*Comparisions, Music & Mandy*
Every review I have read, addresses the issue of director and writer Todd Haynes' take-off of "Citizen Kane". I'm sure my understanding of this reference is correct, but I will not draw comparisons. I take "Velvet Goldmine" on it's own merit. It is a rare and entertaining depiction of glam-rock and it is highly recommended viewing.
Although it is obviously based on identities such as David Bowie and Iggy Pop, the many inconsistencies show that it is meant to be a loose association, obviously to cover liability.
In fact, Curt Wild looks more like Kurt Cobain than Iggy Pop. And given that his surname is no doubt a reference to the young Oscar Wilde in the opening scenes of the film,gives this resemblance food for thought.
It also seems, according to pop legend, that David Bowie was found in bed with Mick Jagger and not the depicted Iggy-like star.
Lou Reed, whose songs appear throughout the movie, was the one who had ECT. "At Age 17: He underwent 24 electro-shock treatments after his parents were concerned about his mood swings and homosexual tendencies." WHO 22/9/2003.
Mick Ronson is a guitarist, arranger, songwriter, producer and worked with Bowie. He had his own Band called "The Rats" (more trivia, relating to Velvet Goldmine"). His other contribution to this film is that the guitarist, Trevor (Guy Leverton), far left, from Brian's band 'Venus in Furs', resembles him somewhat.
And Jack Fairy seems to be an amalgamation of Bryan Ferry, Brian Eno and a few others, with the wayward, romantic and fey charm. So many Brians!! And Jerry Devine looks and dresses like Oliver Reed in "Tommy".
This all makes the movie so intriguing, as one finds oneself sifting through images, meanings, conversations etc. to align each with a member of the seventies era.
The music alone makes "Velvet Goldmine" a must to see. As well as vintage Roxy Music, T Rex, Brian Eno and Lou Reed, songs by Shudder To Think - "Hot One" was a single on radio - and Grant Lee Buffalo, perfectly capture the David Bowie sound of that era. (Bowie himself, refused permission for any of his songs to be used.)
Thom Yorke, from Radiohead, does an amazing imitation of Bryan Ferry in the few Roxy Music covers by Venus in Furs; they are Slade's back up band but think: Spiders From Mars. Another star studded line-up was the Wylde Ratttz, based on Iggy's band, The Stooges.
One of my favourite scenes, is when Slade and Wild, just after their fateful meeting, are on an amusement park ride, each in a little space car, going up and down, swirling around and around to Lou Reed's "Satellite of Love".
And here is the video.
The person who suffered the most from Brian's defection was obviously Mandy. Superbly portrayed by Toni Collette, it is she who was the most humiliated and ruined by the self-absorbed artist.
Left a shattered woman, she was living on the memories of " ...that gorgeous, gorgeous time. We were all living our dreams." Their's seem to love/lust at firstsight, meeting at a club on New Years Eve. She stood staunchly by him throughout the many phases that he went through.
Mandy, the american darling,turned London socialite, lost not only her status in swinging London, but also the love and partnership of her husband who so cruelly abandoned her, after what had seemed like a perfect marriage.
She was left with little but her dignity and this was what Arthur Stuart quickly picked up upon.
Arthur: Well I think you do actually.
Mandy: Oh yeah? Well what makes you think so?
Arthur: Well your smile for one thing.
Mandy: Well, smiles lie.
More of this meeting on the next page. It must appear that I'm jumping back and forth considerably. The movie is like this, not only from one decade to another but also during each scene. Yet it is not at all difficult to follow.