Sunday, August 26, 2012

431. VINYL (1965)

Running Time: 70 minutes
Directed By: Andy Warhol
Written By: Ronald Tavel, from the novel A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess
Main Cast: Gerard Malanga, Edie Sedgwick, Ondine, Tosh Carillo


Following the watching of Stanley Kubrick's 1971 vision of Anthony Burgess' novel "A Clockwork Orange", I figured, why not follow that with Andy Warhol's 1965 adaptation of the same material. I found "Vinyl" on YouTube months ago and never got a chance to check it out. For the curious, "Vinyl" is still listed on YouTube, broken up into seven parts for a total running time of just under seventy minutes.

For those of you who don't know the plot of "A Clockwork Orange" scroll down a little further and read the plot synopsis in my "A Clockwork Orange" review. I'm not even going to bother recounting it again here, because, to tell you the truth, "Vinyl" is barely noticeable as an adaptation of "A Clockwork Orange". The film opens with Gerard Malanga (who plays Victor - this film's version of Alex De Large), who is quickly established as a "bad guy" or JD (juvenile delinquent) as he's referred to in the film. He beats up some guy and is quickly picked up by the police and finds himself, for the rest of the duration of the film, tied to a chair and beaten, forced to watch films of other JD's committing assaults and murders. Victor, for some strange reason, also finds himself with electrical tape stuck across his chest in a criss-cross pattern and an S&M leather mask forced over his head. Certain songs from the 60s blare in the background, most noticeably "Nowhere to Run" by Martha and the Vandellas.

The film is absolute tripe to tell you the truth and had they really wanted to turn Alex De Large into a straight laced citizen, all they needed to do was apply the lid locks and force him to watch this incredibly amateur, Warhol "must see" movie. The BOOK really makes me scratch my head sometimes, as you know. I just cannot fathom who in their right mind would feel the need to include this in a text containing 1001 of the supposed most "must see" films. I guess to each their own and I really hope there was a valid reason and not just the fact that it was an Andy Warhol film. The film is shot using one set, cramping about six actors into one frame, some of which say absolutely nothing and are just there for the sake of being there. Edie Sedgwick (who I'd never heard of until tonight) is one of these silent extras, sitting on the side of the screen almost like a spectator, watching the travesty unfold. At one point, right in the middle of the film, the action continues on as normal while someone offstage (presumably Warhol) reads the names of the cast and who's playing each role. It's just so odd. I'm really not sure if this was legitimately supposed to be a serious film or if it was just Warhol and his buddies goofing around with their new camera. If it was just a goof off session, then hey, no harm no foul, as long as everyone had a good time doing what they were doing, then who am I to criticize their fun. Oh yeah, because fun little home movies where an eccentric artist has fun with his buddies has no place in THE BOOK!

In all honesty though, there were actually moments in the film where the cast seemed to be having a lot of fun shooting the film, despite the fact that they really didn't care too much for the source material, the story or making it look the slightest bit of a genuine effort. Actors read from cue cards throughout the film and Malanga actually sounded like a bit of an illiterate, reading certain lines like kids in my third grade class read from their text book - However, there were times where I actually found myself marveling at this amateur production, much like a father who is dragged to his son's high school production of "Robin Hood". I wondered about the good times that were had before and after the shooting, what the famous Warhol party could have been like that night. I wondered about the cars that you could hear buzzing by on the street outside the Factory window and where they were going. Yes, it's a shame when the movie is so bad that my attention is drawn to the cars buzzing by in the distance, but desperate times call for desperate measures.

RATING: 2/10  I'm being an extremely generous gentlemen today in giving this tripe a '2', but I can't, in good conscience, give it a '1', because there were moments when I actually cared (just slightly) about what was going on onscreen.


August 26, 2012  12:55am


  1. I agree. You were being extremely generous. This movie was total garbage.

    1. I try to be fair, but you're right - it was awful!

  2. Sometimes I think there is a conspiracy between the varied 1001 film list compilers to torment the list ticker.
    So something like this.. Well, Warhol deserves his place in film history, as an example of weird times if nothing else.

    So i sat through this thinking.. ho hum.. only another 69 minutes to go... and eventually earned my tick.

    But.. I am following at least 2 other lists.. And guess what.. they all pick a different one of this loose trilogy (Flesh, Trash, Vinyl).. so I have to go through it all again. I've also endured Chelsea Girls...
    I've final found the third one (Needed for .The Guardian' 1001 films) - Flesh. Which at least was more coherent. Boring, badly made.
    Please, don't make me watch another Warhol
    Hey, it could be worse.. One list exists with 'Empire' on it.
    Be afraid, be very afraid. He trained a static camera on the Empire state building. Thats it. Nothing other than lights come on, lights go off.. clouds pass, it gets dark... For 8 hours.

    1. Yep, Empire is on the next 1000 list I plan to do, which is an amalgamation of the TSPDT 1000, the NY Times 1000 and a few others sprinkled in for good measure. I DREAD watching Empire. It's going to be have to something I just put on while I do something else, because I can't just watch that for eight hours....

  3. Interesting..
    As 'Empire' is not on the versions of NYT 1000 or TSP 1000 on iCM.. it must be one you added from elsewhere... It is only on 3 iCM lists.. nonof great importance.. so you must have chosen to include it.
    I corresponded with someone on iCM who has claimed the tick.. and raises the eternal debate as to what counts as 'Seen it'.
    You'd think it's easy wouldn't you? I mean, have I seen tis film or not.. What if you dropped off part way through? What if the one you taped off TV missed bits out? And come on, lets be honest, I've FF'd through some films.
    So with an 8 hour view of a building.. Oh come on... Going to the toilet, making a cup of tea without pausing has to count as OK.. but by how much? Making dinner? Fine.. going shopping for the milk you forgot? Taking a short nap? Watching another film on a different device?

    1. It was on a previous version of the TSPDT list. Too bad it's the version I picked to go with for my next list, as I've already typed myself up a new list and it involves THAT version. Yeah, I won't leave the room or fast forward, but I'll have my phone handy and my eyes won't be constantly on the screen. Maybe I'll pretend I'm a cop on stakeout or something.


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