Under the Cherry Moon

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Under the Cherry Moon
Under the cherry moon.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Prince
Produced by Robert Cavallo
Stephen Fargnoli
Joseph Ruffalo
Written by Becky Johnston
Starring Prince
Jerome Benton
Kristin Scott Thomas
Steven Berkoff
Francesca Annis
Music by Prince and The Revolution
Cinematography Michael Ballhaus
Edited by Éva Gárdos
Rebecca Ross
Distributed by Warner Bros.
Release dates
  • July 4, 1986 (1986-07-04)
Running time
98 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $12 million
Box office $10,090,429

Under the Cherry Moon is a 1986 American musical drama film directed by and starring Prince as a gigolo named Christopher Tracy and former Time member Jerome Benton as his partner, Tricky. Together, the pair swindle wealthy French women. The situation gets complicated when Christopher falls in love with heiress Mary Sharon (Kristin Scott Thomas) after planning to swindle her when he finds out that she receives a $50 million trust fund on her 21st birthday. Mary's father Isaac (Steven Berkoff) disapproves of the romance and provides an excellent adversary for Tracy. The film was Prince's first film as a director.



Prince drew inspiration from Federico Fellini's to the slapstick humor of Abbott and Costello (the sequence involving the ladder, the telephone call from Mary to Christopher).[citation needed]

The film was originally slated to be directed by Mary Lambert, the director behind some of Madonna and Janet Jackson's most popular music videos, but after disagreements about the film's direction, Prince took over directing himself. She was credited only as a creative consultant in the film's credits; much of her input was allegedly disregarded and numerous drafts of the screenplay exist, show various revisions.[citation needed]

The cast was also changed during pre-production. Prince originally had planned to have Susannah Melvoin (sister of Revolution member Wendy Melvoin, as well as Prince's girlfriend at the time) play Mary Sharon, but it was clear she couldn't act and was replaced by Kristin Scott Thomas (in her feature debut).[1] Isaac Sharon was originally slated to be played by Terence Stamp, although he didn't like the direction the film was going and eventually quit, replaced by Steven Berkoff. In David Hill's book Prince: A Pop Life, Berkoff was said to be actually impressed with Prince as a director, citing the professional way he worked with the actors on set. Emmanuelle Sallet, who played Katie in the final version was originally included in a much smaller role, but had her part expanded after she met with Prince over dinner. Allegedly, the part of Mary's mother was also much larger, but was cut down in the final draft of the screenplay.[citation needed]


Under the Cherry Moon, along with its soundtrack album, marked the first of many recorded collaborations between Prince and jazz keyboardist/composer-arranger Clare Fischer, whose orchestral arrangements had by this time become much in demand by pop and R&B acts, stemming from his initial arrangements for Rufus and Chaka Khan in the early 1970s.[2][3] Appearing in the credits as "Orchestra Composed and Arranged by...," Fischer's contribution was further acknowledged by Prince in both the film's closing titles and the album's liner notes:

With special thanks
2 Clare Fischer 4 Making Brighter the Colors
Black and White [4]
Main article: Parade (Prince album)


The movie was filmed in color but released in processed black-and-white. It was filmed on location in and around Nice, France, partly to ensure that there was good weather for filming and also to ensure that Prince was free of American film unions. The movie attempts to combine different styles and themes, including a musical, romantic comedy and drama. The film's soundtrack album, Parade, was generally received much better (particularly in Europe) than the film itself, and featured the hit singles "Kiss" and "Mountains". The poster art released with the movie was designed by Ron Larson.


Filmed with a budget of about $12 million, Under the Cherry Moon failed to gain any breakout audience, regardless of much pre-publicity including a special MTV premiere in Sheridan, Wyoming. It was held there after a fan won a contest to have the movie shown in their hometown.[5] Coincidentally, while attending the premiere in Sheridan, minor vandalism was reported on the feature film's vintage car. Police reported the vandalism as minor petty theft, including the extraction of valve stem covers and a priceless gas cap. It only just managed to make back $10,090,429 as the total US gross, and current figures (if VHS/DVD rentals and sales are included) stand at about $12.5 million. It was this commercial failure that exacerbated the already existing tensions and feud between Prince and Warner Brothers which began in 1981 when Warner Brothers refused to release a one-off single called "Let's Rock". Prince later reworked it as "Let's Work" on the Controversy album.[citation needed]

At the time of its release in 1986, many critics were expecting, in one form or another, a direct sequel to Purple Rain. However, other than a performance of "Girls & Boys" by Prince in a French restaurant (which positively affected its performance on the charts in Europe when it was released as a single), most of the soundtrack remains as background music. Some critics were unimpressed, although there was praise for the film's cinematography by Michael Ballhaus, who has worked with Martin Scorsese.[citation needed]

The film was a multiple winner at the 7th Golden Raspberry Awards, winning five awards. The categories were: Worst Picture (tied with Howard the Duck), Worst Actor and Worst Director (Prince), Worst Supporting Actor (Jerome Benton) and Worst Original Song ("Love or Money"). It was also nominated for Worst Supporting Actress and Worst New Star (Kristin Scott Thomas), and Worst Screenplay.[citation needed] The movie was nominated for a Stinkers Bad Movie Awards for Worst Picture.[6]


  1. ^ Jason Draper (2008). "Prince: Life & Times". Jawbone Press.  Retrieved on 02 January 2008
  2. ^ Thorne, Matt (2012). "Prince". London: Faber & Faber. p. 117. ISBN 9780571273492. Retrieved 02 December 2014.
  3. ^ Draper, Jason (2011). "Prince: Chaos, Disorder and Revolution". New York: Backbeat Books. p. 112. ISBN 9781458429414. Retrieved 02 December 2014.
  4. ^ Clare Fischer Filmography: Thanks. IMDb. Retrieved 02 December 2014. See also:
  5. ^ Durkee, Cutler (1986-07-21). "Prince Charming". People 26 (3). Retrieved 17 March 2014. 
  6. ^ "1986 9th Hastings Bad Cinema Society Stinkers Awards". Stinkers Bad Movie Awards. Los Angeles Times. Retrieved April 2, 2013. 

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Rambo: First Blood Part II
Golden Raspberry Award for Worst Picture

(tied with Howard the Duck)
7th Golden Raspberry Awards

Succeeded by
Leonard Part 6