1h 29min | Drama | 27 May 1970 (West Germany)
Geri (Geraldine Smith) ejects her husband Joe (Joe Dalessandro) from bed, and insists he go out on the streets to make some money for her girlfriend’s abortion. This leads to Joe’s various encounters with clients on the streets of New York City: an Artist (Maurice Bradell) who wishes to draw Joe, a Gymnast (Louis Waldon), and another ‘John’ (John Christian). Joe spends time with other hustlers, one of whom is played by his real life brother, and teaches the tricks of the trade to the New Hustler (Barry Brown). Back home, Joe interacts with his real life one-year-old son. Joe gets back home, presumably at the end of his duty work, and is in bed with Geri and her girlfriend Patti (Patti D’Arbanville). The women strip Joe and begin to get intimate with each other; Joe gets bored and falls asleep. (Source: Wikipedia)
In order to finance an abortion, an unemployed youth becomes a hustler for a day in this Andy Warhol produced drama that has gained cult status over time. It is certainly quite daring for a movie made during the late 1960s, tackling a lewd subject with copious full frontal nudity throughout. Viewed nearly half a century on though, much of the content seems tame and the film does not have a lot going for it, shock value aside. The technical aspects are very, very poor, and while it can be rationalised that some of this is due to budgetary constraints, any such knowledge does not make it any easier to sit through the dozens of jump cuts and audio blips throughout. The performers also have a tendency to mumble their lines (then again, what dialogue can be made out is not especially well scripted). The film has scattered strong moments, such as a humorous bit in which one of the hustler’s clients moults him into various naked athlete poses, but humour is unfortunately not generally at the forefront of the film. The film does attempt to offer something in the way of character growth with the protagonist gradually coming to realise that everyone only wants him for his flesh (hence, the title) and there is something fitting in how the filmmakers themselves also only value him for his body, spending so much time on nude shots and so little on developing his character… however, all this is far more interesting to analyse afterwards than it is to endure. And, given the slimness of the content, it is perhaps inevitable that the film overstays its welcome, though it is a curio for sure.
Director: Paul Morrissey
Writer: Paul Morrissey
Stars: Joe Dallesandro, Geraldine Smith, Patti D’Arbanville