Friday, August 24, 2007

A "lost" Sixties gem: "Puzzle of a Downfall Child"

As a supplement to this week's on-air Funhouse episode, in which I present the first part of my interview with filmmaker Jerry Schatzberg, I offer three clips from his first film, which has yet to see a release on either VHS or DVD (c'mon Universal, let it outta the vault!). The film stars Faye Dunaway as a "past her prime" model who's had a nervous breakdown. It is a brilliantly subtle and underplayed character study, drawing on Mr. Schatzberg's own background as a fashion photographer, that features several visually dazzling moments, three of which are below.

In which a classic photographer-shoots-model-in-NYC-setting montage is interwoven with narrative info:

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In which our heroine talks about an early affair (and appears very cute in a Catholic schoolgirl outfit):

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and a wonderfully edited "roleplay" scene in which Dunaway's character leads her photographer friend into a motel tryst:

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For the full picture of Mr. Schatzberg's accomplishments, I highly (highly!) recommend you check out The Panic in Needle Park and Scarecrow on DVD (plus his later titles, available on both DVD and some old VHS releases). Also, visit his website, and check out his work as a photographer, which includes several iconic portraits he took during the Sixties, including the cover of Blonde on Blonde. The "personalities" portion of his site reads like a "Who's Who" cross-section of Sixties celebs from Nico, Andy, and Edie, to Catherine Deneuve, Polanski, and Claudia Cardinale, to Hendrix, the Stones, and Zappa (he also did the cover of We're Only In It for the Money), to Fidel Castro, the Duke of Windsor, and Funhouse all-time fave Terry Southern.

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