Friday, December 16, 2011

Trash for Treasure

I have been slowly making my way through the Paul Morrissey boxset, "The Andy Warhol Collection". It's been wonderful and weird in equal measure; I liked that Heat was like some warped version of Melrose Place and that Flesh for Frankenstein was their version of a lush, lavish period piece. And in 3D no less! That dinner table sequence with the panning camera was simply divine, and that finale is some sort of cracked out insanity right there! I can't say that any have had the potency and the sticky imprint of Flesh though, which was a rather incredible piece of cinema that is edited through a woodchipper in the same way Lars von Trier does and photographed like the lens has been smeared with grime and sweat. Nick Davis' typically intuitive write-up of that film for his Top 100 Films list has a particularly delicious comparison to Douglas Sirk and melodrama that I can't say I'd particularly thought about before, but now can't do anything else.

Still, it was while researching Trash that I came across perhaps one of the greatest bits of movie trivia ever. Oh sure, some people think it's absolutely wild that Tom Sellick was meant to be Indiana Jones, but I found this bonmot regarding transgendered actress Holly Woodlawn to be the very definition of amazing.

In October she was assigned a bit role in Trash, but so impressed director Paul Morrissey that she was given a larger role. In 1970 she received word from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences that George Cukor, supported by others, was petitioning the Academy to nominate her for Trash however, nothing came of this campaign.

Apparently George Cukor, Oscar winning director of My Fair Lady, The Philadelphia Story, and many others, initiated the campaign and got signatures from Ben Gazzara and Joanne Woodward. Doesn't this just blow your mind? Actors and filmmakers of their calibre are not the kind you would expect to go to stumps for a transgendered actress in a no budget independent movie that features intravenous drug use, full frontal male nudity and lots of sex. Woodlawn's performance is electrifying and magnetic, I literally couldn't take my eyes off of her even when she's sharing a scene with a naked Joe Dallesandro (and given he's one of the sexiest actors to grace the screen, that's a tall order). Cukor's initiative was obviously doomed, but it certainly makes me curious as to what other fringe dwellers caught the eye of the Hollywood establishment.


par3182 said...

giant was directed by george stevens

Glenn Dunks said...

Indeed it was, thanks for the pick up.