Monday, April 16, 2007

Boogie Nights: Companion Films

Two absolutely essential films to view in relation to BOOGIE NIGHTS are the 1981 Julia St. Vincent documentary on John Holmes entitled EXHAUSTED and Paul Thomas Anderson's own 1988 shot on video THE DIRK DIGGLER STORY.
EXHAUSTED is an extremely engrossing and at times haunting documentary on Holmes that shows him simultaneously as a nice and corrupt man with an ego seemingly ready to explode. EXHAUSTED is essential film viewing for fans of BOOGIE NIGHTS or the more subversive side of the seventies in general.

Even more essential and harder to find is THE DIRK DIGGLER STORY. This remarkable thirty minute no budget short was shot when Anderson was just 17 but it shows that he already had a clear vision of what he was going to eventually do in BOOGIE NIGHTS 9 years later. Dirk is joined by early sketches of the characters Reed Rothchild as well as Jack Horner, played by the great Robert Ridgley (who would go on to play the Colonel in BOOGIE NIGHTS). The film features several differences in character and plot compared to BOOGIE NIGHTS but it remains a fascinating early draft and insightful look into the mind of a soon to be major cinematic figure.
THE DIRK DIGGLER STORY has never been officially released but bootleg copies pop up on ebay occasionally and it is pretty easy to find through a handful of mail order companies.

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