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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Staged, grungy, bleak, experimental, and despite it all quite entertaining.
A remarkably tense and anxious little film about a group of junky musicians "waiting for their man" in a New York flophouse loft. They're joined by a documentary film crew (just a director and a cameraman) whose goal seems to be some sort of cinéma vérité about the life of junky musicians who wait in flophouse lofts.
After a few introductions, and comical "act natural" type instructions from the documentary director, the characters take turns addressing the camera. They nervously rant, philosophize, and insult each other, interrupted occasionally by improvised jazz from several legitimate musicians in the cast (most notably pianist Freddie Redd and tenor sax player Jackie McLean). The anxiety they feel as they wait for their fix is brilliantly conveyed by both the actors and the director (this time I mean the real director, Shirley Clarke, not the actor portraying the documentary director, got it?)
Much of this conveyed anxiety comes from the fact that the film is a strange and slightly unsettling mix of stark realism and stage acting (it is a filmed version of a play from the New York theater scene of the day). This is an unusual film and it honestly takes some getting used to, though probably less now taking into account the glut of nauseatingly self-conscious "mockumentaries" and hyper-stylized "reality shows" we are plagued with today.
The Connection is something different, matching edgy subject matter with edgy film-making the producers were working very much without a net. Consequently some might think it ends in disaster, I think it's a highly interesting experiment that's well worth watching.
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