Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Debbie Harry's 'Union City' Screen Test, Circa 1979

Just stumbled upon this gem from the past, the screen test Deborah Harry did in 1979 for "Union City," Mark Reichert's uneven homage to film noir about a bored New Jersey housewife and her erratic husband, who unravels while trying to capture the guy who has been drinking out of the couple's milk bottles. That sounds like Dennis Lipscomb reading with Deb, who played hubby Harlan in the film. (Love Deb's reaction when the phone rings -- and the black cat!)

I never got to see this one in the theater -- not sure how widely it ever opened, but it definitely didn't make it to Phoenix -- but I remember all but salivating looking at the box at Tower Video in Tempe when I was a boy. For years, I used to hold the box and re-read it every time we were in there. My family was quite tardy in getting a VCR -- late '84 or early '85 if my memory serves me correctly -- so it wasn't until then that I finally got to see this film I had spent years dreaming about. Like many others, I felt like it had so many great things going for it -- the script was intriguing and well-written, Everett McGill was dashing, Debbie Harry was ravishing and Chris Stein's score was hauntingly perfect -- yet somehow it just didn't come together as well as it should have. I eventually bought the videotape, but this screen test was later added to the DVD release and shows that even though Debbie wasn't destined to be a movie star, the film camera was madly in love with her, too.

Debbie said she was inspired to write the song "Union City Blue" while waiting around on the set of the film that was her first starring role, and would unfortunately end up being one of her best.

1 comment:

Scotty K. said...

And Pat Benatar is in this movie as well!