Andy Warhol Howard Thompson - Essay

Howard Thompson

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

[In this month's Andy Warhol picture, a stringy-haired blonde drawls,] "Are you as bored as I am?" Baby, we were stultified.

Undaunted devotees of underground cinema shouldn't be disappointed in "∗∗∗∗" That's what it is called—or, rather Mr. Warhol, whose films have long since risen above, or beyond, mere title credits, calls it. Maybe it's just as well….

The question, as with any Warhol film is why?

Mr. Warhol has superimposed three images on the screen, along with several soundtracks. Whether talking to themselves, one another or the camera, or wallowing around in frenzied deshabille or blinking in heavy-lidded stupor, they're truly a sight, for those who can take them, or [even] hear them. The subjects range from sex to hitchhiking to sex to Elsa Maxwell to sex to Ronald Reagan to sex, while the soundtrack beep-beeps and moans with a kind of stringy, electronic music. It ends up on the seashore with a cavorting round-up of mangy looking beach sprites….

Three-on-one imagery—and what images—may be revolutionary for Mr. Warhol, but it comes to nothing more than the tried and true process of montage, as old and familiar as the hills.

Howard Thompson, "'∗∗∗∗'," in The New York Times (© 1967 by The New York Times Company; reprinted by permission), December 17, 1967 (and reprinted in The New York Times Film Reviews: 1959–1968, The New York Times Company & Arno Press, 1970, p. 3719).