Blue Movie (1969)

140 or 105 mins | Drama | 21 July 1969

Director:

Andy Warhol

Cinematographer:

Andy Warhol

Production Company:

Factory Films
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HISTORY

The 25 Jun 1969 Var review noted that Blue Movie was shot in Sep 1968 in New York City. Along with several other contemporary sources, Var identified it as the first theatrically released picture to depict actual sexual intercourse. The film was originally titled Fuck (alternately spelled F,k), but the name was changed prior to release for advertising and publicity purposes, as indicated in an 18 Jun 1969 Var article.
       The first showing took place on 12 Jun 1969 at the Elgin Theatre in New York City, as part of a benefit screening organized by filmmaker Jonas Mekas. The event raised money for Film Culture magazine, Var noted. The 25 Jun 1969 review listed a running time of 140 minutes, and stated that the film consisted of four reels, each thirty-five-minutes long, “including leaders, spliced together.” The 18 Jun 1969 Var indicated that “lovemaking” took up approximately ten minutes of the action.
       Theatrical release occurred at the Andy Warhol Garrick Theatre in New York City on 21 Jul 1969. Vincent Canby’s review in the following day’s NYT noted the film had not been rated by the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA). It listed a running time of 105 minutes, and described the picture as “literally a cool, greenish-blue in color.” Canby suggested a scene toward the end might be an homage to François Truffaut’s 1968 film Baisers volés (a.k.a. Stolen Kisses), and stated that program notes cryptically described Blue Movie as “about the Vietnam war and what we can do ... More Less

The 25 Jun 1969 Var review noted that Blue Movie was shot in Sep 1968 in New York City. Along with several other contemporary sources, Var identified it as the first theatrically released picture to depict actual sexual intercourse. The film was originally titled Fuck (alternately spelled F,k), but the name was changed prior to release for advertising and publicity purposes, as indicated in an 18 Jun 1969 Var article.
       The first showing took place on 12 Jun 1969 at the Elgin Theatre in New York City, as part of a benefit screening organized by filmmaker Jonas Mekas. The event raised money for Film Culture magazine, Var noted. The 25 Jun 1969 review listed a running time of 140 minutes, and stated that the film consisted of four reels, each thirty-five-minutes long, “including leaders, spliced together.” The 18 Jun 1969 Var indicated that “lovemaking” took up approximately ten minutes of the action.
       Theatrical release occurred at the Andy Warhol Garrick Theatre in New York City on 21 Jul 1969. Vincent Canby’s review in the following day’s NYT noted the film had not been rated by the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA). It listed a running time of 105 minutes, and described the picture as “literally a cool, greenish-blue in color.” Canby suggested a scene toward the end might be an homage to François Truffaut’s 1968 film Baisers volés (a.k.a. Stolen Kisses), and stated that program notes cryptically described Blue Movie as “about the Vietnam war and what we can do about it.”
       On 31 Jul 1969, three employees of the Garrick Theatre were arrested and their print of Blue Movie was seized by New York police, as reported in a 2 Aug 1969 NYT item. Charges of obscenity were brought against the theater staff after Judge Arthur H. Goldberg attended an afternoon showing of the movie on 31 Jul 1969, one day after Assistant District Attorney Richard W. Beckler had viewed it. An 18 Sep 1969 NYT brief later announced that a three-judge panel ruled unanimously that the film was “hard-core pornography and in violation of the Penal Code.” Garrick Theatre manager Saul Heller was given a choice of a thirty-day jail sentence or a $250 fine. Heller’s lawyer, Joel Weinberg, mentioned recent mainstream theatrical releases Alice’s Restaurant and Easy Rider (both 1969, see entries) in his argument against the film’s obscenity, and as evidence of a “dramatic change in social climate in the mass media.”
       NYT critic Canby wrote in a 10 Aug 1969 article that the sex shown in the film appeared to have taken place in real life despite a pronounced lack of passion. Executive producer Paul Morrissey declined to comment on whether or not the sex was simulated or real, and was quoted in a 29 Sep 1969 LAT item as saying, “The whole intent of the film is against titillation. It’s all saying, ‘Here’s sex: it isn’t important.’ Everybody today says that sex is a big thing. Well, here’s Andy [Warhol] saying ‘It’s not. Here it is. I’ll show it to you.’”
       Prior to the obscenity ruling, a Sep 1969 opening on the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) campus had been scheduled to take place, possibly to be followed by a San Francisco, CA, opening at the Presido Theatre, according to the 18 Jun 1969 Var. More Less

GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Los Angeles Times
29 Sep 1969
Section E, p. 20.
New York Times
22 Jul 1969.
---
New York Times
2 Aug 1969.
---
New York Times
10 Aug 1969
Section D, p. 1, 4.
New York Times
18 Sep 1969.
---
Variety
18 Jun 1969
p. 3.
Variety
25 Jun 1969
p. 18.
CAST
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT

NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTOR
PRODUCERS
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
SOUND
DETAILS
Alternate Titles:
Fuck
F,k
Release Date:
21 July 1969
Premiere Information:
Benefit premiere in New York: 12 June 1969 at the Elgin Theatre
New York opening: 21 July 1969 at the Andy Warhol Garrick Theatre
Production Date:
September 1968
Physical Properties:
Sound
Color
Eastman Color
gauge
16
Duration(in mins):
140 or 105
Country:
United States
Language:
English
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

Viva and Louis spend an afternoon in a Manhattan apartment. While lying on a bed, they discuss such topics as strychnine in drugs and whether it is responsible for hallucinations; the paintings of Franz Kline; Viva's concern about getting old; how athlete's foot and gonorrhea are contracted; and the possibility that they will get married. Louis removes Viva's clothes as well as his own, and they continue their discussions while they examine each other's bodies and have sexual intercourse. Later, Viva relates an incident in which she was stopped by police in East Hampton, Long Island, for not wearing a brassiere. They go on to discuss Mayor Lindsay of New York, the predicament of U.S. involvement in Vietnam, and the futility of war. Kneeling near the bed, they watch television for a while; they then get dressed. Viva prepares a meal; they discuss oral sex and Louis's unhappy marriage; and finally they move to the bathroom. Louis gets into the shower fully clothed, and Viva admits that she is "stoned." They disrobe and enjoy some sexual horseplay in and out of the bathtub until Viva looks at the camera, asks, "Is it on? Is it still on?" and ... +


Viva and Louis spend an afternoon in a Manhattan apartment. While lying on a bed, they discuss such topics as strychnine in drugs and whether it is responsible for hallucinations; the paintings of Franz Kline; Viva's concern about getting old; how athlete's foot and gonorrhea are contracted; and the possibility that they will get married. Louis removes Viva's clothes as well as his own, and they continue their discussions while they examine each other's bodies and have sexual intercourse. Later, Viva relates an incident in which she was stopped by police in East Hampton, Long Island, for not wearing a brassiere. They go on to discuss Mayor Lindsay of New York, the predicament of U.S. involvement in Vietnam, and the futility of war. Kneeling near the bed, they watch television for a while; they then get dressed. Viva prepares a meal; they discuss oral sex and Louis's unhappy marriage; and finally they move to the bathroom. Louis gets into the shower fully clothed, and Viva admits that she is "stoned." They disrobe and enjoy some sexual horseplay in and out of the bathtub until Viva looks at the camera, asks, "Is it on? Is it still on?" and flees. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.