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4.7 out of 5 stars112
4.7 out of 5 stars
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For years, I only had three of the Straits' albums on vinyl, this one, Love Over Gold and their debut. This was the only true rock'n'roll record of the trio, Lover Over Gold being a technical wet-dream for prog-hungry middle agers, like I am now.

Now on CD, Making Movies feels like a classic, sort of a West Side Story for the 1980's with stories about love, passion and teenage angst, opening with the impressive and ambitious Tunnel Of Love, while the opening chords and lyrics of Romeo & Juliet were amazing at the time and still today, they resonate with lyrical beauty and oft-quoted lines.

They're all fine tracks, the distinctive tinkling of the ivories from Springsteen's keyboardist, Roy Bittan, adding an extra, welcome dimension. Even the awkward fish out of water, Les Boys, which is often seen as an anticlimax end track, is pretty good, 'Cabaret' style, with swing and style that perfectly evokes the gay scene in Berlin, that it's about. Not so rock and roll but hats off to Mark for not only writing it but getting it on the album.

A few have mentioned the poor CD quality and as it's been a long time I've been able to play LPs, at least in pristine condition, it's impossible to compare, but would have to admit, there is a slight mid-range mush which during loud sections allows the otherwise clear sounds to clog up. Mark's rocky vocals in Solid Rock get muffled and indistinct because of this.

Fortunately Dire Straits were wise enough to change their style from album to album, instead of churning out the same stuff, conveyor-belt style, simply because it worked - and sold. Therefore, each studio album is unique but also will have different fans. I would say that Making Movies is amongst their top three, not the best, nor worse, but different.
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on 12 May 2004
In the current climate of artists squashing 16 songs on one release(plus a couple of "bonus" tracks), "Making Movies" at first sight looks like a half-hearted attempt at an album. But each of the tracks on here is a real gem, with as much thought put into the lyrics as the accompaniment. "Tunnel of Love" is an exhilarating ride on the rollercoaster of lust (the Spanish City is a fairground in Newcastle by the way) while "Hand in Hand" thuds to the crashing rythmn of an angry broken heart. "Les Boys" is perhaps the weakest song on the album, but an enjoyable, smoky ditty nonetheless... "Romeo & Juliet" is (in my opinion) the jewel in the crown - an explosive, heartfelt love song which anyone who listens to it will feel was written just for them to tell their story. "Making Movies" may perhaps have been overshadowed by "Brothers in Arms" and "Love over Gold" but it is nonetheless an effortlessly brilliant album, a must for anyone who enjoys good music that makes sense.
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on 17 July 2009
All of the previous reviewers are spot on! Tunnel of Love is my all time favourite Dire Straits. Lyrical genius and a beautifully crafted and deeply touching song of a bitter sweet encounter. One of the previous reviewers summed this album up nicely as quality not quantity in terms of the number of songs on the album. Highly recommended album. Will modern music ever see this sort of quality again?
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on 20 November 2000
This is my favourite Dire Starits album ever. It is not immediate, but over time, I defy you to dispute its status as a classic. Every song is a revelation, and it is perhaps the most satisfying and consistent of all their albums. 'Hand in Hand' is a highpoint, so too is 'Tunnel of Love'.
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VINE VOICEon 5 September 2000
"Makin' Movies" was the Dire Straits comeback album, following the relatively poor performance of their second LP, "Communique". Starting off a seven-song album with an eight minute song might seem like suicide, but all the tracks are so strong that such a bold move made sense.

The band had to re-invent themselves after a dodgy patch involving a half-empty second US tour and David Knopfler leaving half-way through the recording of this album. The results, though, were a real step up for the band. Mark Knopfler's songwriting moved into a completely different league to that on display on the previous two records. He'd also started taking control of the production with this album too. It's his vision from start to finish.

"Tunnel of Love", the eight-minute opener, moves around like one of the twisters he sings about. The long guitar solo ended up becoming a highlight of the live show and is still an example of how to write innovative guitar music. It's just a great song.

The commercial highlight comes early on in the form of "Romeo and Juliet", which was a successful Top Ten hit here in the UK. The lyrics are standard fare but the whole song works well. The dynamics are excellent, the ebb and flow help the story along.

"Skateaway" is a very American sounding early-eighties pop song. It was a single in the US, but listening to it now, it seems to be stuck in that time. There are some nice ideas (a strong melody, for a start) and Pick Withers' drumming is as impressive as ever.

"Expresso Love" is probably the most sexist song in Knopfler's notepad. There's some good riffing going on, but those lyrics...! "I was made to go with this girl just like the saxophone was made to go with the night." Hello? Just... NO!

That track is followed by greatness: "Hand in Hand". "Romeo & Juliet" may have made the charts, but "Hand in Hand" has got great lyrics (Elmore James' influence shown in the opening line, blues fans!), brilliant playing and from start to finish is a powerful and emotional piece of writing.

"Solid Rock" probably states most clearly Mark Knopfler's vision of the band. Strip away all the glitz and glamour and you have a band that is really determined to make it. And after the two albums that followed this, you couldn't argue with that vision.

The final track "Les Boys" is fairly funny, but seems to be hindered by Knopfler's lack of confidence in this area. Knopfler seems to be confused as to whether to ham it up or tone it down and the song itself crosses the line between humour and offence.

Overall, the concepts, sounds and songwriting are beyond what Knopfler could have achieved just twelve months before and the prominence of the keyboards really lifts the whole set. The attitude and character shown here is what gives that album four rather than three stars.
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Recorded in NYC in August 1980, Dire Straits’ third album was released in October the same year to widespread critical acclaim. Mark Knopfler’s brother David left during the recording sessions and remains un-credited (his already-recorded guitar parts were re-recorded by his brother), and pianist Roy Bittan gives many of the songs - the opener ‘Tunnel of Love’ for instance - a fuller sound than the guitar-rock foursome who cut the first two albums.

The song-writing here is beginning to mature with more thoughtful arrangements especially evident on ‘Romeo and Juliet’, an autobiographical tale written from a third-person perspective by Knopfler about a failed love affair and one of the band’s most enduring songs.

All in all this is a minor classic from the 1980s and stands up well with this band’s best work. From ‘Making Movies’ Dire Straits started to achieve widespread international recognition leading to eventual ‘supergroup’ status.
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on 16 February 2013
Dire Straits Making Movies album from 1980 is their defining statement and their best ever album. Listening to it after all these years hasn't dulled it's magnificence, and despite the out of place Les Boys it's a wonderful and timeless album. The sprawling Tunnel Of Love begins proceedings with great aplomb and it doesn't let up there, the sensitive Romeo And Juliet keeps standards high and Skateaway soars also,a brilliantly rhythmic track and probably my favourite on the album. The original side two kicks off with the rocking Expresso Love and the lovely Hand In Hand, then the fastest song on the album Solid Rock speeds Dire Straits towards the anticlimax of Les Boys and it's cabaret nonsense, it's silly and daft and harmless enough, but a stronger song would have made Making Movies a complete masterpiece other than just a brilliant album, which it is..:)
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on 31 December 2011
(This album review may be slightly different to the listed tracks).

1. "Tunnel Of Love" : Its unusual for a number to have an organ given it was produced in 1980, surely a keyboard of synth?! (Kidding!)

"Getting crazy on the Waltzer but its the life that I choose. And I've been riding on the ghost train. Where the cars they scream and slam and I don't know where I'll be tonight but I will tell you where I am."
"She had a ticket to the races and just like me was a victim of the night."
"And the big wheel will keep on turning, neon burning up above."
"And I'm just high on the world and come on take a low ride with me."

"Another hustle.. rock away.."

"And girl you looked so pretty to me just like you always did. Like the Spanish City, like we were kids."

I mean seriously this song has it all. It takes you on a rollercoaster ride.

"She took off a silver locket and said remember me by this. She put her hand in my pocket. I got a keepsake and a kiss. I let her walkaway. I could have caught her easily enough but something made me stay."

"Searching everywhere, in any shooting gallery, where promises are made to rock away.. rock away.."

Like many of their songs from 80, 82, it tells a story.

The instrumental builds up to a wonderful ending. The guitar playing is breathless, great drumming.

2. Romeo & Juliet :

The ol' acoustic guitar starts off proceedings.

"You shouldn't come around here singing up to people like that. Anyway what you're gonna do it about it?!"

"And I forget the movie song. When you gonna realise that the time is wrong, Juliet."

"Come up different streets. Both streets of shame. Both dirty, both mean and yes the dream was the same. I dream you dream for you and now the dream is real. And you can fall for chains of silver. You can fall for chains of gold. You can fall for pretty strangers and the promise says they hold. You promised me everything."

"There's a place for us."

"I can't do everything, but I'll do anything for you."

"All I do is miss you and they way we used to be. All I do is kiss you through the bars of a rhine."

The electric guitar playing which seems to go off into the distance is fabulous at the end of the number.

3. Skateaway :

As a side note I saw the video for this. (It was quite wierd). I believe back in 1980 when this number was written roller-skating was popular. It seems like since this album this track was quietly forgotten about. Its a bit more pop!

"No fear, she's sailing through the crowd."
"You know she used to have to wait around, she used to be the only one. But now she can skate around town." (What's wrong with the bus?! lol).

"She talks to taxi driver just for fun. She likes to rebel. She let a big truck graze her hip!"

"She got her own world in the City. The City has been so rude to her!"

The endings not too bad, (but it is quite an odd song!)

4. Expresso Love :

Now if you're looking for a rock song this is it. (The rendition on their 1984 live album is particularly good).

"And she was made in heaven."

"She raised one eyebrow, but her hand on my hip. I closed one eye, sweat on her lip." I get the impression that Mark is singing about women a lot in this album! (He seems to speak very highly!)

5. Hand In Hand :

I don't believe this was every released a single but it should have been! Its another song which was quietly forgotten about, but is really good.

"Rain come down, forgive this dirty town."

"If I were hard on you. I never choose to be. I never wanted anyone else. I tried my best to be someone you'd be close to."

"Hand in hand like lovers are supposed to be."

Its quite nice how we get another airing of the chorus when it seems like the song is going to end.

"Its another dirty river and I don't know who's kissing you and where you are."

6. Solid Rock : This is the second rock number on the album. Ardent rock n rollers would love it. Personally I think it's okay. (I've heard it alot over the years).

Its very fast paced!

"The heart you break is the one you rely one. The bed that you make its the one you lie on." (Hardly ground breaking!)
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on 3 July 2006
I suppose any die-hard Dire straits fan will tell you brothers in arms is Dire Straits best album, but i have always prefered this one. Yes, i suppose you could say this is more commercial than BIA, but every song on this album with the exception(predictably!) of Les boys, paints a wonderful picture in your mind and as the song develops, so does the picture. Very few albums have had this affect on me. Making the best movies!!
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on 2 February 2014
Brothers in Arms sold by the million and was hyped to the hilt, but this is their finest long-player. They roped in pianist Roy Bittan from the E Street Band and he helped deliver the wide screen wonder to Tunnel of Love, Skateaway and Romeo and Juliet so familiar to his boss' work. Springsteen's producer, Jimmy Iovine, was also drafted in and the end result is an album of beauty; melodic and heartfelt, it stands the test of time.
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