Written by: Carroll Jenkins on August 30th, 2009
Theatrical Release Date: USA, 1965
Director: David Durston
Writers: David Durston, Robert A. Poore
Cast: Gigi Darlene, Mario DeRosa, Harvey J. Goldenberg, Chako van Leeuwen
DVD released: October 13th, 2009
Approximate running time: 80 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1 Full Frame
Sound: Dolby Digital Mono English
DVD Release: Secret Key Motion Pictures
Region Coding: Region 0 NTSC
Retail Price: $19.99
The LSD aspect was an original concept conceived by the [young] producer, and expanded into a script by Director David Durston. Really a noirish drama about self-destructive personalities in desperate relationships, like The Hustler, before it becomes a murder mystery.
This was a New York arthouse project filmed mostly with hungry young newcomers. Peter Ratray plays the lead character and does a rather credible job in a performance channeling Paul Newman. He later appeared in “The New People”, an interesting but failed TV series in an experimental 45 minute time slot. The titular ‘Love Statue” is played by New York nudie regular Gigi Darlene (Bad Girls Go To Hell) who disappeared from the scene circa ’67.
Most interesting is Japanese actress and pop singer Hisako ‘Choko’ Tsukuba that Durston contracted while in Japan. She sings in a nightclub and seduces Peter into the world of hallucinogenics. Her song also starts the movie as the theme, which is a rather surreal experience in itself. Because she spoke no English, all her lines were learned phonetically (much to the consternation of the crew). Shortly after, her last film was The Golden Bat with Sonny Chiba.
A good fullscreen B&W presentation, a smidgen of damage here and there but mostly excellent with striking cinematography. The pot / LSD / freakout pad belonging to Hisako is filled with ‘smoke’, and therefore less detailed. There are two very informative interviews, one with director Duston and the other with star Ratray. Duston relates that he took LSD in order to ‘understand’ the film (as Roger Corman did later for The Trip). Ratray reveals he was called back three months later to film sex scenes (unknown to Durston who was furious). Scorsese was required to do essentially the same thing to get his first feature wider release as Who’s That Knocking On My Door. This appears to be ‘the director’s cut’ and is sanctioned by Durston.
Almost as good as the movie are the locations shot in Greenwich Village, with nightclub scenes in the famous Bitter End nightclub (Bob Dylan performed there). Really not so much an exploitation film as a sleazy and well made noirish drama, it is stylistically similar to Scorsese’s I Call First, but came two years earlier.