Lonesome Cowboys (Andy Warhol / U.S., 1968):

The groundwork has largely been done by Hawks (in Red River and The Outlaw specially), all Andy Warhol has to do is erode the cushions of genre to reveal the gender blurs underneath. Shipping his New York hipster troupe out to the Arizona prairie is a grand caprice that yields a brilliantly haphazard mimesis of a narrative, couched in garbled technique that canít quite obscure its charming jibes. Joe Dallesandro, Louis Waldon and Eric Emerson are among the Factory cuties given Stetsons, studded belts and boots and plunked on top of horses in the middle of the crumby desert. The frontier town is as transparently a phantom set as Fordís Shinbone in The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, another work about the impossibility of the Western in modern times; Viva is the cattle queen, running the ranch with her "nurse" (Taylor Mead, high as a kite) and spitting out her lines ("Fine excuse for a monogamist you are!") in a flat, nasal whine that crumbles her grandeur. When mythical icons of masculinity are before the camera, a bout of grab-ass is more dangerous than a shootout -- the fellas tussle each otherís hair, do ballerina stretching exercises, jerk off broomsticks and mock-ejaculate beer cans, the following year Joe Buck would incredulously ask if John Wayne was a "fag." The popping strobe cuts are like cracks from Vivaís whip, the whoosh of an off-screen plane drowns out half the ad-libbed dialogue; the porch-stomping communal dance so central to the sagebrush is recreated with the Sheriff (Frankie Francine) in dusky drag, the Beatlesí "Magical Mystery Tour" is more to their liking. "What youíve seen tonight hasnít really happened... This is a cowboy fantasy out on the range." Warholís burlesque can be cruel, but here even Mead gets his boy: "To hell with perversions, weíre riding into the fucking sunset!" Cinematography and editing by Paul Morrissey. With Julian Burrough, Tom Hompertz, and Allen Midgette.

--- Fernando F. Croce

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