Forced to commit? It sure looks that way in the case of MTV and the music videos from director Alan Parker’s hot film, The Commitments. Now that the down-and-dirty portrayal of a hard-driving Dublin soul band has been in the box office top 10 for two weeks and soundtrack sales are surging, the videos are standard viewing on the tube. But early on, it was a different story.
”We approached MTV about six weeks prior to the film’s opening with a video of ‘Try a Little Tenderness’ from the film and an original (video) of ‘Treat Her Right,”’ says the movie’s press rep, who asked not to be identified. ”They turned us down with excuses like ‘They’re not a real group,’ ‘It’s not our kind of music,’ and ‘They only do cover versions.”’ An MTV spokesman says the network simply ”didn’t have room on the playlist.”
VH-1 was less timid about fitting the film’s tunes into its rotation and was airing the videos for a month before its supposedly funkier rival saw the light.
While the group hasn’t commented on the MTV flap, perhaps its reaction can be found in the reverse peace sign most of the cast members are displaying in the publicity poster. On the other side of the Atlantic, that gesture is what we Yanks call flipping the bird.