Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Joseph W. Sarno: R.I.P.

I was extremely saddened to hear yesterday about the passing of Joseph W. Sarno, one of American Independent film's most distinctive and visionary filmmakers. Sarno's long and varied career as a writer and director produced some of the most memorable films of the sixties and seventies and more than a few of my personal favorites. Oddly enough, I have been thinking about Sarno (seen to the right with one of his most remarkable discoveries, Marie Forsa) quite abit lately due to the DVD re-release of two of his most extraordinary films, Abigail Lesley is Back in Town and Laura's Toys. In fact, just recently, I graced Moon in the Gutter with a template I made from Abigail Lesley is Back in Town, a haunting film featuring Sarno favorite Jamie Gillis who sadly also recently passed away.
Sarno had a long and, by all accounts, good life but he never got the respect he deserved from many critics and film fans who routinely passed over his work as just sexploitation. Sarno was a fiercely intelligent filmmaker who approached eroticism in an adult manner quite unlike any other filmmaker, and his best films seem more and more resonate with each passing year. I am planning on doing something special for Joe Sarno here at Moon in the Gutter in the upcoming weeks but, for now, I just wanted to wish my best to his surviving friends, colleagues and family. For more on his career and passing, please read this report from Tim Lucas' Video Watchblog.


dfordoom said...

I'm a huge fan of Sarno's work. My personal favourite is Swedish Wildcats, although it's not at all typical of his movies. It's really a love story, but the main attraction is the awesome performance by Diana Dors (who also never received the respect she deserved).

Of his more typical films, Sin in the Suburbs is an absolute sexploitation classic, demonstrating just how provocative the sexploitation genre could be in the hands of someone with real talent and with something to say.

I've just bought the Abigail Lesley is Back in Town/Laura's Toys DVD but haven't had a chance to watch either film yet.

Steve H said...

Thanks, Jeremy. I was saddened to read Tim's post about Joe Sarno as well. He's one of my all-time favorites, which I was reminded of anew when I saw Laura's Toys again recently. I'll look forward to whatever you cook up in the coming days about him.

Jeremy Richey said...

Thanks so much guys....

I love SWEDISH WILDCATS but sadly SIN IN THE SUBURBS is one I still haven't caught up with yet. I will soon. Enjoy the new ABIGAIL/LAURA set. The extras are incredible, especially the new interviews and the doc where Joe goes back to his childhood home in Amityville.

I hope to write a handful of posts in the next few weeks on some of my favorite films by him. He really was such a special and unique director and I feel bad I haven't written on his stuff here before. It reminds me of how many of my favorite filmmakrs I haven't covered here, so I need to get busy!

Anyway, thanks again to you both...