This was sold as a “Press Kit,” but it’s just the one sheet of A4-size paper with a very complete synopsis of the film on one side and the full cast and credits on the other. It was definitely used for publicity purposes in the UK, but the logo on it is the one that was used in the British advertisements and movie posters. The actual UK Press Kit documents used the American logo. This must have been made and distributed later than the Press Kit.
There was no synopsis in the UK Press Kit, at least not in my copy. There was one in the US Press Kit, and it’s significantly different. Where most of the contents of the UK Press Kit are taken almost directly from the US versions, this synopsis is almost certainly the work of a different synopsizer. Most strangely, although the logo implies it was produced later, some of the details in it make it seem that whoever wrote it was working not from the film but from an earlier version of the screenplay, or at least an earlier cut of the film. For instance, this page has Nicky pulling a switchblade on the police who come to arrest her outside the disco. The May 1979 script has her attacking the “roadies” from the club with a switchblade. There is no switchblade in the movie, or in the US Press Kit synopsis. It also mentions the famously-removed sequence by/in the Hudson River, although it describes them becoming “blood sisters” during it while in the May 1979 screenplay that happens on the pier, like it does in the movie.
(Not for Publication)
42nd Street is one of New York’s busiest – it leads to Times Square, the centre of the city’s nightlife and filled with colourful characters. Winos, pimps, prostitutes and junkies rub their sordid shoulders with the thousands of tourists and sightseers out funseeking to catch the infectious atmosphere of the heart of “the Big Apple”.
Noisily trundling a shopping cart, filled with her guitar, amplifier and battery, along 42nd Street is 16-year-old Nicky Marotta (ROBIN JOHNSON), a girl who has lived most of her life on these rough and lively streets.
Outside a disco she plugs in her guitar and begins to play her own music against the thumping beat from within. When a hostess from the disco calls the police, they arrive to be faced with a stream of four-letter words and Nicky’s switchblade.
On the other side of town in a posh East Side apartment Pamela Pearl (TRINI ALVARDO) sits alone, tuned in to the mellow words and music of all-night disc jockey Johnny LaGuardia (TIM CURRY).
Now in custody and recognised as a habitual offender, Nicky is in the charge of Rosie (ANNA MARIA HORSFORD), a concerned social worker who tells her that she is to be taken to hospital to see if there is any psychological reason for her anti-social behaviour.
The next day Pamela’s father, David Pearl (PETER COFFIELD), a widower and rising politician, takes Pamela to a public meeting where he is to outline his newest assignment – as the Mayor’s Commissioner to clean up Times Square. His dedication to his career and lack of attention to his introverted young daughter have made him unable to recognise her loneliness and mental anguish. When she finds herself on the meeting platform beside her father she is mortified with embarrassment and when David refers to her in his speech, she bolts for the ladies’ rest room in tears.
Anxious for a speedy solution to the inconvenience of having a sick daughter, Pearl agrees to his doctor’s recommendation that she should undergo tests at the hospital to see if there are psychological reasons for her strange behaviour.
Thus Nicky and Pamela meet… as room-mates at the hospital. Nicky’s antics and irreverent behaviour towards the hospital staff shock Pamela at first, but later she begins to be amused and, after a night-time conversation in which Nicky convinces Pamela that there is nothing wrong with either of them, they leave their room together and, stealing a hospital ambulance, escape to a derelict pier where they set up a makeshift home. At the water’s edge they henna their hair, become “blood sisters” and determine to make the city sit up and take notice of them.
Johnny LaGuardia reads the newspaper accounts of the pair’s disappearance and believes Pamela is the girl who wrote to him a few days ago describing her loneliness and fears. He speaks to the runaways over the air, encouraging them in their bid to find their own brand of freedom.
As the days pass Nicky and Pamela engage in a variety of fruitless occupations to make ends meet, narrowly escape recapture by an undercover policeman and finally find employment in a sleazy club on 42nd Street known as “Cleopatra’s Lounge”, Pamela as a go-go dancer and Nicky as a singer with the resident band, The Blondells.
In the meantime David Pearl continues his efforts to find his daughter and makes an enemy of Johnny LaGuardia who, he is convinced knows where Pamela, is and is hampering both his bid to find her and his campaign to clean up the city centre.
In their rejection of many of society’s social values, Pamela and Nicky adopt weird clothes – bits and pieces of sixties mini-skirts and plastic garbage bags and call themselves “The Sleaze Sisters”. They spray graffiti all over town and indulge in a highly individual rampage of destruction by spectacularly destroying dozens of what they regard as the worst social symbol of all.
With reports of their progress being fed out over the airwaves by LaGuardia, “The Sleaze Sisters”, and in particular Nicky who has written a song about herself in very down-to-earth terms, become cult heroines and they even broadcast Nicky’s music live from the radio station.
But events are conspiring to end their great adventure. Nicky insists they go down in a blaze of glory by staging an illegal midnight rock concert atop a cinema marquee.
An explosive climax builds as hundreds of teenage girls, dressed in “Sleaze Sisters” clothing and make-up, stream towards Times Square for the concert. Also making their way there are the police and Pamela’s father…
Running Time: 111 mins, approx.
A Member of the THORN-EMI Group
Released by COLUMBIA-EMI-WARNER Distributors Ltd.
Johnny LaGuardia……….TIM CURRY
Pamela Pearl……….TRINI ALVARADO
Nicky Marotta……….ROBIN JOHNSON
David Pearl……….PETER COFFIELD
Dr. Huber……….HERBERT BERGHOF
Rosie Washington……….ANNA MARIA HORSFORD
Heavy……….RONALD “SMOKEY” STEVENS
Disco Hostess……….ELIZABETH PENA
Nurse Joan……….KATHY LOJAC
Nurse May……….SUSAN MERSON
Don Dowd……….GEORGE MORFOGEN
Stuntplayer……….TAMMAS J. HAMILTON
Dude……….STEVE W. JAMES
Plainclothes Cop ……….JAY ACOVONE
Plainclothes Cop……….PETER IACANGELO
Young D.J……….MICHAEL RINEY
Policeman 1 ……….LOUIS BELERO
Policeman 2……….GERALD KLINE
Hold-Up Man……….BEN SLACK
Beer Vendor……….AARON HURST
Beer Vendor……….SEAN HUST
Shop Owner……….PETER LOPICCOLO
T.V. Drop Kid……….ROGER CAMCAHO
T.V. Drop Kid……….STEVE PABON
Daughter’s Friend……….DONNA SIROTA
Movie Theatre Reactor……….TULANE HOWARD II
Cigarette Girl……….RODI ALEXANDER
Sleez Bag Vendor 1 ……….RAMON FRANCO
Sleez Bag Vendor 2……….RIKI COLON
Renaissance AKIDE……….MELANIE HENDERSON
Cop On Marquee……….LARRY SILVESTRI
Beer Buyers.. . . PAULA NAPLES, MANDY CAMERON
Intern……….SCOTT P. SANDERS
Sleez Girls……….CAMMI LYNN BUTTNER
SARAH DOUGHERTY, AMY GABRIEL
SANDRA LEE GOGA, PAMELA GOTLIN
SHUNA LYDON, KELLY McCLORY
Produced by……….ROBERT STIGWOOD
Directed by……….ALAN MOYLE
Executive Producers……….KEVIN McCORMICK
Screenplay by……….JACOB BRACKMAN
Story by……….ALAN MOYLE and LEANNEUNGER
Associate Producer……….BILL OAKES
Director of Photography……….JAMES A. CONTNER
Edited by……….TOM PRIESTLEY
Casting……….BARBARA CLAMAN for BCI
Special Casting……….MARGIE SIMKIN
Extras Casting……….LOUIS Di GIAIMO
Production Manager……….JUDITH STEVENS
Assistant Director……….ALAN HOPKINS
2nd Assistant Director……….ROBERT WARREN
THE CREDITS (cont’d)
2nd Unit Directors……….EDWARD BIANCHI
Unit Manager……….LOU FUSARO
Location Manager……….RON STIGWOOD
Camera Operator……….ENRIQUE BRAVO
Assistant Cameraman ……….HANK MULLER
Script Supervisor……….SANDY McLEOD
Makeup Artist……….PETER WRONA, JR.
Wardrobe Supervisor……….KAREN EIFERT
Stunt Coordinators……….JAMES LOVELETT
Titles Design……….DAN PERRI
Opticals by ……….MOVIE MAGIC
Filmed in PANAVISION and TECHNICOLOR
and DOLBY STEREO
On Locations in New York City
ROCK HARD……….Performed by SUZI QUATRO
Composed by MIKE CHAPMAN & NICKY CHINN
TALK OF THE TOWN Performed by THE PRETENDERS
Composed by CHRISSIE HYNDE
SAME OLD SCENE……….Performed by ROXY MUSIC
Composed by BRYAN FERRY
DANGEROUS TYPE……….Performed by THE CARS
Composed by RIC OCASEK
DOWN IN THE PARK……….
Performed & Composed by GARY NUMAN
HELP ME ! Performed by MARCY LEVY & ROBIN GIBB
Composed by ROBIN GIBB & BLUE WEAVER
LIFE DURING WARTIME……….
Performed by TALKING HEADS
Composed by DAVID BYRNE
Performed & Composed by JOE JACKSON
TAKE THIS TOWN……….Performed by XTC
Composed by ANDY PARTRIDGE
I WANNA BE SEDATED……….
Performed & Composed by The RAMONES
DAMN DOG……….Performed by ROBIN JOHNSON
Composed by BILLY MERNIT and JACOB BRACKMAN
YOUR DAUGHTER IS ONE ……….
Performed by ROBIN JOHNSON & TRINI ALVARADO
Composed by BILLY MERNIT, NORMAN ROSS & JACOB BRACKMAN
BABYLON’S BURNING……….Performed by THE RUTS
Composed by JOHN JENNINGS, DAVE RUFFY
MALCOLM OWEN, PAUL FOX
YOU CAN’T HURRY LOVE . Performed by D. L. BYRON
Composed by HOLLAND, DOZIER, HOLLAND
WALK ON THE WILD SIDE……….
Performed & Composed by LOU REED
THE NIGHT WAS NOT……….
Performed by DESMOND CHILD & ROUGE
Composed by DESMOND CHILD
INNOCENT, NOT GUILTY……….
Performed & Composed by GARLAND JEFFREYS
GRINDING HALT……….Performed by THE CURE
Composed by TOLHURST DEMPSEY SMITH
PISSING IN THE RIVER……….
Performed & Composed by PATTI SMITH
FLOWERS IN THE CITY……….
Performed by DAVID JOHANSEN
& ROBIN JOHNSON
Composed by DAVID JOHANSEN & RONNIE GUY
Additional Music by BLUE WEAVER
Special thanks to JIMMY IOVINE, JOHN PACE and
D. L .BYRON BAND (FOR “DAMN DOG”)
I would say that M.B. was using this synopsis to help his/her own description of the film in the review in the January 1981 Photoplay.
Here, for comparison, is the American synopsis from the US Press Material folder:
New York City at night. Along 42nd Street in the heart of Times Square, Nicky Marotta (ROBIN JOHNSON) swings aimlessly, a loose and carefree teenager plugged into life and rock music, complete with guitar, and portable amp system. With sudden inspiration, Nicky leans on the alley wall of a disco and against the thumping music from within begins to play her own music, loud and strong. A woman opens the alley door of the disco, berates Nicky for the “noise” which can be heard within, and demands she remove her equipment from the hood of the owner’s parked car. Nicky defiantly responds by smashing the headlights of the car. The woman runs into the club for help.
David Pearl (PETER COFFIELD), a widower consumed with his career as a rising young politician, has lost touch with his daughter, Pamela (TRINI ALVARADO). Unable to see that she is troubled and lonely, he takes Pamela to his newest assignment as the Mayor’s commissioner to clean up Times Square and a speech presenting his “Times Square Renaissance” program. To her dismay, Pamela is seated with her father on the dais and, when her father uses Pamela as the subject of a false and embarrassing story, she is convulsed with mortification and runs to the ladies restroom.
Nicky’s disturbance at the disco brings the police and she is apprehended, then taken in custody to await court and medical decisions.
Pamela, meanwhile, is in her upper East Side high-rise apartment listening to the mellow words and rock music of late-night disc jockey Johnny LaGuardia (TIM CURRY) from his studio high atop a building overlooking Times Square. Pamela hears LaGuardia read a letter she has written to him, a missive of deep anguish and loneliness. On the air, he advises the anonymous letter writer, who signed it “Zombie Girl,” to believe that all people should be very special to themselves and to learn how to “fly.”
Anxious for a solution to his daughter’s apparent neuroticism, David Pearl agrees to his doctor’s recommendations that Pamela be admitted to a hospital for neurological testing to determine if there is an organic reason for her behavior. Pamela meets Nicky in a hospital room they share since both will be undergoing the same psychiatric and physical tests. Nicky has been sent by police officials for the tests, following the recent arrest, her fourth on record.
During the tests by Dr. Huber (HERBERT BERGHOF),Nicky takes charge, raucously and with vulgar answers to his queries, a brazen attitude that fascinates Pamela. Pamela awakens one morning to learn with some sadness that Nicky has been discharged from the medical tests.
Nicky, however, surreptitiously returns to the room and convinces Pamela to join her in a flight to freedom. Impetuously, they run out of the building and commandeer an ambulance for a wild careening drive through the back streets of New York.
Two teenagers, free of responsibility, free in the exciting city of New York, they roam through an abandoned pier in the old city harbor area, and devise a makeshift refuge for shelter. To survive, they engage in a variety of activities—stealing, scrounging for food and clothing. Nicky even fails at an attempted mugging, with Pamela as the decoy, and their try at a sidewalk three-card monte game, fails to hook any suckers. The con game does get them chased by a plain-clothes undercover cop. They escape from him after a harrowing chase through a porno theatre, across its stage, up to the rooftops of buildings, down alleys,and eventually, safety in the subway.
Their next try for income is successful when the owner of a sleazy nitery in Times Square, the Cleopatra Club, is intrigued enough by Pamela’s innocence and refusal to dance topless to hire her as a campy put-on for the amusement of his customers. Nicky also is hired to sing with a back-up group, The Blondells.
Johnny LaGuardia, meanwhile, reads the newspaper accounts and reports of the search for David Pearl’s runaway daughter, believed to be kidnapped by Nicky Marotta, a dangerous delinquent. He makes the connection that Pamela is, in fact, his anonymous, troubled correspondent and on the air begins to encourage the two rebels, urging them to remain free. The publicity turns Pam and Nicky into minor media celebrities with legions of teenage girls their fans.
Nearby, David Pearl is torn between the anxiety over his daughter and his campaign to rehabilitate Times Square. Social worker Rosie Washington (ANNA MARIA HORSFORD), a dedicated civil servant, tries to persuade Pearl that Pamela’s company with Nicky Marotta is not a serious escapade, that Nicky is troubled but not beyond help. Rosie gets a letter filled with understanding to Nicky to ensure Pamela’s eventual and safe return. Pamela also calls her father to assure him she’s alright, and that Nicky needs her.
In their rejection of many of the values of the culture, the girls adopt “bag lady” wardrobes, bits and pieces of the ’60s miniskirts, plastic garbage bags as blouses. And they become “Sleaze Sisters,” when they see their fans’ spray-painted graffiti on a street bus panel advertising Pamela’s disappearance. In their jobs at the Cleo Club, Pamela becomes a favorite attraction, although fully dressed, because of her wild uninhibited gyrations and frenzied dance routines. Nicky also wows the customers with the rock rendition of her own composition, “Damn Dog,” backed up by The Blondells.
Nicky and Pamela then begin a series of exciting but dangerous escapades—dropping television sets from the tops of building to crash amongst unsuspecting pedestrians below. Pamela, now frightened by the behavior, begins to waver in her allegiance and friendship to Nicky. During an interlude in their dangerous pastime, the girls induce Johnny LaGuardia to let them sing on the air for his listeners. LaGuardia’s irresponsibility to the girls’ rebellion and his continuing on-air comments urging them to do their own thing, incenses David Pearl, who storms into LaGuardia’s studio, threatens him and attempts to assault him. To assuage Pearl’s anger, a LaGuardia staff member blurts out that Pamela can be found at the Cleo Club. At the club, Pamela rejects her father’s pleas to return and runs out into the night.
Later, after Pamela and Nicky have their first real disagreement over their lifestyle and “go down flaming,” Nicky leaves in anger. Pamela calls LaGuardia who comes to her with a gift bottle of vodka. The two are conversing warmly, stretched out on Pam’s and Nicky’s bed, when Nicky returns, slightly drunk. Enraged at LaGuardia, Nicky begins to hurl objects at him and Pamela and they rush out. Nicky then burns all the mementos of the time with Pamela and, later, bursts into Johnny’s studio demanding that she be allowed to sing on the air. Into a dead microphone, Nicky sobs an incoherent babble of pain, accompanied by her guitar strumming. Then, out of control, Nicky is carried out of the studio, emotionally spent.
LaGuardia seeks out Pamela and brings her to a sleeping Nicky, now composed. Pamela tells Nicky that she will arrange for Nicky to fulfill a lifelong dream—a live rock concert to be held in Times Square. In her father’s office after hours, Pamela makes phone calls to every major radio outlet in the New York area, informing them of the impending rock concert in Times Square. Within days, every Sleaze Sister fan of Pam and Nicky has been told by radio of the big event.
All over New York City, teenage girls dress in their Sleez (sic) costumes and garish make-up and converge on Times Square. In their midst are David Pearl, who believes this is the night he will recover his daughter, and the concerned social worker, Rosie Washington, who also has faith in another recovery that night—of Nicky Marotta.
With the huge crowd teeming on the streets of Times Square, Nicky Marotta makes her entrance for the hundreds of fans—atop the marquee of the Times Square movie house. With her are Pamela, in the shadows behind Nicky, and Nicky’s back-up group, The Blondells. Nicky introduces her concert with some well-chosen words on revolt, rebellion and resistance to authority, then breaks into an inspired rendition of her “Damn Dog.” As cheers and applause fill Times Square, a number of policeman move in toward Nicky. She threatens to jump if they close in before her concert is concluded. A few more remarks, a song reprise… and Nicky leaps into the crowd below….
Johnny LaGuardia, who has been viewing the activity in Times Square through a high-powered telescope, and has reported to his listeners, reflects that he had once advised a lonely Pamela Pearl, then his anonymous letter writer, to conquer her fears and “fly.”
Times Square Synopsis (press kit, AAT ID: 300236195)
2 pp., 29.7 x 22 cm. (work);
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Times Square Synopsis, from the Times Square Press material folder (press kit, AAT ID: 300236195)
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TIMES SQUARE, p. 47
Screenplay by Jacob Brackman
Times Square ©1980 StudioCanal/Canal+