I was around the Kings Road myself at that time but thankfully our paths didn't cross (though Roman Polanski passed me in the street once, near the Post Office, and I did meet Joni Mitchell and Elton John there, but those are different tales).
This DORIAN is billed as "a modern allegory based on Oscar Wilde's work", and in fact Oscar is name-checked in the film.
|Helmut, Todd & that portrait|
|Dorian's groovy pad|
Dorian's source of income remains a puzzle, but more than a few grateful dowagers write him cheques ... Isa Miranda is deliciously funny here - what is Dorian doing to her in the stables?; quite a bit of money has been spent on this but it still looks deliciously seedy and sleazy. Directed by one Massimo Dallimano and produced by Harry Allen Towers. It is all luridly decadent and the transposition to the sixties suits the material perfectly.Visconti though showcased Berger perfectly - in other hands he often appears merely petulant.
|Helmut & Isa|
After World War I, a war hero returns to Berlin to find that there's no place for him--he has no skills other than what he learned in the army, and can only find menial, low-paying jobs. He decides to become a gigolo to lonely rich women.
It attracted a lot of attention at the time though (like that magazine cover, top, which I still have) as it featured the return of Marlene Dietrich, in her late '70s as the Baroness who recruits David to her regiment of gigolos. David Bowie may have been a perfect alien for Nick Roeg in THE MAN WHO FELL TO EARTH in '75, and ideal as a vampire with Catherine Deneuve in THE HUNGER, '83, but he is all wrong here (as he was in MERRY CHRISTMAS MR LAWRENCE) - returning to Berlin after WWI with a pig under his arm to his impoverished mother (Schell) and trying to find work (as he hardly seems to be acting). David Hemmings is on hand too with his sinister army .... and David finally meets the Baroness Von Semering, with her army of gigolos.
David and the gigolos are in Berlin - Marlene and the same gigolos are in a replica set in Paris where she lived; she spent 2 days filming this and also where she sings that title song - I remember buying it as a single. It is fascinating seeing how Hemmings cuts it all together as of course Bowie and Dietrich are never in the same shot. They never even met. Marlene (whom I saw on stage in '73, theatre label) is as magnetic as ever here for her final screen appearance. I prefer David though in his pop videos like "Lets Dance", "Fashion", "Blue Jean" or "Hello Spaceboy".
|David & David|