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We asked Metro Weekly art director and resident Duran Duran expert Todd Franson to pick his favorite videos by the group. He selected 18, presented here in chronological order:
Planet Earth (1981) — A performance video packed with Russell Mulcahy‘s iconic images from start to finish. You instantly knew this band had style, substance and were destined for more.
My Own Way (1981) — Great energy and the band is having a blast, Russell Mulcahy’s split screens and quick edits perfectly propel the visuals along with the speedy track. And I love that parrot.
Hungry Like The Wolf (1982) — Definitely the best of the Sri Lanka and Antigua location videos, it has everything: action, mystery, adventure and romance. Who cares if Simon’s hair changes color from scene to scene. Rio is a great video, too, but I just don’t like the song as much.
The Chauffeur (1982) — Unlike any other song on the album Rio with a video to match.
Is There Something I Should Know? (1983) — The band’s first No. 1 single, the video is a radical departure from the sun-drenched, silk-suits-on-yachts Rio videos. Cold, angular and stark, it has more in common with The Prisoner than Indiana Jones.
New Moon on Monday (full version, 1984) — They were right to only release the edited version. But as a young Durannie, we all heard rumors of the “full movie version with a real plot and dialogue,” and were dying to see it. It remained locked away in the vault until The Greatest DVD was released in 2003 with its myriad Easter eggs. The 17-minute short film was ambitious, but ultimately misguided, dark, and cold. We don’t want our pop stars with perfect hair and makeup playing underground revolutionaries in a bleak French village. The band made two edited versions and filmed new scenes for the Dancing on the Valentine video 45.
The Reflex (1984) — I saw Duran Duran live for the first time in 1984 and this video was filmed during that tour. The Reflex was their first No. 1 single in America due in large part to a Nile Rodgers remix, but they played the album version live as the remix came out during the tour. The video also depicts highlights from other songs cleverly cut together and interspersed with studio scenes and crowd shots filmed later. And then there’s that wave, which looks totally cheesy now. The screen above the stage was real, however. Duran Duran was the first band to tour with a film crew and director projecting them live on a big screen for all those in the back of the arena. The band was completely drowned out by screaming girls whenever the camera was on John.
The Wild Boys (extended Arena version, 1984) — Russell Mulcahy wanted to make a feature film based on William S. Burroughs’ The Wild Boys: A Book of the Dead, so the band wrote the song, the ideas for the film went into the video, and the video grew into the conceptual concert film, Arena, a “sequel” to Barbarella starring Milo O’Shea and three midget henchmen who crash below the Arena where Duran Duran are performing. They capture the band, and that’s where the “Wild Boys” video comes into play. It doesn’t make much sense, but it’s really pretty.
A View To A Kill (1985) — Godley & Creme directed their first video for the band since “Girls on Film,” cleverly integrating the group into the film’s opening Eiffel Tower sequence as secret agents with varying loyalties and missions. In the end, Andy uses his accordion to attack Nick and blow up his camera. Art imitates life indeed, Andy left the band for nearly 20 years after this video was released.
All She Want Is (1988) — Mostly stop motion photography, this video took months to film (and won an MTV award for innovation). The band made life masks and used dummies as stand-ins for most of the filming.
Ordinary World (1993) — As a photographer I’m really impressed by Nick Egan’s use of continuous light with strobes to create a practical effect both stunning and innovative. Along with the large projections and mix of night a day scenes, it makes for a great video.
Come Undone/Too Much Information (1993) — A pair of gorgeous Julien Temple directed videos, the latter is the only live film from the outrageous Dilate Your Mind Tour stage production.
Femme Fatale (1993) — A gorgeous, simple yet remarkable black and white drive through Manhattan ending at a fabulous party, directed by Ellen von Unwerth.
Out of My Mind (1997) — Released first as a single from the feature film The Saint, starring Val Kilmer. Thank god the video has nothing to do with the movie and more to do with Medazzaland, the stunning album it’s also on. The video by Dean Karr is wonderfully bizarre.
Electric Barbarella (1997) — Also from Medazzaland but sonically and visually a universe apart. Directed by Ellen von Unwerth, Simon, Nick and Warren, take home a mildly dysfunctional female robot companion.
Someone Else Not Me (2000) — A beautiful ballad and the first video made entirely using Flash digital animation.
Girl Panic! (2011) — I briefly considered 1981’s Girls on Film but I’ve seen it way too many times. Instead, watch this: It’s stunning.
Pressure Off (2015) — Pure, simple and to the point, with flourishes of genius, just like the song.
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