4 Shots From 4 Films: Special Edie Sedgwick Edition


4 Shots From 4 Films is just what it says it is, 4 shots from 4 of our favorite films. As opposed to the reviews and recaps that we usually post, 4 Shots From 4 Films lets the visuals do the talking!

Today would have been Edie Sedgwick’s 77th birthday.  Unfortunately, she died under tragic circumstances in 1971, after having briefly found fame as a model, a “youthquaker” (as some in the media called her), an actress, and Andy Warhol’s muse.  Her tragic life is often held up as a cautionary tale and perhaps it is.  For all of her talent and her appeal (not to mention that sharp wit that made her an outsider in the 60 but which would have made her a fascinating interview subject in 2020), Edie was far too often exploited by those who should have been protecting her.  She was too beautiful not to be famous but, at the same time, too sensitive not be hurt by the experience.  She’s truly a tragic figure but, because she also epitomizes everything that the New York underground art scene in the 60s represents in the popular imagination, she’s also an inspiring one.  Edie lives forever as a symbol and a muse.  Personally, I’ve been fascinated by her life for as long as I can remember.

In honor of Edie’s birthday, here are:

Vinyl (1965, dir by Andy Warhol)

Beauty No. 2 (1965, dir by Andy Warhol)

Poor Little Rich Girl (1965, dir by Andy Warhol)

Lupe (1966, dir by Andy Warhol)

4 Shots From 4 Paul Morrissey Films: Chelsea Girls, Trash, Blood For Dracula, Mixed Blood


4 Shots From 4 Films is just what it says it is, 4 shots from 4 of our favorite films. As opposed to the reviews and recaps that we usually post, 4 Shots From 4 Films lets the visuals do the talking!

Today, the Shattered Lens wishes a happy 82nd birthday to the one and only Paul Morrissey!

Though he may not be as well known as some of his contemporaries, Paul Morrissey is one of the godfathers of independent film.  He first came to notice as a collaborator of Andy Warhol’s.  Morrisey’s first films were shot at the Factory and starred the members of Warhol’s entourage.  At a time when the indie film scene barely even existed, Morrissey was making boldly transgressive films and distributing them largely on his own.  In fact, it could probably be argued that, if not for Paul Morrissey, the American independent film scene would never have grown into the impressive artistic and financial force that it is today.

There’s always been some debate over how much influence Warhol had over Morrissey’s films.  Morrissey has always said that Warhol had next to nothing to do with the films, beyond occasionally taking a producer’s or a co-director’s credit.  Others have disagreed.  What can be said for sure is that, even after Warhol retreated from directly involving himself in the cinematic arts, Morrissey continued to make fiercely independent films.

Paul Morrissey made films about outsiders.  While other directors were telling stories about the middle and upper classes, Morrissey was making movies about junkies, prostitutes, and people simply trying to make it from one day to another.  His films also frequently satirized classic Hollywood genres.  In fact, his two best-known films, Flesh for Frankenstein and Blood for Dracula, not only satirized the old Universal horror films but also the Marxist-themed films being made in Europe.  A devout Catholic and a political conservative, Morrissey took a particular delight in tweaking the left-wing assumptions of the counterculture.  Who can forget Joe Dallesandro’s gloriously shallow revolutionary in Blood for Dracula?

Here are….

4 Shots From 4 Paul Morrissey Films

Chelsea Girls (1966, dir by Paul Morrissey and Andy Warhol)

Trash (1970, dir by Paul Morrissey)

Blood For Dracula (1974, dir by Paul Morrissey)

Mixed Blood (1984, dir by Paul Morrissey)

Confessions of a TV Addcit #14: When Worlds Collided – Merv Griffin Meets Andy & Edie


cracked rear viewer

Sometimes, while scrolling through the Internet doing research, I run across some truly bizarre things. Let me set the stage for you: Merv Griffin was a former Big Band singer whose biggest hit was 1950’s “I’ve Got A Lovely Bunch of Coconuts”. He turned to television, becoming first a game show host, then a successful talk show host (and created both WHEEL OF FORTUNE and JEOPARDY later on). Merv was a nice guy, but the very definition of a ‘square’, though he did present some rather thought-provoking guests over the years (including hippie radical Abbie Hoffman and John & Yoko Lennon).

Edie Sedgwick was an underground legend, a Warhol “Superstar” that epitomized Swingin’ 60’s culture, dubbed the New ‘It Girl’ and a Vogue Magazine ‘Youthquaker’, famous just for being famous before that was even a thing. She modeled, acted in Warhol’s underground films, had songs written about her by the…

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The TSL’s Horror Grindhouse: Blood for Dracula (dir by Paul Morrissey)


Count Dracula (played by Udo Kier) has a problem.  In order to stay strong and healthy, he needs a constant supply of virgin blood.  (Or, as Kier puts in, “weergen blood.”)  Unfortunately, he lives in 1920s Romania and apparently, there just aren’t many virgins left in Eastern Europe.

However, Dracula’s assistant, Anton (Arno Juerging) has a solution.  Dracula just needs to move to Italy!  After all, Italy is the home of the Vatican and it’s just been taken over by Mussolini and the fascists.  Surely, no one in Italy is having sex!  Dracula should be able to find all the virgins that he needs in Italy!

So, Dracula climbs into his coffin and Anton drives him to Italy.  Once they arrive, they meet an Italian land owner,  Il Marchese di Fiore (played by Italian neorealist director Vittorio De Sica).  The Marchese is convinced that Dracula is a wealthy nobleman and he says that Dracula can marry any of his four daughters.  He assures Dracula that they’re all virgins but Dracula soon discovers that two of them are not.  It turns out that, thanks to the estate’s Marxist handyman, Mario (Joe Dallesandro), it’s getting as difficult to find a virgin in Italy as it was in Romania!

After completing work on Flesh For Frankenstein, director Paul Morrissey and actors Udo Kier, Joe Dallesandro, and Arno Juerging immediately started work on Blood for Dracula.  Though Blood for Dracula never quite matches the excesses of Flesh for Frankenstein, it still taps into the same satiric vein that provided the lifeblood that gave life to Flesh for Frankenstein.  Once again, the sets and costumes are ornate.  Once again, the frequently ludicrous dialogue is delivered with the straightest of faces.  Once again, Udo Kier goes over-the-top as a famous monster.  And, once again, Joe Dallesandro plays his role with a thick and anachronistic New York accent and he looks damn good doing it.

Ironically, one of the differences between Flesh for Frankenstein and Blood for Dracula is that there’s quite a bit less blood in the Dracula film.  Then again, that’s also kind of the point.  Dracula literally can’t find any blood to drink and, as a result, he’s become weak and anemic.  Udo Kier is perhaps the sickliest-looking Dracula in the history of Dracula movies.  By the time that he meets the Marchese’s four daughters, he’s so sick that he literally seems like he might fade away at any second.  As ludicrous as the film sometimes is, you can’t help but sympathize with Dracula.  All he wants is some virgin blood and the communists aren’t even willing to let him have that.  Blood for Dracula is, in its own twisted way, a much more melancholy film than Flesh For Frankenstein.  Or, at least it is until the finale, at which point one character gets violently dismembered but still continues to rant and rave even after losing the majority of their limbs.

When Blood for Dracula was released in 1974, it was originally called Andy Warhol’s Dracula, though Warhol had little to do with the movie beyond allowing his name to be used.  As with Flesh for Frankenstein, Antonio Margheriti was credited in some prints as a co-director, largely so the film could receive financial support from the Italian government.

Sadly, there would be no Andy Warhol’s The Mummy or Andy Warhol’s Wolfman.  One can only imagine what wonders Kier, Dallesandro, and Morrissey could have worked with those.

 

 

The TSL’s Horror Grindhouse: Flesh For Frankenstein (dir by Paul Morrissey)


Here are just a few things to be experienced in 1973’s Flesh For Frankenstein:

A fanatical Baron von Frankenstein (Udo Kier) needs a brain for his latest creation so his assistant, Otto (Arno Jurging) goes out with a giant pair of hedge clippers, snips off a divinity student’s head, and then runs off with it.

An incredibly sexy farmhand named Nicholas (Joe Dallesandro) speaks with a thick and very modern New York accent, despite living in Germany in the 19th century.  Meanwhile, everyone around him speaks with an extra-thick German accent.

The Baron announces to Otto, “To know life, you must fuck death in the gall bladder!”

Nicholas has an affair the Baroness von Frankenstein (Monique van Voreen), who in one scene loudly sucks on Nicolas’s armpit.

The Baron gets rather obviously turned on while removing organs from a body.

The Baron’s children decapitate their dolls and take a perverse pleasure in being cruel.  Some of this could possibly be because the Baron and the Baroness are also brother and sister.

The Baron rants and raves about how, by bringing the dead back to life, he will be able to create the perfect Serbian race, one that will only take orders from him and which will …. well, do something.  The Baron has a lot of plans but he’s not always clear on just what exactly the point of it all is.

Speaking of points, one character eventually gets a spear driven through his back an out of his chest.  Despite the fact that his heart is literally hanging off the tip of the spear, he still manages to get out a very long and very emotional monologue before dying.

Now, of course, you have to remember about that scene with the heart is that Flesh for Frankenstein was originally shot in 3D, which means that audiences in 1973 would have literally had that heart dangling over their heads while waiting for that endless monologue to stop.  How the audience would react to that would have a lot to do with whether or not they were in on the joke.

And make no mistake, Flesh For Frankenstein is not a film that’s meant to be taken too seriously.  It’s a satire of …. well, just about everything.  Baron Frankenstein, with his sexual hang-ups and his obsession with creating a perfect male and a perfect female so that they can have perfect Serbian children, is the ultimate parody of the mad scientists who usually populate these films and Udo Keir gives a truly mad performance in the role.  One need only compare Keir’s Frankenstein to the coldly cruel version that Peter Cushing played in Hammer’s “serious” Frankenstein films to see just how much Keir embraced the concept of pure batshit insanity.  Whereas Keir joyfully overacts every moment that he’s on-screen, Joe Dallesandro pokes fun at the traditional image of the strong, silent hero by barely reacting to anything at all.  The film’s nonstop flow of blood parodies the excesses of the horror genre while Nicholas’s affair with the Baroness satirizes not only Marxism but also an infinite number of European art films.  Flesh for Frankenstein is a film that is so deliberately excessive that it often feels as if it’s daring you to stop watching.  Of course, you don’t stop watching because you know the movie will probably start making fun of you as soon as you turn your back on it.

Flesh For Frankenstein is also known as Andy Warhol’s Frankenstein.  Warhol actually had little do with the movie, beyond lending his name.  The film was directed by Paul Morrissey, who served as Warhol’s “house director” during the Factory years.  The best Factory films were defined by the combination of Warhol’s detachment with Morrissey’s political and religious conservatism.  With Flesh For Frankenstein, Morrissey not only satirizes what he viewed as being the excesses of European and horor cinema but he also satirizes the fact that there’s an audience for his satire.  Flesh For Frankenstein is definitely not a film for everyone but, in this case, that can be considered a compliment.  It’s an audacious and wonderfully over-the-top movie, one that would be followed by Blood for Dracula.

One final note: Because the film was made in Italy, Antonio Margheriti was credited as being a co-director on the film with Morrissey.  While Margheriti did do some second unit work, it is generally agreed that he was not, in any way, a co-director.  Apparently, Margheriti was credited as being a co-director so that the film could receive financial aid from the Italian government.  This scheme later led to both Margheriti and producer Carlo Ponti being charged with criminal fraud.

4 Shots From 4 Films: Beauty #2, Poor Little Rich Girl, Outer and Inner Space, Lupe


4 Shots from 4 Films is just what it says it is, 4 shots from 4 of our favorite films. As opposed to the reviews and recaps that we usually post, 4 Shots from 4 Films lets the visuals do the talking!

75 years ago today, Edie Sedgwick was born in Santa Barbara, California.

While at a party in 1970, Edie ran into a palm reader who grabbed her hand and then stepped away, shocked at just how short her lifeline was.  “It’s okay,” Edie sweetly told him, “I know.”  One year later Edie Sedgwick would pass away, with the cause of death officially being an overdose of barbiturates.  She only lived 27 years but, for a brief few years, she was one of the most famous women in America.  She was a model and an actress and, in her way, a revolutionary.  She died before she had a chance to play the roles that she truly deserved.  Instead, we have only a few films that she made with Andy Warhol and a lot of speculation about what could have been.

This post is dedicated to Edie on her birthday.

These are…

4 Shots From 4 Films

Beauty #2 (1965, dir by Andy Warhol)

Poor Little Rich Girl (1965, dir by Andy Warhol)

Outer and Inner Space (1966, dir by Andy Warhol)

Lupe (1966, dir by Andy Warhol)

Celebrate Easter With Andy Warhol and Edie Sedgwick!


To those who observe the holiday, happy Easter!

Above, we have a picture of Edie Sedgwick and Andy Warhol posing with two rabbits.  I’m not really sure whether or not this picture was actually taken for Easter but let’s pretend like it was.  Andy certainly doesn’t look very happy with his rabbit.

Fortunately, he appears to be in a better mood in the picture below, which also features both Edie and Catherine Deneuve.

And, finally, in this next picture, Andy is finally actually smiling.  How couldn’t you smile with that many rabbits around?  Seriously, rabbits are incredibly cute.

Finally, let’s end this with Andy Warhol’s 1982 painting, Eggs:

4 Shots From 4 Films: The Creation of the Humanoids, Award Presentation to Andy Warhol, Vinyl, Basquiat


4 Shots from 4 Films is just what it says it is, 4 shots from 4 of our favorite films. As opposed to the reviews and recaps that we usually post, 4 Shots from 4 Films lets the visuals do the talking!

Happy Pop Art Day!

4 Shot From 4 Films

The Creation of the Humanoids (1962, dir by Wesley Barry)

Award Presentation to Andy Warhol (1964, dir by Jonas Mekas)

Vinyl (1965, dir by Andy Warhol)

Basquiat (1996, dir by Julian Schnabel)

 

A Blast From The Past: You Are The One (dir by Andy Warhol)


Pop artist Andy Warhol wasn’t just a painter and a celebrity.  He was also a filmmaker.

Below, you’ll find Warhol’s final film.  In 1985, using a type of early computer known as an Amiga, Warhol made a 2 and a half-minute movies called You Are The One.  It’s a strange little movie, one that features Marilyn Monroe and a disembodied voice repeating, “You are the one.”  It’s atmospheric and, when viewed under the right circumstances, kind of creepy.

This movie was believed to be lost until 2007, when it was found hidden away in Warhol’s studio.

Here is Andy Warhol’s final film:

Film Review: Empire (dir by Andy Warhol and John Palmer)


“The Empire State Building is a star!” 

— Andy Warhol, reportedly on the night of filming Empire (1964)

On the night of July 24th, 1964, Andy Warhol, John Palmer, Jonas Mekas, Gerald Malanga, Marie Desert, and Henry Romeny gathered in an office on the 41st floor of the Time-Life Building in New York City.

As the sun went down, they pointed a camera out a window and at the Empire State Building, which was the tallest building in the world at that time.  As they filmed, the upper 30 floors of the building were lit up in honor of the opening of the 1964 World’s Fair.  Behind the Empire State Building, the beacon atop the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company tower blinked on and off.  Otherwise, the entire skyline was invisible in the night.

They started filming at 8:06 pm and stopped at 2:42 am.  Projected in slow motion (which was either per Warhol’s specifications or the result of an error on the part of the projectionist, depending on which source you read), the final film — entitled Empire — lasted for 8 hours and five minutes.  Originally, Warhol planned to have voices in the background but ultimately, Empire would be a silent film.  Three times you can very briefly spot the faces of Warhol and the crew reflected in the window of the office.  When the tower’s skylights were eventually switched off, Warhol filmed darkness.

Believe it or not, Empire is available, in its entirety, on YouTube.  I watched about two and a half uninterrupted hours of it, along with skipping to the brief glimpses of Warhol and to the film’s end.  Believe it or not, Empire does have a definite hypnotic power.  When you spend hours staring at the same image, you do start to become fascinated by things like a blinking beacon or the occasional bird flying by the Empire State Building.  (The film was so grainy that I assumed it was a bird.  It could have just as easily been a speck of dust.)  You find yourself thinking about what it would have been like to be in New York in 1964 and to see that one brilliantly lit tower rising high above the city.  The tower does take on a life of its own.

On that night in 1964, there was no bigger star in New York City than the Empire State Building.