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Queen & David Bowie: Under Pressure (1981)

The video for the song features neither Queen nor David Bowie due to touring commitments. Taking the theme of pressure, director David Mallet edited together stock footage of traffic jams, ... See full summary »

Director:

David Mallet
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The video for the song features neither Queen nor David Bowie due to touring commitments. Taking the theme of pressure, director David Mallet edited together stock footage of traffic jams, commuter trains packed with passengers, explosions, riots, cars being crushed and various pieces of footage from silent films of the 1920s, most notably Sergei Eisenstein's influential Soviet film Battleship Potemkin, the silent Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde starring John Barrymore, and F.W. Murnau's Nosferatu, a masterpiece of the German Expressionist movement. The video explores the pressure-cooker mentality of a culture willing to wage war against political machines, and at the same time love and have fun (there is also footage of crowds enjoying concerts, and lots of black and white kissing scenes). Top of the Pops refused to show the video due to it containing footage of explosions in Northern Ireland, so a choreographed performance was instead shown. Written by Peter-Patrick76 (peter-patrick@mail.com)

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Short | Music

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Trivia

There has been some confusion about who had created the song's bass-line. John Deacon said (in Japanese magazine Music life in 1982) that David Bowie created it. In more recent interviews, Brian May and Roger Taylor credited the bass riff to Deacon. Bowie, on his website, said that the bass-line was already written before he became involved. See more »

Connections

Features Shadows of Paris (1924) See more »

User Reviews

 
A beautiful clip about the real pressures of the world. Bowie & Queen are pure magic
29 March 2018 | by Rodrigo_AmaroSee all my reviews

They ain't lying one bit. The world is constantly on the verge of a breakdown with its deadlines, commitments, schedules, orders and we're in one way or another under extremely pressure...from bosses or leaders to our family and friends. How to deal with everything without cracking up or losing it completely? And where's the love? Just another word thrown around to make us feel less worried and dreaming that the world isn't such a bad place. Now, "Queen & David Bowie: Under Pressure" explore such notions and realities without making the typical video clip of a band performing the song or using actors to expose their main theme. The short consists of old clips, tribute/references to silent cinema era, from Doctor Caligari to Nosferatu and plenty of romantic flicks and some images more recently at the time (imploding buildings and Woodstock-like festivals). Final result: one of their top moments of all time, both sonorous and visual. And not only they sell the song but they pound the idea into your brain by using such nostalgic images that mirrors exactly what they lyrics tells us - there's horror, panic, stress, lots of people walking around in a hurry, going somewhere at the same they're going nowhere because they're too busy with their daily routines.

And who needs the faces when you have the power of images and a great message to deliver? Superstars Mercury and Bowie challenged MTV views with an unusual spectacle of a music video that only used their magnificent combined voices and the sound of Queen to present their unique world view, conquering audiences and listeners around the globe. World as it is cracking under the insanity, the pressure of atribulations, despair, stress and where's the love to go round? Like they say: "It's such an old-fashioned word...". Barely they knew what the world would become with technology making us closer in virtuality but far away in humanity and there you have it another pressure where you cannot disconnect yourself from your facebook, snapchat, tinder or whatever instead of reaching out to the person next to you and show a little bit your appreciation, love, care, and relief your stress with just talking, hugging or simply saying a welcome and warming "hello". It's not important to describe the sequences presented in the clip; it's more important to discuss the lyrics, its meaning or its sort of like happy ending, a solution to part of our gigantic obstacles every single person in life feels every day. "Love, love, love!!!".

As for the music, our ears are easily conquered and dominated by John Deacon's unforgettable and singular opening bass line that puts us in the mood, and when the other instruments come, Freedie and David shouting "Pressure!", I actually forget about the worries the writing has to present, I feel simply great, ready for any challenge and day is complete. At least, despite the same old pressures still existing and new ones always coming up our ways, at least we're glad that someone had the time, the effort and patience to create such a relevant, marvelous and epic song. The world can feel a lit bit lighter with a powerful creation such as this. No complaints about song, video or anything. They achieved perfection with this one. 10/10


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Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

November 1981 (UK) See more »

Filming Locations:

São Paulo, São Paulo, Brazil See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

EMI See more »
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Runtime:

Color:

Color
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