a film by Andy Warhol
1968 | 109 mins | US
›› Lonesome Cowboys
a technically flawed ode to male beauty.
Lonesome Cowboys by Andy Warhol Cue a small mid-Western town, albeit one complete with all the trappings of life late '60s style and a group of men who seek as lonesome cowboys do, some sexual relief from the seemingly sole female willing or unwilling as the case may be, to oblige. That in a nutshell is the scenario on offer here and one that was but a blank cinematic canvas for Andy Warhol to edge his camera ever closer to the border between avant-garde photography and 16mm style pornography. The result is an ode to male beauty. For these cowboys are not interested in traditional gunplay. Rather these boys prefer to discuss hairstyles, beauty tips and ballet, being in essence more at home in each others arms, than in the company of women.

And nothing wrong with that, I hear you add. Only in pre-liberation America, such depictions were an affront to many and in particular to the views held by the feminist group SCUM / the Society for Cutting Up Men, one crazed member of whom in June 1968 almost brought Warhol's career to an abrupt end, courtesy of a near-fatal shooting. Shocked by the attack, Warhol thereafter abandoned directing. Consequently this work remains the last film in which he was both directly and directorially responsible for.

Yet and in spite of the homoerotic imagery of the piece, the fact remains that this is a dreadful film, one laden with lame acting, improvised dialogue and production values so poor that the words technically flawed do not do the atrocious editing justice. Yet others find this feature fun, that of a hilarious spoof on the classic Western genre that came complete with a series of shots of muscular toned cowboys getting down to some man-on-man wrestling with each other, let alone its infamous and certainly controversial for its day, rape sequence. That it would come to mark the cinematic swan song to the Warhol filmmaking era, as opposed to the Paul Morrissey one, goes without saying, just as this feature aptly reflects Warhol's approach to the medium itself. Namely that the lighting is bad, the camera work is bad, the sound is bad - but the people are beautiful.

Andy Warhol | 1928 - 1987 | the Art Prince of Pop.
starring: Viva, Eric Emerson, Tom Hompertz, Louis Waldon, Joe Dallesandro,
Julian Burroughs, Francis Francine, Alan Midgette, Taylor Mead
Copyright 2004 David Hall - www.gaycelluloid.com.
archive reference #048
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