Maidstone And Other Films By Norman Mailer: Eclipse From The Criterion Collection
Norman Mailer is remembered for many things - his novels, his essays, his articles, his activism, his ego. One largely forgotten chapter of his life, however, is his late-sixties, headlong, kamikaze-style plunge into making experimental films. These rough-hewn, self-financed, largely improvised metafictions are works of madness and bravado, all starring Mailer himself and with technical assistance from cinema veritÃ© trailblazers D. A. Pennebaker and Richard Leacock. The most fully realized of his directorial efforts is the blustering, brawling Maidstone, a shocking sign of the political times, in which Mailer plays a filmmaker and presidential candidate who may be the target of an assassination attempt. Along with Mailer's other films of the period - Wild 90 and Beyond the Law- it shows an uncompromising artist in thrall to both himself and a new medium.
Mailer and Rip Torn's bloody, real-life, caught-on-camera tussle is but one of the jolts in this brazen political pageant.
Mailer and friends Buzz Farbar and Mickey Knox snarl and grunt as a trio of gangsters trapped in a New York apartment in this low-budget Sartrean exercise.
Beyond The Law
Mailer's coarse depiction of the daily routine of a group of Manhattan police officers, deglamorized and ragged.