- Slaves of New York
name = Slaves of New York
movie posterfor "Slaves of New York"
director = James Ivory
Ismail Merchant Gary Hendler Fred Hughes(associate) Vincent Fremont(associate)
Tama Janowitzbased on her stories
Bernadette Peters Adam Coleman Howard Chris Sarandon Mary Beth Hurt Madeleine Potter
Richard Robbins(score) Boy George(theme song: "Girlfriend") Michael Butler& Johann Carlo Neneh Cherry
Les Rita Mitsouko
Iggy Pop Maxi Priest
March 19, 1989
runtime = 124 minutes
language = English
amg_id = 1:45128
imdb_id = 0098347
"Slaves of New York" is a 1989
comedy-drama Merchant Ivory Productionsfilm. It was directed by
James Ivory, produced by
Ismail Merchant, and starred Bernadette Peters, Adam Coleman Howard, Chris Sarandon, Mary Beth Hurt, Madeleine Potter, and Steve Buscemi.
Based on the stories "Slaves of New York" by
Tama Janowitz, the film follows the lives of struggling artists in New York Cityduring the mid-1980s.
The story follows Eleanor, an aspiring hat designer, and a group of artists and models in the "downtown" New York City art world. Eleanor lives with her younger boyfriend Stash, an unknown artist, who is unfaithful and treats Eleanor with careless indifference. Eleanor expresses her feelings for Stash when she tells him that she was once attracted to him because he was dangerous. She stays with him despite the crumbling relationship because she has no where else to live—she is, in effect, a "slave."
When a clothing designer, Wilfredo (
Steve Buscemi), discovers her hat designs and offers to use them in a fashion show, Eleanor gains the self-respect—and money—to leave Stash. There is an elaborate fashion show sequence.
While buying food for a celebratory party, she meets Jan and invites him to the party. After the party, Eleanor and her new friend talk, and then ride off into the morning sunrise.
Tama Janowitz had written a script for
Andy Warhol, based on the Eleanor and Stash stories in her 1986 collection of short stories, "Slaves of New York". When Warhol died, Merchant-Ivory bought that script.
In discussing casting the role of "Eleanor", James Ivory commented: "...but out of 100 girls, there was not a single one with Miss Peters's originality. We wanted someone unusual and different but also ingenuous and not too knowing." ("New York Times", Erica Abeel, March 12, 1989.)
"Slaves of New York" was shot on location in the
Lower East Sideof New York City, starting on April 4, 1988, with a 10-week shooting schedule. There was a "modest" budget—$5 million—that meant there were no lengthy rehearsals. There was one read-through before shooting began. ("New York Times", April 5, 1988)
"Slaves of New York" received mostly unfavorable reviews at the time of its release.
Janet Maslinwrote that the film "...simply drifts from situation to situation" and is "never terribly involving" ("New York Times", March 17, 1989). Roger Ebert, who gave the movie a half-star rating, opened his review with the statement "I detest "Slaves of New York" so much that I distrust my own opinion." [http://rogerebert.suntimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/19890324/REVIEWS/903240302/1023]
Domestic gross was $463,972 according to boxofficemojo.
"Slaves of New York" became a
cult classicamongst the gay communities in the United States. It is notorious for a scene that features a very convincing drag act performing " Love Is Like an Itching In My Heart" by The Supremeswhile making their way down a street in full regalia.
Bernadette Petersas Eleanor
Chris Sarandonas Victor Okrent
Mary Beth Hurtas Ginger Booth
Madeleine Potteras Daria
Adam Coleman Howardas Stash
* Nick Corri as Marley
Charles McCaughanas Sherman
John Harkinsas Chuck Dade Dolger
Mercedes Ruehlas Samantha
Joe Leewayas Jonny Jalouse
Anna Katarinaas Mooshka
Bruce Peter Youngas Mikell
Michael Schoefflingas Jan
Steve Buscemias Wilfredo
Michael Butleras Performance Artist
Johann Carloas Performance Artist
Richy Canattaas Saxophonist
Betty Comdenas Mrs. Wheeler
Anthony Crivelloas Hairdresser
Christine Dunfordas "B"
Adam Green(son of Adolph Green) as Max
Tammy Grimesas Georgette
John Harkinsas Chuck Dade Dolger
George Harrisas Super
Paul Jabaraas Derelict
Sakina Jaffreyas Wilfredo's Receptionist
Tama Janowitzas Abby
Freddy Korneras Party Guest
Anthony La Pagliaas Henry
Philip Lenkowskyas Fritz
Maura Moynihanas Mona
Richard Steinmetzas Party Guest
Stanley Tuccias Darryl
* This was Bernadette Peters' second role as a hat designer, having played one in the 1985
Broadway musical" Song and Dance".
* There are several cameos in this film: for example, Producer
Ismail Merchant, lyricist Betty Comdenand Adam Green, son of her writing partner, Adolph Green, and Tony-Award winning actress Tammy Grimes appear in party scenes.
* [http://www.merchantivory.com/slaves.html Merchant Ivory Production]
* [http://www.boxofficemojo.com/movies/?id=slavesofnewyork.htm Boxofficemojo]
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