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Dusty and Sweets McGee  /  The Panic in Needle Park

Dusty and Sweets McGee
February 2, 2020 - 7:00 pm

Dusty and Sweets McGee  (1971)

Wishing to cash in on the youth market, Warner Bros. financed director Floyd Mutrux’s film about two young drug addicts, adrift in late 1960s Los Angeles without approving a script.  Virtually plotless, and starring mostly amateur actors, Mutrux’s film drifts dreamily through sun-drenched, shiny urban landscapes, while its denizens wander from one fix to the next, spiritually dead.

35mm, color, 95 min. Director/Screenwriter: Floyd Mutrux. Cinematographer: William Fraker. Cast: Tip, Nancy, Beverly, Mitch, Larry.

The Panic in Needle Park  (1971)

Another early ‘70s studio gambit for the youth market, Jerry Schatzberg’s street-level portrait of a pair of heroin-addicted lovers on the down-and-out in Manhattan split critics over the nature of its imagery. Variety lauded it for “drama so real” it seems to be a documentary while the New York Times found it’s “self-effacing” style lacking an “articulate intelligence.” Either way, it’s still an essential test case for how to define what J. Hoberman described on the occasion of its re-release in 2009 as Schatzberg’s “relative neorealism.” 

35mm, color, 116 min. Director: Jerry Schatzberg. Screenwriter: Joan Didion, John Gregory Dunne. Cinematographer: Adam Holender. Cast: Al Pacino, Kitty Winn, Alan Vint.