Production: USA, 1958-60
Director: Ken Jacobs
Category: Experimental
At 120 minutes in its first incarnation, Star Spangled To Death remains underground director Jacobs’ key work. It stars fellow film-maker Jack Smith alongside Jerry Sims, and was shot in various New York locations, including the roof of a West Side building where Jacobs was employed as a janitor, as well as various junkyards and construction sites around the city. The film pivots around the contrast between its two protagonists; Smith, the cavorting, camp demi-drag figure, and Sims, a dour, withdrawn depressive artist. Little Stabs At Happiness (1959-62) was a 15-minute side product of the filming, again featuring Smith and Sims in the same locations; it was finished by Jacobs after his relationship with Smith had ended. Over the ensuing years Jacobs would steadily add found footage to Star Spangled To Death, so that by the end of the century its running time was up to several hours.

Posted by Captain Nightshade

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