Trash: A Queer Film Classic
“This series will be a significant, valuable contribution to the history and literature of gay cinema. Each of these works will be valuable additions for academic and popular students of film and gay culture.”—Library Journal
Trash, one of three inaugural titles in Arsenal Pulp Press' new film book series Queer Film Classics, delves into the legendary 1970 film that was arguably the greatest collaboration between director Paul Morrissey and producer Andy Warhol.
The film Trash is a down-and-out domestic melodrama about a decidedly eccentric couple: Joe, an impotent junkie (played by Warhol film regular Joe Dallesandro), and Holly, Joe's feisty and sexually frustrated girlfriend (played by trans Warhol superstar Holly Woodlawn). Joe is the hunky yet passive center around whom proud Holly orbits; while Morrissey intended to show that "there's no difference between a person using drugs and a piece of refuse," Woodlawn's incredible turn reverses his logic: she makes trash as precious as human beings.
The book examines the film in the context of Morrissey and Warhol's legendary partnership, with a special focus on Woodlawn's acclaimed performance: a glorious embodiment of "trash" and glamour that was so stunning, director George Cukor led a campaign (albeit unsuccessful) to win her an Oscar nomination.
Jon Davies is a curator and critic based in Toronto. He is the assistant curator of public programs at The Power Plant Contemporary Art Gallery.
The Queer Film Classics series, starting this fall, consists of critical yet populist monographs on classic films of interest to LGBT audiences written by esteemed film scholars and critics.