Francis Ford Coppola Presents William S. Burroughs' The Junky's Christmas
Part claymation and part live action, The Junkys Christmas, depicts a story by William S. Burroughs written in 1952. Danny the car wiper, a desperate character who has just been released from jail on the upper west side of Manhattan, searches for a fix on a cold Christmas day. His story ends in a revelation that even Danny could never have thought possible.
Includes the short films:
Traveling Light featuring the music of Van Morrison
Ironbound featuring the music of Joe Jackson
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The Junky's Christmas - A short story written and narrated by William S. Burroughs in claymation form about a heroin addict named Danny the Wiper and his search for heroin on Christmas Day. The narration and musical accompaniment are from an album Burroughs did with the Industrial Hip-Hop group The Disposable Heros of Hiphoprisy called Spare Ass Annie and Other Tales. In my personal opinion this short is the highlight of the three without question.
Ironbound - A story that takes place in an industrial wasteland and centers around an outcast boy and an old mariner trying to get his submarine functioning again. The short is set to music from the artist Joe Jackson's album Night Music, which I think complemented the tone of the piece. The visuals of the decrepit and sordid wasteland were intriguing and well done. Overall I'd probably rank this short on the bottom compared to the other two.
Traveling Light - An abstract short that appears to be taking place in a dream. There really isn't much here, and it felt kind of pretentious, though I enjoyed seeing the bits and pieces of dream imagery.
This is a solid collection of shorts from an era long since passed on TV. The idea that VH1 would commission artistic shorts like this is shocking. Pick it up and enjoy!
As others have said, this a short claymation film of a 1952 William Burroughs' short story. The film is in B/W and has an occasional rock drum beat to highlight dramatic scenes. Burroughs narration is great, and he's usually the best to orate his stories. That slow droning voice of his, as if it originated from the grave, and his tactical pauses that draw your attention to what he just said or is about to say. Good choice, adds cynical pathos to the story. Poor old Danny is trying to score a fix during dry times. What kind of hustle is he going to have to engage in to alleviate his sickness? Watch the DVD to find out about the immaculate fix.
The other short films are experimental, and I thought they were OK. Ironbound is about a former submariner with an obsession with his past. Traveling Light I enjoyed because of the Van Morrison soundtrack along with Moreleigh Steinberg's interpretive dancing - nice legs too. The DVD is clean, no problems with it.
What makes "The Junk's Christmas" so special is the details. Although the characters are claymation and the sets miniatures, it captures a wintry Christmas day in New York City more vividly than any live action film ever could. And Burrough's writing and narration is perfection.
To all the people involved in the creation of this special - THANK YOU! I know a lot of people share my sentiment, and I'm hopeful that in time it will find it's audience.
it is on the list with 'it's a wonderful life', 'emmett otter's jugband christmas', and 'mr. mcgoo's a christmas carol'.
ok, ok, so i am a sap. i love that touchy feely stuff.
i like the raw edge to this one that is entirely missing from the others.
and that curmudgeonly voice, like a chainsaw being started, of burroughs is absolutely perfect...even though he reads without modulation or inflection, which normally is death to a read-aloud story...somehow perfectly reflects the emotional landscape of the junky life.
the ending makes me cry every time. (yeah? so what doesn't!!)
so glad this is now available on dvd.