In 1984, British journalist Arthur Stuart investigates the career of 1970s glam superstar Brian Slade, who was heavily influenced in his early years by hard-living and rebellious American singer Curt Wild.
London, 1971 - Flower Power is on the wane and floundering hippie troubadour Brian Slade feels old-fashioned and out of step until he experiences the raw power of rock musician and exhibitionist Curt Wild at a live concert. Smitten and inspired, Slade rises from the ashes of fussy brocade, reincarnating as the ambiguous pop-rock God/dess of platinum dust and phoenix feathers, Maxwell Demon. His alluring androgynous imagery and the seductive sounds his 'glitter rock' seduce teenagers across the world, offering refuge for the weird and unwanted with the promise of an everything-goes hedonism. At the height of his fame and cultural influence, he plots his sensational demise to escape, alienating his fans and falling into obscurity. On the 10th anniversary of the character assassination, journalist Arthur Stuart investigates Slade's disappearance, forcing him to revisit his own confusing teenage identity crisis and rebirth mirroring that of his idol Brian Slade.Written by
Toni Collette was cast very late in pre-production and had very stiff competition from several other actresses for the role of Mandy Slade. Director Todd Haynes finally cast Collette after the actress faxed him a personal note that read simply "I AM MANDY SLADE!" Haynes saw this as exactly the kind of thing the character Mandy would do. See more »
The light switches in the New York newspaper office are British. See more »
Once, of course, it was a gorgeous gorgeous time. We were all living our dreams. But you see all that went away. All of it. With Curt. And not even the real Curt. I mean, it was this idea of Curt more than anything. This image, which, of course, nobody could ever possibly live up to. I mean Maxwell Demon, Curt Wild. They were fictions!Once, of course, it was a gorgeous gorgeous time. We were all living our dreams. But you see all that went away. All of it. With Curt. And not even the real Curt....
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After watching 'Velvet Goldmine' for a second time I still have absolutely no idea what Todd Haynes was trying to achieve. He could have approached it as a straightforward biopic of Bowie and 70s glam (with the names changed to protect the "innocent" if need be), OR as a surreal, camp fantasy equal parts Ken Russell, Russ Meyer and Grant Morrison (Zenith, Doom Patrol, The Invisibles). But by doing both, or rather, neither, it's ends up a confused bore that pleases nobody. As an Eno fan I was happy to hear quite a lot of his (and Roxy Music's) songs used on the soundtrack, and some of the Bowie pastiches were very good also, but I find 'Velvet Goldmine' to be overlong and ultimately unsatisfying. I also think Haynes not entirely accurate equation of glam rock equaling homosexuality sheds more light on him than the actual era. The movie is more a post-Morrissey look at glam than a truthful document of an exciting and innovative musical period. 'Velvet Goldmine' contains a few enjoyable moments but not enough to recommend it. A great movie could be made about Bowie but this isn't it.
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