My Hustler

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My Hustler
My Hustler poster.jpg
Directed byAndy Warhol
Chuck Wein
StarringEd Hood
Paul America
Joe Campbell
Genevieve Charbin
Dorothy Dean
Release date
  • 1965 (1965)
Running time
76 minutes
CountryUnited States

My Hustler is a 1965 American film by Andy Warhol, and Paul Morrissey. The film is propelled by the sonorous, magnetic acting of 30 year old Ed Hood interacting with the blonde Hustler, Paul America.

Joe Campbell ("Sugar Plum Fairy"), Genevieve Charbin and Dorothy Dean also compete for the attentions of the Hustler and provide foils for the interaction of the main characters. The erudite and very funny Hood, a perpetual graduate student in English at Harvard and "live parody of southern gentility",[1] was recruited by Chuck Wein.[2] Hood's magnetic performance was driven by his deep, mellifluous voice, trained by elocution lessons as a privileged child in Alabama, and lubricated copiously by alcohol. Among his many peculiarities was his habit of drinking beer from the bottle, not by placing the bottle to his lips, but into his mouth, sucking on it, as seen in the film.[citation needed]


The film is a collaboration between Warhol, Chuck Wein and Paul Morrissey, with Morrissey as camera and audio operator and Wein credited as director,[3] and was filmed over Labor Day Weekend, 1965, on Fire Island, NY [4] using a 16mm Auricon news camera. My Hustler is the first Warhol film worked on by Paul Morrissey, who introduced, in this fim, camera movement and audible sound to Warhol's cinematography.[5][6]



The first advertisement for a screening of My Hustler appeared in the 6 January 1966 issue of the Village Voice for screenings on the 12th, 13th and 14 January at 8 and 10 pm at the Filmmakers' Cinematheque and was mentioned in The New York Times on January 30. On January 20 a "special notice" in The Village Voice informed the reader that the film would play "every midnight indefinitely" due to public demand.[7][8] It ended its first run at the Filmmakers' Cinematheque in the middle of April, 1966.[9][10] Opening at the more mainstream Hudson Theater in July 1967, the film was shown near-continuously in New York City through the end of 1968.[11] The film first showed in Los Angeles and Chicago in early July, 1966 and then ran near-continuously in L. A. and Chicago through 1969.[12][13] The film was also shown in Tucson, San Bernardino, Albuquerque, Akron and Indianapolis in 1966-67.[14]


My Hustler was revived in New York City numerous times after 1969,[15] although, since Warhol withdrew his films from distribution between 1970 and 1984, the provenance of some of these showings is unclear. After 1984, with Warhol's approval, the Museum of Modern Art and the Whitney Museum "agreed to collaborate on the largest archival research project in the history of American avant-garde cinema: to catalogue Warhol’s massive film collection, investigate its history, and preserve and re-release all of the films in conjunction with a program of scholarly research and publication." Since 1988, My Hustler has been screened several times at both museums, but, like other Warhol films, has never been commercially released on DVD or other medium.[16]


Box office[edit]

My Hustler was the first Warhol film to make any money, grossing $4,000 from its initial run at the Filmmaker's Cinematheque.[17] At the Hudson theater in New York, it grossed $52,400 in its first 3 weeks.[18]

Critical reception[edit]

A common expression at the time of the films initial release was one of revulsion; viz. Bosley Crowther:

"It is sordid, vicious and contemptuous. The only thing engaging about it is a certain quality and tone of degradation that is almost too candid and ruthless to be believed."[19]

A few years later the revolutionary nature of My Hustler was being recognized; Vincent Canby, in somewhat backwards and grudging praise, complained that distributors were taking his critical remarks out of context and using them as advertising come-ons:

"Warhol, of course, is responsible for one of the toughest dilemmas facing critics today. Largely as a result of his pioneering in the making of movies like Chelsea Girls and My Hustler it's impossible to accurately describe many new movies without automatically writing phrases that can't be picked up and used as instant come-ons,"[20]

By 1995 the critical perspective of Warhol's most influential films, including My Hustler had shifted to an appreciation of their unique, semi-documentary perspective; Stephen Holden:

"The esthetic running through Warhol's films is an icy voyeurism. As witty or sexy or photogenic as Warhol's superstars may have been, their largely unstructured, crudely edited play-acting in front of his camera could also be cruelly revealing. Again and again one has the feeling of confronting people with limited internal resources, desperate to be noticed at any cost."[21]


My Hustler was the subject of plainclothes police surveillance in the audience during its initial theatrical release in 1966, and on April 12 the owners of the Filmmakers' Cinematheque were served a summons to a hearing to show-cause why the theater's license should not be revoked for showing films of "sexual immorality, lewdness, perversion and homosexuality." On November 16, after a defense by the New York Civil Liberties Union, the charges were thrown out.[22]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Watson, p. 62
  2. ^ "Warholstars Condensed 12". Retrieved 2018-11-04.
  3. ^ Escoffier, p. 24
  4. ^ "My Hustler", ""
  5. ^ Melton S. Dans, interview with Paul Morrissey, The New York Times,15 July 1973, p109.
  6. ^ Bockris, pp. 230-232
  7. ^ Vincent Canby, The New York Times, 30 January 1966, p. X11
  8. ^ My Hustler at
  9. ^ The New York Times, 08 Apr 1966, p. 22
  10. ^ Bockris, p. 250
  11. ^ The New York Times, 11 July 1967, p29; 31 Dec 1967, p57;
  12. ^ The Los Angeles Times, July 9, 1966, p. 22.
  13. ^ The Chicago Tribune, July 22, 1966 p. 41
  14. ^
  15. ^ The New York Times, 06 May 1969: 38; 26 Mar 1972: BR24; 28 Apr 1976: 33; 20 May 1988: C10; 29 July 1990: H33; 03 Feb 1991: H34; 29 Jan 1995: CY13; 28 May 1999: E22; 06 July 2003: AR28; 17 Oct 2003: E26; 30 May 2008: E16; 13 May 2011: C15; 12 Aug 2011 C18
  16. ^ "The Andy Warhol Film Project"
  17. ^ Bockris, P. 250
  18. ^ "More Homo Pix For N.Y. Following B.O. Success of 'Deathwatch,' 'Hustler'". Variety. August 9, 1967. p. 7.
  19. ^ BOSLEY CROWTHER. New York Times. [New York, N.Y]11 July 1967: 29.
  20. ^ VINCENT CANBY. New York Times New York, N.Y, 03 Aug 1969: D1
  21. ^ "For Warhol, to Be Was to Be on Screen" Holden, Stephen, New York Times; Jan 27, 1995
  22. ^ The New York Times, April 13, 1966 p. 36; Nov. 17, 1966 p. 54.


  • Escoffier, Jeffrey. Bigger Than Life: The History of Gay Porn Cinema from Beefcake to Hardcore. Philadelphia: Running Press, 2009.
  • Victor Bockris, Warhol: the Biography. Da Capo Press, 1989.
  • Watson, Steven, Factory Made. Pantheon Books, 2003.

External links[edit]