Hedwig and The Angry Inch

Hedwig and The Angry Inch

5.0 11

Cast: John Cameron Mitchell, Miriam Shor, Stephen Trask, Theodore Liscinski


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Adapted from the hit off-Broadway musical of the same name, Hedwig and the Angry Inch is the tale of an "internationally ignored" rock & roll singer who hails from Communist Berlin and who dreams of becoming an American sensation. Hedwig (John Cameron Mitchell), born a boy named Hansel, is raised by a single mother (See more details below


Adapted from the hit off-Broadway musical of the same name, Hedwig and the Angry Inch is the tale of an "internationally ignored" rock & roll singer who hails from Communist Berlin and who dreams of becoming an American sensation. Hedwig (John Cameron Mitchell), born a boy named Hansel, is raised by a single mother (Alberta Watson) who wishes to see her son do better than his poverty-stricken family. Some years later, Hansel is attracted to a good-looking American G.I., who promises a better life overseas for young Hansel, under one condition: that he undergo a sex-change operation to become a fully functional female whom he can then marry. The operation is seriously botched, leaving the now-renamed Hedwig with an "angry inch" only to be stranded in a dingy Kansas trailer park on the day the Berlin Wall comes tumbling down. Hedwig then supports herself through a series of ill-fated lounge gigs and side jobs, meeting up with 16-year-old Tommy Gnosis (Michael Pitt), a religious type who befriends her and later steals her songs and becomes the rock star Hedwig always dreamed of being. Undeterred, Hedwig continues to perform in the shadow of Tommy's sold-out stadium tour, attempting to make herself whole in spirit, if not physically. The film features several songs by composer Stephen Trask, who also appears as a member of Hedwig's disinterested rock band; Miriam Shor portrays Hedwig's newfound love and backup singer.

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Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble
John Cameron Mitchell's thundering, intelligent psycho-comic essay on the creation and deconstruction of a pop persona is the best transvestite rock opera this side of The Rocky Horror Picture Show. Based on Mitchell and Stephen Trask's Off-Broadway musical, the film is a reminiscence of the familial and sexual trauma that drove a young German boy to a sex-change operation gone horribly, hilariously wrong. As an adult American divorcée, Hedwig hits the road with her band, chasing down her rock-god ex-boyfriend from one town to the next. The ex plays the stadiums; Hedwig and her band play the dumps. On film, the songs -- vivid refractions of Roxy Music and The Rocky Horror Picture Show, among others, composed by Stephen Trask -- still work overtime to carry the story engine. Mitchell constructs plush visual interiors to illustrate the tunes, with help from dreamy, semi-connected animated interludes by Emily Hubley. Ultimately, Hedwig, with its keen, flashback-fueled grace, could be termed the rock flick's Citizen Kane -- and that's an overstatement you can flick your Bic to.
All Movie Guide - Jason Clark
A mixed-bag effort to translate John Cameron Mitchell and Stephen Trask's ambitious rock musical to the screen, this remains a worthwhile movie experience on any account, successfully opening up its heartfelt, often sad account of an "internationally ignored" rock singer suffering from a botched sex change operation. Mitchell's fierce, hypnotic performance is as indelible on film as it was on-stage -- fearful, hilarious, and moving. His direction is a bit less remarkable, as the movie offers much to look at, but little of it comes through in quite the same way as the music. The filmmakers too often literalize what should be expressed musically, which robs the viewer of some of the discoveries that might have made the film more successful. A few stretches sag as well, but the movie springs to life the most in its final reel -- when the title character takes on a young protégé (a quietly effective Michael Pitt) -- even if it fails to fully reach its emotional mark. Audiences at the 2001 Sundance Film Festival clearly found Hedwig refreshing: it won the Audience Award as well as a Grand Jury directing prize for Mitchell.
New York Times - Stephen Holden
Mr. Mitchell also sings in a voice whose lofty elocution and frosty, slightly inhuman tone echo Mr. Bowie's as spiked with a tiny whiff of helium. Fleshing out the story is a meaty rock score by Stephen Trask whose reaching-for-the-heavens anthems brilliantly parody Mr. Bowie's songwriting in the Ziggy Stardust era without lapsing into caricature. More than simply telling Hedwig's story, the songs, like Mr. Bowie's early-70's output, sketch an overarching pop philosophy whose conceptual grandiosity harks back to the days when stentorian proclamations about rock 'n' roll saving the world still had some currency.... If the glam-rock era is long gone, "Hedwig" reminds us, its subversive spirit, which has percolated under the surface of rock culture for more than two decades, lives on.
Los Angeles Times - Kevin Thomas
On the screen, the rip-roaring rock musical Hedwig and the Angry Inch retains all the excitement and energy it had on stage while adding depth, clarity and emotional texture. The result is a movie that absorbs its theatricality so smoothly and imaginatively that it never feels merely like a stage adaptation... Strutting through the movie in a dazzling assortment of wigs, and baring gams whose sleek, tapering curves rival those of Marlene Dietrich and Tina Turner, Mr. Mitchell is as imperiously charismatic on the screen as he was on the stage.... His embittered but plucky title character, who makes her way from East Berlin to Kansas and subsequently across America on a no-budget rock tour of tacky seafood restaurants, often suggests Mr. Bowie as a chilly German dominatrix.

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Product Details

Release Date:
Original Release:
New Line Home Video

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
John Cameron Mitchell Hedwig/Hansel
Miriam Shor Yitzhak
Stephen Trask Skszp
Theodore Liscinski Jacek
Andrea Martin Phyllis Stein
Michael Pitt Tommy Gnosis
Rob Campbell Krzysztof
Michael Aronov Schlatco
Alberta Watson Hansel's Mom
Maurice Dean Wint Luther
Michael Stevens HedHead

Technical Credits
John Cameron Mitchell Director,Screenwriter
Michael De Luca Executive Producer
Frank G. de Marco Cinematographer
Therese DePrez Production Designer
Amy Henkels Executive Producer
Emily Hubley Animator
Pamela Koffler Producer
Andrew Marcus Editor
Jerry Mitchell Choreography
Nancy Pankiw Art Director
Arianne Phillips Costumes/Costume Designer
Katie Roumel Producer
Susan Shopmaker Casting
Patrick Tidy Asst. Director
Paul Urmson Sound/Sound Designer
Christine Vachon Producer

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