Eight drug addicts are waiting for their connection in a New York apartment belonging to Leach. Jim Dunn, a budding filmmaker, has agreed to pay for the fix if the addicts will allow him to film the connection scene. After the men get their shots, they talk Dunn into trying heroin in order to understand the subject "first hand." He becomes ill and while sleeping, Leach takes an overdose that puts him into a coma. Dunn recovers, with the aid of the connection, and writes off the film as a failure. Written by
This film was held up for release after the Board of Regents of the Motion Picture Division of New York State's Dept. of Education viewed the film and refused to grant it a license to be commercially shown. This was mostly due to the repeated use (seven times) of a four-letter word that rhymes with "hit" and is used as a slang synonym for heroin. The film was judged obscene but opened without a license anyway at the D.W. Griffith Theater on October 3, 1962, only to receive several bad reviews from the major NY film critics. Director Shirley Clarke sued and a month later, the highest court in the state reversed the decision of the Board of Regents. However, the reputation of the film was already damaged and to this day, it has never recouped its original $167,000 budget. See more »
Man, I believe anything that's illegal is illegal because it makes more money for more people that way.
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Jack Gelber's play, "The Connection" ran in London not long after its run in New York, with the same cast and same musicians. The film follows the play faithfully: it couldn't really be any other way. I much preferred the play, mainly because of its immediacy and its intimacy as the action unfolds right before your eyes, especially when the 'connection' arrives', and one by one, the players disappear into the bathroom. I don't for one second believe that the actors actually injected themselves, but on stage, the feeling is that they were doing just that. Don't get me wrong, Shirley Clarke's film of Gelber's play is a brilliant testament of how to make a film about a bunch of guys sitting around in one room (most of the time), waiting for their 'connection', without becoming bored or jaded. In fact, the film is on some levels, better than the play. For a start, if you are a fan of jazz and Jackie McLean in particular, you got to see lots close-ups of the band in full flight. Shirley Clarke was/is, one of the many underrated film directors around. If you liked "The Connection" (though 'like' isn't really the correct verb here), her documentary, "Portrait Of Jason" is another gem to seek out.
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