The more I discover about proto-hipster and egotistical hardnut Norman “The White Negro” Mailer’s film career, the more intrigued I become. I’ve already written about Maidstone, his rarely-seen 1970 feature that culminates in him being savagely attacked with a hammer by a demented Rip Torn. And I’m sure, at some point down the line, I’ve referenced ‘The Worst Line Reading in Cinema History‘ (and you really must watch that if you haven’t seen it), courtesy of Ryan O’Neal in 1987 potboiler Tough Guys Don’t Dance.
And now I’ve just happened across the trailer for that film, a slice of genuine weirdness featuring the man himself orating a selection of test audience comments on the film – some gently positive, others outright hostile (“….sleazy garbage!”) – in a pseudo-chilling deadpan, whilst eyeballing the camera.
While certainly unorthodox in concept, the trailer makes a decent fist of creating a refreshingly self-deprecating aura of mystique around a film which ultimately opened to poor reviews and is now widely regarded as a flop. According to Hal Hinson in the Washington Post, “You’ll see worse films than Tough Guys Don’t Dance, and God knows you’ll see better, but you’ll have to go a long way before you see anything stranger.” The same could certainly be said for the trailer. Watch for yourself below: