The Rocky Horror Show changed substantially in the two and a quarter years between its opening in a tiny theater in London on June 19, 1973, and its movie premiere as The Rocky Horror Picture Show on September 24, 1975. Richard O'Brien's humorous mixture of British glam rock with old horror movie clichés was a trashy, low-rent success on-stage in Great Britain due to its irreverent attitude, its catchy pop/rock score, and its cast, led by Tim Curry. American producer Lou Adler took Curry to Los Angeles for a 1974 American version that lost some of the original's subversive appeal in a broadly played Hollywood satire; it did well at the Roxy nightclub, but flopped on Broadway in 1975. For the film version, Adler wisely mixed the best of the London and Los Angeles versions, shooting the movie in England with Curry and several of the other original cast members, including Patricia Quinn, Little Nell, and O'Brien himself, plus Meatloaf (years before the rock stardom he achieved with Bat Out of Hell), who had made a favorable impression in the L.A. version, and Americans Barry Bostwick and Susan Sarandon as the innocent couple Brad and Janet. Adler also brought back original London stage musicians like guitarist Count Ian Blair in place of the slick L.A. studio musicians whose professional approach had marred the L.A. studio cast album. The film version rearranged the story somewhat, resequencing the songs and reassigning some of the vocals, with Brad's song "Once in a While" dropped. But it all worked out fine. The strings that were added to ballads like "Science Fiction/Double Feature" only improved them; the rockers rocked out; Bostwick and Sarandon proved to be the best Brad and Janet ever; the original cast members, especially Curry, reveled in the opportunity to immortalize their portrayals; and Rocky Horror's potential as a witty parody of cheap movies, rock & roll, and sexual mores was fully realized. The soundtrack album was the definitive version of the score, despite lacking the songs "Planet Shmanet Janet" and "The Sword of Damocles," which were heard in the film. The Rocky Horror Picture Show 15th Anniversary, a four-CD box set released in 1990, included the three missing songs "Once in a While," "Planet Shmanet Janet," and "The Sword of Damocles" on a separate disc. Finally, The Rocky Horror Picture Show: 25 Years of Absolute Pleasure expands the original soundtrack album, which ran under 45 minutes, to a 64-minute version that features the three missing songs along with nine minutes of dialogue excerpts. Those who would prefer an all-music album can still purchase the original version, but the 2000 reissue is a CD-era release that gives a fuller sense of the film.
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AllMusic Review by William Ruhlmann