Sunday, January 30, 2011
These are some images from Jack Smith's final feature film, No President. Since the gallery which handles Smith's Estate seems even less willing to make his works available to those who want to view them than the Plaster Foundation did, I thought it might be interesting to present some small selections. My old friend Irving Rosenthal starred in this film as the infant Wendell Willkie. Jack broke his jaw with a two-by-four when he refused to shave his beard for the role (or possibly some other infraction, depending on whichever source one chooses to believe.) Filming stopped, they parted ways for a time, but eventually Jack apologized and they resumed their friendship. To this day, Irving continues to worship Jack. I saw a version of this film at the Museum of the Moving Image in Astoria Queens in 1997. This was during the rather ramshackle retrospective that was organized by Penny Arcade and friends at PS1. Irving told me that he preferred this film to Normal Love, but when he was sent a (bad video) copy of this restoration, he maintained that the film was lost, that what they were showing was not No President. For me, these fragments are mesmerizing.