Classic Films in Music Videos: “Girlfriend in a Coma” by The Smiths

This is January’s edition of Comet Over Hollywood’s film references in music videos.

Morrissey’s music and music videos are influenced by his love for film.

The lead singer of the 1980s band The Smiths references a 1960s British film in his music video for the 1987 song “Girlfriend in a Coma.”

As we see Morrissey’s face singing the foreground, scenes from the 1964 film “The Leather Boys” are playing the background.

The Leather Boys” stars Rita Tushingham and Colin Campbell. The film follows teenagers Dot (Tushingham) and Reggie (Campbell) who get married. Their marriage quickly turns sour as Reggie spends more time with his motorcyclist friends and the couple starts to live separately.

Writer Shelagh Delaney on the cover of the "Girlfriend in a Coma" album. ""Work Is a Four-Letter Word" played on the B-side.

Writer Shelagh Delaney on the cover of the “Girlfriend in a Coma” album. “”Work Is a Four-Letter Word” played on the B-side.

“The Leather Boys” boys is an early example of films that start to break the Hollywood Production Code that was put in place in 1934, particularly as it hints that one of motorcyclists is .

Along with the film references in the “Girlfriend in a Coma” music video, the album cover features writer Shelagh Delaney. Delaney wrote “A Taste of Honey” (1961) and “Dance with a Stranger” (1985).

Check back next month for the next classic film reference in a music video. 

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