Ciao! Manhattan


1h 30m 1972
Ciao! Manhattan

Brief Synopsis

A one-time underground film star goes home to her mother to recover from years of drug abuse.

Film Details

Also Known As
Ciao Manhattan
MPAA Rating
R
Genre
Documentary
Drama
Erotic
Release Date
Apr 1972
Premiere Information
not available
Country
United States
Location
Los Angeles, California, USA; New York, USA; Santa Barbara, California, USA

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 30m
Color
Black and White, Color

Synopsis

A young male drifter becomes the nurse of a dysfunctional former model lives in the bottom of her mother's empty swimming pool.

Film Details

Also Known As
Ciao Manhattan
MPAA Rating
R
Genre
Documentary
Drama
Erotic
Release Date
Apr 1972
Premiere Information
not available
Country
United States
Location
Los Angeles, California, USA; New York, USA; Santa Barbara, California, USA

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 30m
Color
Black and White, Color

Articles

Ciao! Manhattan


Ciao! Manhattan (1972) is often remembered, if erroneously, as an Andy Warhol movie, one of the many experimental, directionless, yet oddly compelling short and feature-length subjects he directed and/or produced in and around his Manhattan "Factory" between 1963 and 1969. True, the 1972 release was the work of a cadre of ex-Factory members but by the time shooting began in the spring of 1967, few if any of them were still on speaking terms with the Pop Art capo. Star of the show was Warhol's former muse, Edie Sedgwick, an American heiress and Ivy League dropout whom Warhol envisioned as his ticket to Hollywood, Marlene Dietrich to his Josef von Sternberg. A wide-eyed gamine who dyed (or spray painted, depending on which story you believe) her hair silver to match Warhol's wig, Sedgwick was articulate, charismatic, and fashionable, a counter-culture "It Girl," the Queen of the Factory, and "a Youthquaker" according to Vogue columnist Diana Vreeland. On Warhol's arm, Sedgwick breached the American mainstream in September 1965 as a guest on The Merv Griffin Show, but a steady diet of methamphetamine and la dolce vita took their toll, frying Sedgwick's brain and queering her marketability. Having run through an $80,000 inheritance in six months, Sedgwick broke with Warhol and moved into the Chelsea Hotel; conflicting stories have her trysting with Bob Dylan (and aborting his child) and Dylan's friend Bob Neuwirth. And nearly burning the place down while high. Twice.

In the spring of 1967, TV sound engineer turned film producer Bob Margouleff and start-up directors John Palmer and David Weisman began shooting what they intended to be "an above-ground underground film," starring Sedgwick and another Factory trouper, Paul Johnson, whose impossible handsomeness had prompted Warhol to rechristen him Paul America. As if in parody of the Academy Award-winning Claude Lelouch hit A Man and a Woman (1966), Sedgwick and her leading man capered all over Manhattan, their movements captured in verité black and white. (Among the setpieces were an aquatic orgy in the swimming pool of Al Roon's Health Club in the basement of the Riverside Hotel and the Easter Sunday 1967 Central Park Be-In, for which Beat poet Allen Ginsberg contributes a cameo.) Principal photography was halted when Paul America stole a car belonging to producer Margouleff's father (who had ponied up most, if not all, of the $47,000 budget, and was playing a part in the film); the filmmakers later found America in a Michigan jail, where the remainder of his scenes were filmed. As for Sedgwick, she spiraled further into narcotics dependency and was institutionalized on the order of her scandalized family (two of her brothers had previously committed suicide, having been plagued for years with mental health issues). Sedgwick later quit Manhattan to rehabilitate herself on her family ranch in Santa Barbara. Filming of Ciao! Manhattan was shut down indefinitely as the production team splintered. In the summer of 1968, Andy Warhol was shot and gravely injured by disgruntled hanger-on, Valerie Solanas, an act of unexpected violence that had the effect of stilling the revolving door policy of Warhol's Factory.

Production of Ciao! Manhattan was revived in 1970 when Palmer (who had in the interim jobbed for Billy Wilder as a focus puller on The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes, 1970) and Weisman pitched to Sedgwick a fresh angle on the project. Her hair grown out and returned to its natural brunette hue (yet boasting breast implants), Sedgwick agreed. Filming resumed that autumn with a new story plotted to wrap around the existing footage, telling the tale of a one-time underground superstar in decline. Clearly inspired by such Hollywood Gothics as Wilder's Sunset Blvd. (1950) and Robert Aldrich's What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? (1962) - hell, possibly even Donald Wolfe's copycat thriller Savage Intruder (1970), which had thrown an acting bone to a dissolute Miriam Hopkins - Ciao! Manhattan cast former Pre-Code film actress Isabel Jewell as the neglectful mother of "Susan Superstar" and French filmmaker Roger Vadim as a dubious family physician prescribing Vitamin-B shots and taking his payment in cheap feels. Playing Joe Gillis to Sedgwick's Norma Desmond was non-actor Wesley Hayes, as a Texas hayseed who becomes caretaker to the poor little rich girl. Shooting on the former Arcadia estate of California pioneer Elias "Lucky" Baldwin centered on an empty swimming pool, provided Ciao! Manhattan with some of its more grimly iconic moments. If Palmer and Weisman wanted a wild finish for their joint venture, they got all that and more when Sedgwick died in her sleep in November 1971, secondary to acute barbiturate intoxication. She was 28 years old.

Interest in Sedgwick's short, sad, and arguably fabulous life was revived with a 1982 oral biography compiled by Jean Stern and George Plimpton, which recast her as a Pop Art martyr. In 1982, Paul America, whose own descent into the maelstrom had brought him to homelessness in Florida, was struck by a car and killed. By 1987, Warhol too was gone, his curious corporeality reduced, like Sedgwick's, to two dimensions and three colors. In Oliver Stone's 1991 Jim Morrison biopic The Doors, Sedgwick was played by Jennifer Rubin (chronicling that interlude in her life after she had returned to California, in between the halves of Ciao! Manhattan) and in George Hickenlooper's Factory Girl (2006) by Sienna Miller. Surprisingly, given their often excessive and reckless lifestyles, the majority of Factory troupers and apostates lived into something like old age; some even prospered. Ciao! Manhattan producer Bob Margouleff parlayed his experience in sound engineering into a profitable - and legendary - partnership with musician Stevie Wonder. David Weisman (who had in his youth been mentored by both Federico Fellini and Otto Preminger) later went on to produce such films as Kiss of the Spider Woman (1985) and Ironweed (1987) and assemble his own photographic eulogy for Sedgwick, titled Edie: Girl on Fire.

By Richard Harland Smith

Sources:

Our Kind of Movie: The Films of Andy Warhol by Douglas Crimp (MIT Press, 2012)
Factory Made: Warhol and the Sixties by Steven Watson (Pantheon Press, 2003)
Edie: Girl on Fire by David Weisman (Chronicle Books, 2007)
Edie: American Girl by Jean Stern and George Plimpton (Grove Press, 1994)
Ciao! Manhattan

Ciao! Manhattan

Ciao! Manhattan (1972) is often remembered, if erroneously, as an Andy Warhol movie, one of the many experimental, directionless, yet oddly compelling short and feature-length subjects he directed and/or produced in and around his Manhattan "Factory" between 1963 and 1969. True, the 1972 release was the work of a cadre of ex-Factory members but by the time shooting began in the spring of 1967, few if any of them were still on speaking terms with the Pop Art capo. Star of the show was Warhol's former muse, Edie Sedgwick, an American heiress and Ivy League dropout whom Warhol envisioned as his ticket to Hollywood, Marlene Dietrich to his Josef von Sternberg. A wide-eyed gamine who dyed (or spray painted, depending on which story you believe) her hair silver to match Warhol's wig, Sedgwick was articulate, charismatic, and fashionable, a counter-culture "It Girl," the Queen of the Factory, and "a Youthquaker" according to Vogue columnist Diana Vreeland. On Warhol's arm, Sedgwick breached the American mainstream in September 1965 as a guest on The Merv Griffin Show, but a steady diet of methamphetamine and la dolce vita took their toll, frying Sedgwick's brain and queering her marketability. Having run through an $80,000 inheritance in six months, Sedgwick broke with Warhol and moved into the Chelsea Hotel; conflicting stories have her trysting with Bob Dylan (and aborting his child) and Dylan's friend Bob Neuwirth. And nearly burning the place down while high. Twice. In the spring of 1967, TV sound engineer turned film producer Bob Margouleff and start-up directors John Palmer and David Weisman began shooting what they intended to be "an above-ground underground film," starring Sedgwick and another Factory trouper, Paul Johnson, whose impossible handsomeness had prompted Warhol to rechristen him Paul America. As if in parody of the Academy Award-winning Claude Lelouch hit A Man and a Woman (1966), Sedgwick and her leading man capered all over Manhattan, their movements captured in verité black and white. (Among the setpieces were an aquatic orgy in the swimming pool of Al Roon's Health Club in the basement of the Riverside Hotel and the Easter Sunday 1967 Central Park Be-In, for which Beat poet Allen Ginsberg contributes a cameo.) Principal photography was halted when Paul America stole a car belonging to producer Margouleff's father (who had ponied up most, if not all, of the $47,000 budget, and was playing a part in the film); the filmmakers later found America in a Michigan jail, where the remainder of his scenes were filmed. As for Sedgwick, she spiraled further into narcotics dependency and was institutionalized on the order of her scandalized family (two of her brothers had previously committed suicide, having been plagued for years with mental health issues). Sedgwick later quit Manhattan to rehabilitate herself on her family ranch in Santa Barbara. Filming of Ciao! Manhattan was shut down indefinitely as the production team splintered. In the summer of 1968, Andy Warhol was shot and gravely injured by disgruntled hanger-on, Valerie Solanas, an act of unexpected violence that had the effect of stilling the revolving door policy of Warhol's Factory. Production of Ciao! Manhattan was revived in 1970 when Palmer (who had in the interim jobbed for Billy Wilder as a focus puller on The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes, 1970) and Weisman pitched to Sedgwick a fresh angle on the project. Her hair grown out and returned to its natural brunette hue (yet boasting breast implants), Sedgwick agreed. Filming resumed that autumn with a new story plotted to wrap around the existing footage, telling the tale of a one-time underground superstar in decline. Clearly inspired by such Hollywood Gothics as Wilder's Sunset Blvd. (1950) and Robert Aldrich's What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? (1962) - hell, possibly even Donald Wolfe's copycat thriller Savage Intruder (1970), which had thrown an acting bone to a dissolute Miriam Hopkins - Ciao! Manhattan cast former Pre-Code film actress Isabel Jewell as the neglectful mother of "Susan Superstar" and French filmmaker Roger Vadim as a dubious family physician prescribing Vitamin-B shots and taking his payment in cheap feels. Playing Joe Gillis to Sedgwick's Norma Desmond was non-actor Wesley Hayes, as a Texas hayseed who becomes caretaker to the poor little rich girl. Shooting on the former Arcadia estate of California pioneer Elias "Lucky" Baldwin centered on an empty swimming pool, provided Ciao! Manhattan with some of its more grimly iconic moments. If Palmer and Weisman wanted a wild finish for their joint venture, they got all that and more when Sedgwick died in her sleep in November 1971, secondary to acute barbiturate intoxication. She was 28 years old. Interest in Sedgwick's short, sad, and arguably fabulous life was revived with a 1982 oral biography compiled by Jean Stern and George Plimpton, which recast her as a Pop Art martyr. In 1982, Paul America, whose own descent into the maelstrom had brought him to homelessness in Florida, was struck by a car and killed. By 1987, Warhol too was gone, his curious corporeality reduced, like Sedgwick's, to two dimensions and three colors. In Oliver Stone's 1991 Jim Morrison biopic The Doors, Sedgwick was played by Jennifer Rubin (chronicling that interlude in her life after she had returned to California, in between the halves of Ciao! Manhattan) and in George Hickenlooper's Factory Girl (2006) by Sienna Miller. Surprisingly, given their often excessive and reckless lifestyles, the majority of Factory troupers and apostates lived into something like old age; some even prospered. Ciao! Manhattan producer Bob Margouleff parlayed his experience in sound engineering into a profitable - and legendary - partnership with musician Stevie Wonder. David Weisman (who had in his youth been mentored by both Federico Fellini and Otto Preminger) later went on to produce such films as Kiss of the Spider Woman (1985) and Ironweed (1987) and assemble his own photographic eulogy for Sedgwick, titled Edie: Girl on Fire. By Richard Harland Smith Sources: Our Kind of Movie: The Films of Andy Warhol by Douglas Crimp (MIT Press, 2012) Factory Made: Warhol and the Sixties by Steven Watson (Pantheon Press, 2003) Edie: Girl on Fire by David Weisman (Chronicle Books, 2007) Edie: American Girl by Jean Stern and George Plimpton (Grove Press, 1994)

Quotes

You're supposed to be at the doctor's and here you are screwing!
- Mummy
I was just speaking to my party before you so rudely interrupted me... for God's sake!
- Susan
You cannot speak to me in that tone of voice. I am a high school graduate.
- Operator
Oh those damn operators are so stupid.
- Susan
Where the fuck's my lighter? My brother Wesley gave it to me... just before he committed suicide. It's funny. He's the only one who had no sexual interest in me. All my other brothers did.
- Susan
My life has always been a double-strand of pearls around my neck.
- The Duchess

Trivia

Miscellaneous Notes

Released in United States 1972

Released in United States March 1975

Released in United States 1972

Released in United States March 1975 (Shown at FILMEX: Los Angeles International Film Exposition March 13-26, 1975.)