your configuration.

Transfer Quality


     Under the Cherry Moon is presented in a 1.78:1 widescreen anamorphic transfer which is slightly less than the 1.85:1 original theatrical aspect. There are numerous instances of edge enhancements and dirt but overall it's really quite nice. The original colour print was processed into black and white to presumably emulate the style of a silent film of the thirties and therefore has a nostalgic charm. The image looks soft throughout which I think suits what I imagine was the original intent. Grain is at times quite noticeable however I think this transfer is very good overall given the age of the movie.

     This is a dual layer disc but I saw no sign of the layer change on my equipment.

     Overall a good video transfer is evidenced here.

Video Ratings Summary
Shadow Detail
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts


     Audio is provided in a Dolby 2.0 stereo mix encoded at 192Kbs. This is an adequate track with vocals distinct and the musical numbers quite well presented. Some directional effects were evident with surround processing applied, however the movie is probably best listened to in stereo mode with subwoofer enabled. Audio synchronisation was not always spot-on with Prince also obviously lip-synching at times during musical numbers. On a positive note there were no issues with drop outs or glitches that I noticed. The subtitles that I sampled looked accurate enough.

     This audio track only rates as good with a fairly lack-lustre stereo effort presented when 5.1 mix could have been much more effective.

Audio Ratings Summary
Audio Sync
Surround Channel Use



     Static menu with looping audio.

Theatrical Trailer (1:23)

     1.78:1 aspect with Dolby Digital 2.0 at 192K/bs.

Under the Cherry Moon: The Videos

     Prince and The Revolution

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    Versions available seem identical apart from language selections and the PAL or NTSC formatting. The Region 4 version is therefore recommended.


     Unfortunately, as a huge admirer of Prince's work I wish this film hadn't crossed my path. The musical numbers aren't enough to compensate for this ego driven rubbish that is neither dramatic nor funny. Quite frankly Prince often looks ridiculous in his pompadour outfits with lace and high heels. These outfits are appropriate when performing on stage - but not in a supposedly dramatic movie role. The extras are minimal and Warner hasn’t done much (if any) work on the audio. With better audio and more musical numbers included the ninety minutes of wasted life spent watching the movie might just have been worth it. It pains me to advise that this movie is not recommended – especially if you are a Prince fan. Others might find some redeeming features.

     The video quality is good. The audio quality is good. Extras are good.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Mike B (read my bio)
Wednesday, December 29, 2010
Review Equipment
DVDDenon DVD-3910 and Panasonic BD-35, using HDMI output
DisplayPanasonic TH-58PZ850A. Calibrated with Digital Video Essentials (PAL). This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Digital Video Essentials (PAL).
AmplificationDenon AVR-3808 pre-out to Elektra Theatron 7 channel amp
SpeakersB&W LCR600 centre and 603s3 mains, Niles in ceiling surrounds, SVS PC-Ultra Sub

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