Spinning Gold (2023)

Who doesn’t remember watching that Casablanca Records logo spin around and around on the turntable as the power chords of Kiss’s Rock and Roll All Nite rattled the lampshades back in the day? Just me? Okay, fine.

Regardless, there’s a reason the Casablanca logo – and not Atlantic, Polygram, or MCA – was seen on the record albums of such legendary musical acts of the ‘70s as Kiss, Donna Summer, Parliament, Gladys Knight, The Isley Brothers, Bill Withers, The Village People, and others. It was largely because of Neil Bogart, the man who founded the label and eventually turned it into the most successful independent record label of all time. And Spinning Gold is his story.

"more like Beth than it is Rock and Roll All Nite"

Written and directed by Timothy Scott Bogart (Neil’s son), Spinning For Gold plays out like one of those rags-to-riches Greatest Hits biopics we’ve become so familiar with. Never one to take no for an answer, Neil Bogart clearly had an ear for musical talent, but stumbled his way through the music industry, amassing massive debt until he finally hit it big with the acts he knew would eventually find an audience.

We see the early days of Kiss, whose pyrotechnics set off the sprinkler system at a performance in front of a bunch of music industry big wigs. We watch as Bogart (Jeremy Jordan, TV's Supergirl) argues money with Parliament’s George Clinton (Wiz Khalifa) and grouses over the sloppy performance of Donna Summer (Tayla Parx) as she records the first iteration of her eventual hit, Love to Love You Baby. These are the delicious little gems that make these types of behind-the-scenes stories so interesting. And in that regard, Spinning for Gold is no exception.

Though Bogart’s script never pulls any punches as it gets into the shadier side of his father, he also never quite finds a rhythm as a coherent storyteller. As a result, Spinning for Gold is, quite literally, all over the place, both narratively and geographically as the setting swaps back and forth from Bogart’s childhood haunt of Queens, New York, to Germany as he tracks down Donna Summer, then to Los Angeles and Casablanca Records.Spinning Gold (2023)

Yes, Bogart takes some bold risks with his numerous creative techniques and larger than life characters, but he’s never quite able to pull any of it off. Biting off more than he can chew? Too inexperienced to take on such an over-arching story? The reason doesn’t matter. The fact remains that Bogart clearly loses control of the film’s tone and pacing with endless montage sequences, confusing timeline jumps, and ludicrous embellishments.

Speaking of embellishments, any questions about the factual accuracy of this fast-paced portrait of an old school record mogul will be answered right at the needle drop by the film’s opening declaration that, “Every bit of it was true, even the parts that weren’t.” In other words, most of what you are about to see is total bullsh*t. And anyone with even a little knowledge of the era will see right through its claims. While I’m not one to complain about a little yarn-spinning in a film like this, there’s simply not enough big entertainment for us to have fun with the its intentional playfulness.

Jordan sinks into his role of the curly-coiffed music mogul with a commendable charisma and charm. He very nearly saves the entire thing but is ultimately incapable of ascending above the lackluster storytelling.

Spinning Gold finds some success as a record industry time capsule of the day. It also manages to capture the rock and roll spirit of the ‘70s as a whole. But this is the story of Neil Bogart and his Casablanca Records. As that, Spinning Gold is more like Beth than it is Rock and Roll All Nite.

2/5 stars

Film Details

Spinning Gold (2023)

MPAA Rating: R.
137 mins
: Timothy Scott Bogart
Timothy Scott Bogart
Jeremy Jordan; Michelle Monaghan; Jay Pharoah
: Music | Biography | Comedy
Wonderful Surprises Await You All.
Memorable Movie Quote: "the incredibly true story of Casablanca records and the madness behind the music... that became the soundtrack of our lives."
Theatrical Distributor:
Hero Partners
Official Site:
Release Date:
March 31, 2023
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:

Synopsis: A biopic of 1970s record producer Neil Bogart, co-founder of Casablanca Records.


Spinning Gold (2023)