John Palmer & David Weisman
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Production of CIAO! MANHATTAN began on Easter Sunday in 1967, as a project of Factory regulars John Palmer, David Weisman, Genevieve Charbin, Chuck Wein, Bob Margouleff, Gino Piserchio, with supplemental roles and tasks fulfilled by various other hangers-on. The film originally followed the excessively hip lives of Midtown scenesters Sedgwick and fellow Warhol Superstar Paul America, as they lived life in the fast lane (literally speeding down the West Side Highway on massive amounts of amphetamine). The project was riddled with budget problems and an unfinished, nonsensical script of debauchery, drug use and paranoia. Unreliable actors and rampant drug abuse behind the camera whirled shooting out of control as both Sedgwick and America went missing, putting production on hold. With barely any direction and no end in sight, the film's backers, Bob Margouleff's parents, lost faith in their son's project, and Palmer and Weisman were left with the fragments of a beautifully shot but unpresentable film. To salvage these fragments, Palmer and Weisman decided to reform the script to include the previously shot footage as flashback sequences to tell Sedgwick's tragic story through the personae of Susan Superstar.
Not really a thought through project, but a must see for stylistic fans of the mod 60's and Warhol. Vignettes featuring the tragic Edie Sedgewick and some slack jawed hippie boys cut with footage from 1966 NYC in black and white 16mm. The explicit drug use and excessive drug references do not a story make. Edie's shows terrible tracks on her legs and the lackluster performances from everyone else, kind of remind us why the 60's didn't last. Read George Plimpton's book before watching this.
What a mess of a movie. Only true footage worthwhile.