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Vinyl (1965)

Warhol's strange interpretation of "A Clockwork Orange." Includes Gerard dancing to the Martha and the Vandellas classic "Nowhere to Run" and being tortured by professional sadists.

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Cast

Credited cast:
Tosh Carillo ...
Larry Latrae
Gerard Malanga ...
J.D. McDermott ...
Cop
Ondine ...
Jacques Potin ...
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Storyline

Loosely based on Anthony Burgess's A CLOCKWORK ORANGE, VINYL tells the story of Victor (Gerard Malanga), a "JD", who is betrayed to the police by his sidekick, Scum Baby (Bob Olivo, aka Ondine), and after being tortured by The Doctor (Tosh Carillo), becomes a useful member of society. Written by Wheeler Winston Dixon

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4 June 1965 (USA)  »

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Did You Know?

Trivia

Included among the "1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die", edited by Steven Schneider. See more »

Connections

Version of A Clockwork Orange (1971) See more »

Soundtracks

Nowhere to Run
Written by Lamont Dozier, Brian Holland and Eddie Holland
Performed by Martha & The Vandellas
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Please, Remember the Performers.
18 April 2010 | by (Brisbane, Australia.) – See all my reviews

This footage is little more than a filmed rehearsal in a corner of a warehouse. Warhol demonstrates the 'less is more' mantra to an unplumbed basement of embarrassment. This vision of Warhol's really has nothing to do with the medium of film, and all that is learned is that he was very spoiled to have the resources in order to make this, for there are bound to be more important artists and concepts (and even adaptations) that went un-filmed in this era of early experimentation.

Warhol fills a stage with the cast, and we can only sympathize with them, for their talents are criminally obstructed by the moronic limitations imposed upon them. With presumably only the source text (a novel) to go by (for who would argue that any useful screenplay was written?), the actors go about filling out the bare guidelines of the inappropriately treated material. Warhol, like a spoiled child, asks so much of his cast while giving so little; and beyond that, he almost seems to obstruct or minimize the source material.

Given this, the performers do what they can when they can, and without them, this film would have nothing to give. Warhol's demonstrated contempt for cinema acts as a saboteur; the performers at the mercy of his nonconstructive (mark it, not 'de-constructive') approach, and we are forced to watch them feel for cues, lines and staging directions. Shamefully, it is left for them to stick their necks out. Warhol, like a selfish undergraduate, seems to hide childishly behind the camera – the very last place any true artist would escape to.

Carillo, Latrae and particularly Malanga are victorious even with these enormous obstructions (not, I argue, because of them). Their lines are delivered fairly robotic-like and sporadically; a rhythm is established because of this, but it abandoned well into the 'second-reel'. Here we are treated to some off-camera sadism, while even the most hardened of extras (E. Sedgewick for example) remain distant, unmoved and as bored as anyone else involved: actors and audience alike. When the cast display indifference and the director promotes his carelessness, we are only left with spectacle. Even there, 'Vinyl' has little to give. The highlight of the film (or at least the most memorable set piece) is that of Malanga dancing to 'Nowhere to Run'.

Twice.

Following this there is a smattering of whipping, strapping, beating and struggling. The film then descends into further unscripted stumbling and ramblings. Most of it stays in frame.

I can't see what Warhol gave us with this film. The narrative is lost, the actors are maltreated, and the production values do more harm than good. Warhol fails on virtually all grounds here – the real kudos needs to go to the performers. This film is a very selfish one, spawned from a selfish, lazy director.


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