I, a Man

Title: I, a Man
Venezuela: Yo, un Hombre
Director, Director of Photography, Screenwriter, Editor: Paul Morrissey
Producer and Camera-operator: Andy Warhol
Production Company: Andy Warhol Films, Inc.
Running Time: 110 minutes (Long version)
  99 minutes (Short version)
Format: 3 reels sound Eastmancolor 16 mm. reference print
Filming: Late July 1967
Release Date: 1967-08-24, Hudson Theater, New York
1969-05-30, the Cinematheque-16, Los Angeles
1969-05-31, the Cinematheque-16, Los Angeles
2008-05-29, Library of Congress, Mary Pickford Theater, Washington, DC
Cast: Tom Baker: Tom
Bettina Coffin
Stephanie Graves
Cynthia May: Girl in Bed
Ivy Nicholson
Valeria Solanis [Valerie Solanas]
Ingrid Superstar [Ingrid von Schoffen]: : Girl on Table
Ultra Violet [Isabelle Collin Dufresne]
Note: The idea for I, a Man came from a suggestion by Maury Maura, the owner of the Hudson Theater in the Times Square area where a new version of My Hustler was playing. This particular version of My Hustler included 13 extra minutes of sexually explicit footage at the request of the theatre in order to capitalize on the sexploitation market. Maury wanted another sexually explicit film to show after My Hustler finished its run and suggested something like I, a Woman, a Swedish film about a nymphomanic that had successfully toured the art-house circuit in early 1967.

Nico had agreed to be in the film as long as she could do it with Jim Morrison who she had a crush on. Morrison agreed to it, but his manager vetoed the idea and Nico, instead, showed up with Hollywood actor, Tom Baker, who was a friend of Jim Morrison's from L.A. Andy had been spending a lot of time with Nico but he never had the same rapport with her as his other female stars. While most other Factory regulars were on speed, Nico liked heroin. She was also a star in her own right and not as dependent on Andy as the others. In one scene Nico is staving off Tom Baker's advances.

I, a Man follows Tom as he sees six different women in one day in New York, "having sex with some, talking with some, fighting with some." One of these women were Ivy Nicholson, a model who had been hanging out at the Factory since 1964 and, like many of his other stars, developed an obsession for Andy and thought that "she might be able to secure her fame and fortune not just by working with Andy but by marrying him," similar to Andrea Feldman who, in later years, would proclaim herself to be Andy's wife. Ivy's irratic behaviour included throwing a cup of coffee in Ondine's face and even shitting in the Factory elevator. In 1968, after Valerie Solanas shot Andy, Ivy Nicholson threatened to kill herself if he died.

When the unbalanced feminist polemicist Valerie Solanas asked Andy Warhol for rent money, he offered her $25 to appear in the film. The scene between Valerie Solanas and Tom Baker includes hostile but very funny sexual banter that demonstrates the same anti-male humor as her notorious S.C.U.M. Manifesto, published after her 1968 shooting of Warhol.

After the theatrical success of Chelsea Girls and My Hustler, the theatre owner that was showing My Hustler asked me if I had any other material that could follow it. In fact I had nothing that might hold an audience. He suggested that I make something. Since My Hustler took as long to make as to watch, 1 hour and 10 minutes, he knew what he was talking about. I asked what kind of film would he like and when would he need it. Since he was only 2 blocks from 42nd Street he said it would be good if it was like a big hit there called I, a Woman. And he said he needed it in a couple of days since the business was really running out. I told Andy and he was glad they wanted something else, but what ? Neither he nor I had seen I, a Woman. Since Andy had a disco to go to that night and I didn't want to see it, Andy suggested we make something and just call it I, a Man.

The next morning he called me to say he had an apartment and a leading actor he had met the previous night — Jim Morrison, the lead singer of The Doors. He had been to UCLA Film School and wanted to take all his clothes off in an Andy Warhol film. Andy told Jim to show up at the Factory at three o'clock. Andy would call some people and I would call some.

At four o'clock a guy named Tom Baker appeared and said that he was a close friend of Jims. Jim's manager had refused to let him be in the film as it might ruin his chances in Hollywood. Therefore he thought that Tom should replace him and be the lead. Andy looked at me a bit sceptically but I thought everybody was waiting at the apartment, why not ?

I recognized Tom and thought he would be OK. He was, and the film was shot all in the next few hours in just one East Village apartment on West 10th Street belonging to the brother-in-law of Fidel Castro, one Waldo Balart. I had to invent a situation for each of the girls that showed up at the apartment. One of the girls, a panhandler, who Andy was trying to be nice to, later shot him.

Paul Morrissey

The film was shot in two parts. The first one was shot around the end of July 1967. The first scene to be shot was the one with Bettina Coffin in an artist's apartment situated between East 10th Street and Avenue A (where the scene with Ivy Nicolson is also shot); then the scene on the stairs of the Factory (Valerie Solanas), in a penthouse on Riverside Drive with a view of the Hudson River (Stephanie Graves) and in an unidentified apartment (Ingrid Superstar); about two months later, according to Tom Baker, the scenes with Ultra Violet, Nico and another girl were shot (maybe the one with Cynthia May or maybe the one included in the version with nine girls which was then cut). The film was shown for the first time in New York, at the Hudson Theatre, on 1967-08-24, in a version with six girls (99 minutes long, according to "Variety"); some time later, according to Tom Baker, this version was screened, at the Hudson Theatre, alternated with one with nine girls. In February 1968, a version with eight girls, which was 110 minutes long, was screened at the Cinematheque 16 in Los Angeles, later reduced at the end of the same year to the present one lasting 95 minutes — its current running time. The uncut reels were also included in Andy's 25 Hour Movie or ****.
I, a Man
I, A Man — Nico & Tom Baker — full screen movie

© 1996-2011
Serge Mironneau