Hungarian Rhapsody: Queen Live In Budapest '86 Review

Film Still
  • Hungarian Rhapsody: Queen Live In Budapest '86 film still


It's the concert film we've all been waiting for. Queen! Play Hungary! In 1986! Hello…? Is anyone there?

A Hungarian-made concert film? Of Queen? From 1986? Why is this coming out in cinemas again? Fine, if it were a seminal, era-defining show in which Freddie Mercury, say, set fire to a Soviet flag and sang 'Stars and Stripes Forever', then maybe, just maybe it would be worth rolling out once more.

But, the feeling you get from watching this is that Queen had a super-tight stage set, that the ultra-charismatic Mercury probably never gave a weak performance in his (tragically short) life and that, as a band, they were more than happy to ride the rock excess gravy train.

They breeze through their classic singles (with the customary dull, acoustic interlude), and you know from the confidence exuded by all that they've sung these songs thousands, maybe tens of thousands of times before. Mercury dashes round the stage, as expressive and camp as Joel Grey in Cabaret. But there's no real rush of energy here, at least nothing that you couldn't get from sticking A Night at the Opera on the turntable.

To concert film obsessives, there are a few eccentric touches that are of mild interest: a series of short interludes (with awful, clagged-up sound), showing each band member back stage during their down time at least raises an ironic smile. Brian May sports ill-fitting leisure wear and floats off in a hot-air balloon. Roger Taylor goes go-karting with no helmet on. John Deacon, er, walks around some docks and attempts to start a conversation with a four-year-old from Edgware.

The fashions, too, are worth seeing. Freddie Mercury wanders around antiques shop and samples local grog while wearing a lemon-yellow tracksuit. John Deacon, meanwhile, comes on for the second encore sporting yellow hot pants. It's quite a sight.

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