Dusty and Sweets McGee

Overview

Maverick director Floyd Mutrux made his feature debut with this offbeat semi-documentary look at the realities of the Los Angeles drug scene. Mutrux and his camera crew follow a handful of real-life heroin addicts as they go through their daily routines of scoring dope and whiling away the hours until their next fix. (The dealers are played by actors, among them William Fraker, a noted cinematographer who helped shoot the film, and Billy Gray, a former child star from Father Knows Best.) Dusty and Sweets are a ...
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Overview

Maverick director Floyd Mutrux made his feature debut with this offbeat semi-documentary look at the realities of the Los Angeles drug scene. Mutrux and his camera crew follow a handful of real-life heroin addicts as they go through their daily routines of scoring dope and whiling away the hours until their next fix. (The dealers are played by actors, among them William Fraker, a noted cinematographer who helped shoot the film, and Billy Gray, a former child star from Father Knows Best.) Dusty and Sweets are a thirty-something couple whose often strained relationship is held together by their shared dependence on heroin. Kit is a blasé male hustler who turns tricks to support his habit. Tip is a self-described "everyday card-carrying dope fiend" who demonstrates his technique for ripping off supermarkets and explains how to keep up a habit behind bars. And a cheerfully blank teenage couple seem to spend their days either shooting up, nodding off, or wondering where to get more dope. Though featuring enough on-screen skin popping to make nearly any audience wince, Dusty and Sweets McGee's beautiful photography and languid mood captures the blissfully narcotic allure of Los Angeles in a way that makes the film compelling, while allowing its subjects to seem both human and tragic. Dusty and Sweets McGee also includes a soundtrack of vintage rock and roll radio, and a brief appearance by the group Blues Image, playing their sole hit "Ride Captain Ride."
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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide
This singular blend of fiction and verite is one of the most unique portraits of drug addiction ever captured on celluloid. Dusty & Sweets McGee does its all to bring the viewer deep inside the ennui and soul-numbing repetition of an addict's daily existence. As a result, the film foregoes much of the niceties involved in narrative filmmaking: plotting is replaced with an episodic drift of incidents, the pacing is allowed to erratically ebb and flow in a way that matches the mood of its characters and the film never inserts any moralizing or other elements to manipulate the viewer's sympathies. As a result, Dusty & Sweets McGee is demanding viewing and definitely not for all tastes. That said, adventurous viewers will want to check it out because of its authenticity: the real addicts used to play the film's characters deliver convincing, lived-in performances and the scenes where they open up about the intricacies of an addict's life are often gut-wrenching stuff. Director Floyd Mutrux infuses the proceedings with a moody, intense style, using William Fraker's excellent cinematography to create bold visuals that capture the eye without ever glamorizing what is shown. Mutrux also makes excellent use of music, using songs to comment on the action and also deftly manipulating the editing of music and source sounds to enhance the mood: a great example of the latter element is the opening sequence, where several songs and radio announcements are deftly edited and mixed together to underscore an impressionistic montage of street scenes. In short, Dusty & Sweets McGee isn't an easy film but it's definitely rewarding for the viewers who are up for its challenges. It is highly recommended to anyone who wants to see a genuine portrait of 1970's drug culture.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 3/23/2009
  • UPC: 883316125335
  • Original Release: 1971
  • Rating:

  • Source: Warner Archives
  • Presentation: B&W / Pan & Scan
  • Time: 1:27:00
  • Format: DVD
  • Sales rank: 58,950

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
William Fraker The Cellist
Bob Graham Little Boy
Billy Gray City Life
Technical Credits
Floyd Mutrux Director, Screenwriter
William A. Fraker Cinematographer
Richard A. Harris Editor
Jake Holmes Songwriter
Michael Laughlin Producer
Van Morrison Songwriter
Eric Hilliard Nelson Score Composer
Harry Nilsson Songwriter
Bill Randall Sound/Sound Designer
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