November 17, 2016

Tudor City on Film: CIAO! MANHATTAN with Edie Sedgwick

This month's installment of Tudor City on Film examines Ciao! Manhattan, the semi-biographical story of Edie Sedgwick, the Andy Warhol superstar and quintessential poor little rich girl. Other Warhol discoveries in the cast include Viva (a future superstar) and Baby Jane Holzer (a past one).

A self-proclaimed underground film, the picture was beset by all the cliches of the genre: amphetamine-addled actors, a make-it-up-as-you-go-along scenario, never-ending budget problems. Filming began on Easter Sunday 1967 at the Central Park Be-In -- the first salvo of the counter-culture in New York. The Tudor City sequence was shot soon after. Why Tudor City? Convenience. David Weisman, co-writer/co-director of the film, lived in duplex garden apartment at 336 E. 43rd Street with Tudor City right outside his door.

The Tudor City sequence opens with Viva and pals hanging around the 42nd Street bridge.

On the other side of the bridge,  Edie Sedgwick and Paul America (another Warhol protege) 
take in the UN and East River..
Viva crosses Tudor City Place to say hello.
Prospect Tower and its Terrace Restaurant in the background.
Sedgwick leads the group around the corner to the Isaiah Wall for an impromptu photo shoot. Wrapped in a leopard-skin mini-coat, she drapes herself over the stairwell in a gravity-defying pose.
Sedgwick in full It Girl mode, posing in front of  No. 45's fallout shelter sign. Hugging the corner of the frame is Baby Jane Holzer. The Girl of the Year in 1964, she was a bit player by 1967.

Shooting proceeded sporadically through the spring, then ceased altogether by summer when the financing fizzled out. Years passed, more cash was cobbled together, and the production resumed on the West Coast, where Sedgwick was then living. Hopelessly addicted to drugs, she was in very bad shape, her 'performance' all too real.

Five years in the making, Ciao! Manhattan finally premiered in Europe in 1972, but had no general U.S. release until 1982, after a best-selling biography of Sedgwick made her a cult figure. Though the picture got lousy reviews -- the "Citizen Kane of the drug movement" (the Village Voice), "Sunset Boulevard for real" (Time magazine) -- over time it too has earned some cult cred.


  1. Thanks - Loving this focus on the coolest neighb. in Manhattan... Tudor City!

  2. I need to see this! Fab post, Curt. xo

  3. Feel ever so "culchad" after reading your posts!