Old rockers give new meaning to life and lyrics

Sun Apr 13, 2008 3:48pm EDT
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By Christine Kearney

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The unlikely image of a 92-year-old war bride screaming The Clash's "Should I Stay or Should I Go" into a microphone backed by an elderly chorus has already captivated live audiences around the world.

Now the film version is set to do the same.

"Young at Heart" documents the group of U.S. senior citizens belting out songs by Sonic Youth through to James Brown. The small-town act has been running for some 25 years but international fame is now at hand.

"A monster has been created," British filmmaker Stephen Walker joked in an interview about the film's rise.

It started as a 2006 British television documentary and became an audience favorite at the Los Angeles and Sundance film festivals in 2007 and 2008.

The opening sequence showing Eileen Hall, then 92, singing the 1982 hit from punk-rock group The Clash provided the inspiration for Walker when he first saw the group onstage in London in 2005.

"I was totally blown away," Walker said. "It was an amazing way to look at this song afresh. It becomes a song about love and death and not about relationships."

That led to Walker spending several months filming the group in Northampton, Massachusetts -- population 30,000 -- as members struggled to master lyrics from Sonic Youth's "Schizophrenia" to Allen Toussaint's "Yes We Can Can."   Continued...