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**** (Four Stars)

16mm/25 hrs/sound/color/24 fps
filmed August 1966 - September 1967
starring: almost everyone
, including
Billy Name, Ondine, Edie Sedgwick, Ingrid Superstar,
Nico, Tiger Morse, Ultra Violet, Taylor Mead,
Andrea Feldman, Patrick, Tally Brown, Eric Emerson
International Velvet (Susan Bottomly), Ivy Nicholson
Brigid Berlin, Gerard Malanga, Rene Ricard, Allen Midgette
Orion, Katrina, Viva, Joe Dallesandro, Tom Baker
David Croland, the Bananas, etc...

Andy Warhol (via Pat Hackett in Popism):

"The screening we had of * * * * [Four Stars] in December at the Cinematheque - the one and only time we ever screened all twenty-five consecutive hours of it - brought back all our early days of shooting movies just for the fun and beauty of getting down what was happening with the people we knew... We sat there in the dark... watching reel after reel of footage we'd shot all that year, every place we'd been - San Francisco, Sausalito, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Boston, East Hampton, and all over New York, of friends like Ondine, Edie, Ingrid... Viva, Joe Dallesandro, Tom Baker, David Croland, the Bananas. Seeing it all together that night somehow made it seem more real to me (I mean more unreal, which was actually more real) than it had when it was happening - to see Edie and Ondine huddled together on a windy deserted beach on a gray day, with only the sound of the camera, and their voices getting blown away over the sand dunes while they tried to light their cigarettes... I knew we'd never screen it in this long way again, so it was like life, our lives, flashing in front of us - it would just go by once and we'd never see it again. The next day the Cinematheque began showing a two-hour version of the twenty-five-hour movie and that was it - most of the reels went into storage, and from then on we began to think mainly about ideas for feature-length movies that regular theaters would want to show." (POP251/252)

Andy Warholline graphic

**** (Four Stars) was a twenty five hour movie made up of shorter film segments. It consists of 83 reels each lasting approximately 33 minutes. (CB) The reason that four stars were used as the title was because film critics gave the best films four stars in their reviews. Victor Bockris incorrectly referred to the film as 24 Hour Movie in The Life and Death of Andy Warhol whereas Warhol, himself, described it as his "twenty five hour movie" in Popism. According to Popism, the full version was only shown once.

According to the Jonas Mekas filmography, the full version of **** (Four Stars) was shown on December 15-16, 1967 at the New Cinema Playhouse in New York. Mekas gives the address of the New Cinema as 125 West 41st Street but the handbill for the cinema, reproduced above, lists the address as 120 West 42nd Street. Note also that the handbill says "continuous showings from 1 p.m." According to David Bourdon, the full-length version began at 8:30 pm on the 15th and continued until 9:30 pm on the 16th. (DB265)

The New Cinema Playhouse was one of the venues used by Jonas Mekas' Film-makers' Cooperative as a "cinematheque" after his organization had been kicked out of the Grammercy Arts Theatre for showing unlicensed and obscene films in 1964. Mekas had started showing underground films in approximately 1960 at the Charles Theater on Avenue B in New York. He moved to the Bleecker Street Cinema in 1963 and then to the Grammercy Arts Theater. It was at the Grammercy Arts Theater that Warhol's first film, Sleep, premiered on January 17, 1964. From 1965-1968, the Film-makers' Cooperative used different venues for short periods of time for their screenings, including the New Cinema Playhouse. (NL114-5)

Some of the footage from **** (Four Stars) was released as shorter, separate films - such as the 100 minute version of Imitation of Christ. It also included footage filmed for The Loves of Ondine. (SG149/FAW31/33) In Warhol's quote above, he mentions The Bananas as appearing in **** (Four Stars). The Bananas were a rock and roll band started by the Latin American men who appeared in the food fight sequence in The Loves of Ondine - the reels for which were shown as part of **** (Four Stars). The group included Manuel Pena, Rolando Pena, and future video artist Juan Downey. **** (Four Stars) also included A Christmas Carol - a 33 minute film of a play by Soren Agenoux featuring Ondine as Scrooge. (FAW31) Some of the Ondine footage in **** was shot at the De Menil estate in the Hamptons. (B) The estate was on the market in 1995 for $90 million.
(Palm Beach Post, June 27, 2005/http://www.nytimes.com/slideshow/2005/06/29/garden/20050630_CURR_SLIDESHOW_1.html)

The listing of **** (Four Stars) in the The American Film Institute Catalog of Motion Pictures is below:

Andy Warhol Four Stars
Andy Warhol Four Stars
(The American Film Institute Catalog of Motion Pictures Produced in the
United States: Feature Films, 1961-70: Feature Films, 1961-1970
, p. 370)

Jonas Mekas assembled a listing of the reels by referring to the markings on film cans and through conversations with Warhol, Paul Morrissey and Gerard Malanga. Mekas' list is as follows:

Reel Title

Group One (30 mins.)
Sunset Beach on Long Island (30 mins.)
High Ashbury (segment 76) (30 mins.)
Tiger Morse (filmed Nov. 66) (with Ultra Violet, Ondine, Nico) (20 mins.)
International Velvet (filmed Jan. 67) (30 mins.)
Allen and Dickin (filmed 1967) (with Allen Midgette and Dicken) (2 hrs.)
Imitation of Christ (8hrs.)
Courtroom (filmed Dec. 66) (30 mins.)
Gerard Has His Hair Removed with Nair (filmed July 67) (30 mins.)
Katrina Dead (segment 23) (30 mins.)
Sausalito (30 mins.)
Allen and Apple (filmed late January 67) (With Allen Midgette) (30 mins.)
Ondine and Ingrid (segment 68) (30 mins.)
Ivy and Susan (30 mins.)
Sunset in California (30 mins.)
Ondine in Yellow Hair (30 mins.)
Philadelphia Story (30 mins.)
Katrina (segment 25) (30 mins.)
Barbara and Ivy (30 mins.)
Ondine and Edie (30 mins.)
Susan and David (segment 82) (30 mins.)
Orion (segment 42) (with Billy Name) (30 mins.)
Emanuel (segment 35) (30 mins.)
Rolando (segment 37) (30 mins.)
Easthampton Beach (segment 43) (30 mins.)
Swimming Pool (30 mins.)
Nico-Katrina (also listed as segment 43) (30 mins.)
Tally and Ondine (30 mins.)
Ondine in Bathroom (30 mins.)

Two projectors were used to screen **** (Four Stars). According to the Jonas Mekas filmography "the two projectors' images were superimposed on a single screen." (AWC153) Frances Herridge's review in the December 18, 1967 issue of the New York Post, noted that the superimposed images were not "as messy or trying as one might expect - less distracting actually than the double screen techniques... Warhol makes his film like wall-to-wall carpeting. You can cut any size piece to fit the occasion." (DB265)

Gary Comenas
Warholstars.org

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