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Jon Davies
Arsenal Pulp Press
12.7 × 17.8 cm

The 1970 film “Trash” was arguably the greatest collaboration between director Paul Morrissey and producer Andy Warhol, and a moment of shining glory for their Superstars Joe Dallesandro and Holly Woodlawn. It is a satirical melodrama about a decidedly down-and-out couple: Joe, the hunky but impotent junkie, and HOlly, his fiesty, sexually frustrated girlfriend. While a depleted Joe passively floats from one oddball situation to another looking for a hit, strong-willed Holly salvages trash from the downtown streets. Despite Morrissey’s intentions to show that “there’s no difference between a person using drugs and a piece of refuse,’ Dallesandro and Woodlawn’s performances outshine and eclipse his crudely conservative politics: It is not that human beings become as worthless as trash, but that trash becomes as precious as human beings.

Author Jon Davies argues that Trash, so comical yet so heart-rending, is an allegory for the experiences of Dallesandro, Woodlawn, their co-stars, and countless other human “leftovers,” whose self-fashioning for Warhol and Morrissey’s gaze transformed them—-if only fleetingly—-from nobodies into somebodies.

The Queer Film Classics series consists of critical yet populist monographs on classic films of interest to LGBT audiences written by esteemed film scholars and critics. The series is edited by authors Thomas Waugh and Matthew Hays.

  1. Trash

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