This magnificent movie, filmed on a set consisting of a red-and-black checked floor and neon light boxes, cross-cut with scenes shot around the theatre, sees Waits adopt a variety of guises; the pencil-moustached ticket-seller who 'dreams the film', a sit-down comedian in stained white tuxedo and glitter-flecked face - sort of Victor Borge from Hell - and more or less straight troubadour. The music is from Frank's Wild Years, Rain Dogs and Swordfishtrombones. Musical, visual and verbal puns abound; elements of vaudeville, burlesque and soulful balladry are orchestrated by what is evidently, for all the downbeat, offbeat imagery, a fantastically energetic imagination. A concert film unlike any other, owing something to the work of '40s fashion photographer/jazz film-maker Djon (Jammin the Blues) Mili, and with no shots of an audience at all.
Cast and crew
Tom Waits Michael Blair Ralph Carney Greg Cohen Marc Ribot Willy Schwarz