Film Review: Sleaze and salsa on the Lower East Side

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Date: Apr. 20, 1986
Publisher: NI Syndication Limited
Document Type: Article
Length: 894 words

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Byline: ANDREW HISLOP

'Buying is much more American than thinking,' wrote Andy Warhol, 'and I'm American as they come. ' There's not much thinking in Mixed Blood (Cannon Panton and Oxford Street, 18), written and directed by Paul Morrissey, Warhol's famed underground film collaborator, but there's a lot of buying. Queues of junkies wait in New York streets to purchase their fix. One tells an adolescent pusher that only the baby's crying stopped his girlfriend dying from his bad dope; the boy offers to buy the baby for dollars 10,000. Bigger kids' lives, however, are much cheaper.

Mixed Blood is a sickly slaughterhouse of a teenie gang movie: part camp, but without the sustained, poignant humour of the best black comedy, part naturalistic but with little street wisdom in its city squalour. Most of the victims of the drug war are immigrants. This is Lower East Side Story with a Brazilian godmother of a certain age (a deliciously hormonal portrayal by Marilia Pera) minding a litter of henchboys. There's a WASP of a Maria called Carol, but almost no romance and, compared with Morrissey's early films, even less sex. Just endless gang-bang-bang. Cinematically at least, this veteran of counter-culture now has his nose above ground, sniffing the gunsmoke.

Morrissey's underground work was superficially more subversive of conventional morality. Emaciated epicenes would utter lines...

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Gale Document Number: GALE|A118005363