New Musical Express, 24 January 1981

Posted on 13th March 2017 in "Times Square"
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Cover of NME 24-1-1981, featuring The Jam.  Issue has a review of "Times Square" on pp 14-15.

 

“No, this won’t do.”

 

Monty Smith’s review of Times Square is true to form, giving some light praise to Robin’s and Trini’s performances while tearing the movie itself to shreds. Although he does sometimes go a bit over the top with a particularly English-flavored cooler-than-thou sneering (“a real stiff for the kids, a would-be ‘punk’ epic, three years too late and twice as tasteless”), he does have a bead on exactly what’s causing the film’s problems (“they seem to have been stymied by the prerequisites of marketing… [that’s] what you get for your double album — sorry, film…”)

Review of TIMES SQUARE in New Muscial Express, 24 January 1981, Edit of Pages 14 and 15.  Text:  Page 14 — New Musical Express 24th January, 1981  In a desperate rebellious gesture, Robin Johnson prepares to plummet to the ground three and a half feet below. Behind the times Times Square Directed by Alan Moyle Starring Robin Johnson, Trini Alvarado and Tim Curry (EMI) SO AFTER Grease and Saturday Night Fever, the Stigwood outfit delivers a real stiff for the kids, a would-be 'punk' epic, three years too late and twice as tasteless. This time around, what you get for your double album — sorry, film — is a couple of teenage tearaways doing a bunk from a New York neurological hospital and setting up a squat by a derelict pier. That they are both eminently suitable cases for treatment seems lost on early-hours DJ Johnny LaGuardia, who takes up their cause. Publicly, he mocks the authorities' feeble attempts to find the two girls; privately, he's grooming them for their fifteen minutes of stardom. The Sleaze Sisters are born! And they're not so bad: Robin Johnson as 16-year-old Nicky Marotta is all foul-mouth and fiery temper ("I'm sure her childhood was a complete disaster but that's not the point," says one typically concerned adult), an abrasive-looking ragamuffin who happens to talk like Jimmy Durante; Trini Alvarado as 13-year-old Pamela Pearl is all capped-teeth and catatonic trances (she's the well brought-up one who keeps a diary), an angelic-featured kewpie-doll who could pass for the Mona Lisa's daughter. Believe it or not, they go together well. But Times Square falls apart as soon as Nicky and Pam hit the streets of the city so nice they named it twice. It's all very well plumping for life over TV, vitality over manners and slime over plastic, but I don't think the various pimps, winos, prostitutes and junkies they rub shoulders with would put too much faith in credentials as limp as these. And as for Tim Curry's extraordinary performance as DJ La Guardia ... the hoots of derision that greeted his every solemn utterance, his every knit of brow and pout of lip (denoting his concern for the girls' welfare), could not have been much less loud than those at the opening night of O'Toole's Macbeth. No, this won't do. The writer and director have both before been involved in 'proper' films (The King Of Marvin Gardens, Days Of Heaven, Outrageous, Montreal Main) but here they seem to have been stymied by the prerequisites of marketing. Not only with the soundtrack — and by all means chuck in songs as incongruous as those by Gary Numan and the Ruts, but Talking Heads' 'Life During Wartime' sits mighty uneasily with the feeble on-screen fairy tale — also with the risible climax in which scores of Sleaze Sister lookalikes emerge, lemming-style, from the surburbs for a free midnight gig, man: "We are one minute from history," says LaGuardia, and we all broke up again. Honestly, it's just like The Brady Bunch, but with swear words and a few chewns. Monty Smith

Behind the times

Times Square
Directed by Alan Moyle
Starring Robin Johnson,
Trini Alvarado and Tim Curry
(EMI)

SO AFTER Grease and Saturday Night Fever, the Stigwood outfit delivers a real stiff for the kids, a would-be ‘punk’ epic, three years too late and twice as tasteless.

This time around, what you get for your double album — sorry, film — is a couple of teenage tearaways doing a bunk from a New York neurological hospital and setting up a squat by a derelict pier. That they are both eminently suitable cases for treatment seems lost on early-hours DJ Johnny LaGuardia, who takes up their cause. Publicly, he mocks the authorities’ feeble attempts to find the two girls; privately, he’s grooming them for their fifteen minutes of stardom. The Sleaze Sisters are born!

And they’re not so bad: Robin Johnson as 16-year-old Nicky Marotta is all foul-mouth and fiery temper (“I’m sure her childhood was a complete disaster but that’s not the point,” says one typically concerned adult), an abrasive-looking ragamuffin who happens to talk like Jimmy Durante; Trini Alvarado as 13-year-old Pamela Pearl is all capped-teeth and catatonic trances (she’s the well brought-up one who keeps a diary), an angelic-featured kewpie-doll who could pass for the Mona Lisa’s daughter. Believe it or not, they go together well.

But Times Square falls apart as soon as Nicky and Pam hit the streets of the city so nice they named it twice. It’s all very well plumping for life over TV, vitality over manners and slime over plastic, but l don’t think the various pimps, winos, prostitutes and junkies they rub shoulders with would put too much faith in credentials as limp as these. And as for Tim Curry’s extraordinary performance as DJ La Guardia … the hoots of derision that greeted his every solemn utterance, his every knit of brow and pout of lip (denoting his concern for the girls’ welfare), could not have been much less loud than those at the opening night of O’Toole’s Macbeth.

No, this won’t do. The writer and director have both before been involved in ‘proper’ films (The King Of Marvin Gardens, Days Of Heaven, Outrageous, Montreal Main) but here they seem to have been stymied by the prerequisites of marketing. Not only with the soundtrack — and by all means chuck in songs as incongruous as those by Gary Numan and the Ruts, but Talking Heads’ ‘Life During Wartime’ sits mighty uneasily with the feeble on-screen fairy tale — also with the risible climax in which scores of Sleaze Sister lookalikes emerge, lemming-style, from the surburbs for a free midnight gig, man: “We are one minute from history,” says LaGuardia, and we all broke up again.

Honestly, it’s just like The Brady Bunch, but with swear words and a few chewns.

Monty Smith

The Box Office chart, with listings borrowed from our old friend Screen International, shows (what else?) Flash Gordon at the top.

Photo accompanying review of TIMES SQUARE in New Muscial Express, 24 January 1981, page 14.  Caption: In a desperate rebellious gesture, Robin Johnson prepares to plummet to the ground three and a half feet below.   Text:  Page 14 — New Musical Express 24th January, 1981  I

In a desperate rebellious gesture, Robin Johnson prepares to plummet to the ground three and a half feet below.

 

The photo accompanying the review seems to have been taken at the same time as TS-28-28/7, but as of this writing I don’t believe it appeared anywhere else but here.

 

 

Monty Smith, “Behind the times” (review (document), AAT ID: 300026480)
New Musical Express, January 24, 1981, pp. 14-15 (magazine (periodical), AAT ID: 300215389)
17 in (H) x 11 in (W) (work);
1981-01-24 TS NME 24 Jan 1981 2012 scan ABBYY 12 – 0001_2_1080px.jpg (cover)
1080 px (H) x 699 px (W), 96 dpi, 437 kb
1981-01-24 TS NME 24 Jan 1981 pp 14-15 edit_1080px.jpg (edit of details from pp. 14 & 15)
1080 px (W) x 994 px (H), 96 dpi, 669 kb
1981-01-24 TS NME 24 Jan 1981image from p 14 800px.jpg (detail p. 14)
800 px (W) x 619 px (H), 96 dpi, 301 kb (images)

 

 

Screen International No. 246, June 21-28, 1980

Posted on 2nd March 2017 in "Times Square"
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Cover page of a UK movie industry trade publication with two-page ad centerfold announcing TIMES SQUARE in production

This is the fifth appearance Times Square made in the press that I know of. The first was a mention in Radio and Records, the date of which I’m uncertain, but since it describes the movie as coming out in the summer I’m placing it first — possibly even as early as November 1979 when shooting would have started and the big WJAD neon sign hoisted into place on the Candler Building. The second was Screen International No. 231 in March 1980, touting Robin’s unlikely “discovery.” The third was an article about the film’s production in The Aquarian in April 1980 which seems to have been written from interviews conducted in November and December 1979. And the fourth, in May 1980, a quote about the movie from Robert Stigwood in Photoplay.

So in mid-June 1980, which, judging by the Radio and Records article, was the originally planned release date for Times Square, EMI plastered a two-page announcement of the film’s impending release in the center spread of this organ aimed at British film exhibitors and producers. Allan Moyle had long since left the project; the spring months had probably been devoted to reshoots and re-editing. The text of the ad, which features a glorious photo of Robin by Mick Rock, places Times Square as the crowning jewel in Robert Stigwood’s crown. Seven months later it would be obvious to all that this was not the case, and the remaining publicity for Times Square would revert to the March Screen International blurb and center around Robin’s discovery and impending stellar career.

 
Two-page centerspread advertisement from a UK movie industry trade publication. Photo by Mick Rock. Text: Saturday Night Fever, Grease, Jesus Christ Superstar, Tommy. The entertainment revolution that Robert Stigwood began, continues with TIMES SQUARE™ AN EMI FILMS PRESENTATION UNITED KINGDOM DISTRIBUTION BY COLUMBIA-EMI-WARNER NORTH AMERICA BY ASSOCIATED FILM DISTRIBUTION AND THROUGHOUT THE REST OF THE WORLD BY EMI FILMS EMI A member of the Thorn EMI Group TIMES SQUARE™ © 1980 Butterfly Valley N.V.

Saturday Night Fever, Grease,
Jesus Christ Superstar, Tommy.
The entertainment revolution
that Robert Stigwood began,
continues with
TIMES SQUARE™
AN EMI FILMS PRESENTATION
UNITED KINGDOM DISTRIBUTION BY COLUMBIA-EMI-WARNER
NORTH AMERICA BY ASSOCIATED FILM DISTRIBUTION AND
THROUGHOUT THE REST OF THE WORLD BY EMI FILMS
EMI
A member of the Thorn EMI Group

TIMES SQUARE™
© 1980 Butterfly Valley N.V.

If you have the feeling you’ve seen this before, or that I’m just vamping here, you’re right: I only just obtained a copy of this magazine, but in December 2015 I posted a link to the copy previously posted by Karen Dean (DefeatedandGifted) and said pretty much all I had to say about it then. At the time I never thought I’d find any copies of Screen International, but I now have three issues in which Robin appears. I’ve been collecting Robin Johnson items for a very long time, and somehow “new” things keep turning up.

 

 


Screen International, No. 246, June 21-28, 1980 (magazine (periodical), AAT ID: 300215389) ; 38.8 x 28.9 cm; (contains:)
[Times Square center spread advertisement] (advertisement, AAT ID: 300193993), pp. 12-13
Screen_International_No_246_1980-06-21_p1_1080px.jpg
777 x 1080 px, 96 dpi, 508 kb
Screen_International_No_246_1980-06-21_pp12-13_1080px.jpg
1080 x 1609 px, 96 dpi, 647 kb (images)

©1980 King Publications Ltd
Times Square ©1980 StudioCanal/Canal+


 

Record Mirror, January 24, 1981

Posted on 19th February 2017 in "Times Square"
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“All things vaguely sensible suddenly disappear in a puff of smoke.”

Cover of Record Mirror, January 24, 1981 featuring Jane Kennaway, "the voice of 1981"

Page 8 of the Jan. 24, 1981 "Record Mirror," containing a bad review of "Times Square."

 

 

Chris Westwood’s review of Times Square in the January 24, 1981, Record Mirror was sadly typical, finding it an unbelievable melodramatic mess that “tries too many things and pulls none of them off.” He sees some value in Tim Curry’s and Robin’s performances, but they’re not enough to save the film: “Robin Johnson battles aggressively to find some measure of meaning in life and the script… Her potential is possibly great, but it’s held down by ‘Times Square’, which looks as though it’s been made for the sake of making a movie.”

 

Review of "Times Square" from page 8 of the Jan. 24, 1981 "Record Mirror."  Text:  FILMS...FILMS...FILMS...FILMS...FI  TIMES SQUARE. Starring Tim Curry, Trini Alvarado, Robin Johnson. Director: Alan Moyle. (EMI).  PRE-PREVIEW buzzings led one to expect a sort of  Stigwoodian allusion to punk Woodstock, where in fact it's  nothing of the sort. Or any other sort for that matter — 'Times  Square' being a rather muddled mish-mash of an observation,  centering on a pair of female juveniles rejecting adulthood and  growing into it at the same time. Said juveniles (Trini Alvarado,  Robin Johnson) are seen setting up squat amongst the  seamier, slummier areas of New York, hustling for work at a  strip club and singing as the Sleez Sisters, dropping TV sets from great heights, becoming cult figures and — it seems —  the prime and only obsession of "meaningful" DJ Tim Curry  whose good intentions seem to do no good to anyone. All so much soap opera really, if well performed: Curry as  LaGardia is suitably nauseating (supporting the good bad  "guys" a la 'Vanishing Point'), whereas Robin Johnson battles aggressively to find some measure of meaning in life and the  script, her role here is something of a trash-novelist's-eye- view of rebel-punk. Her potential is possibly great, but it's  held down by 'Times Square', which looks as though it's been  made for the sake of making a movie. 'Times Square' never really goes anywhere — apart from  around in circles — because it's used up before it starts; as a  film aimed at the teenage market-place it offers neither the spice nor spectacle of 'Saturday Night Fever' or 'Grease'; as a  film about friendship (which it attempts to be) it dithers,  stumbles and only occasionally works; it tries too many things  and pulls none of them off. By the end we're faced with a rooftop jam session in Times  Square itself, where Robin Johnson's Nicky is suddenly elevated to the role of superstarlet, her embarrassing  rockspeak pronouncements bringing the salivating crowds to  boiling point. All things vaguely sensible suddenly disappear  in a puff of smoke. 'Times Square' is silly. It doesn't know what to say. If only  people would think about what to do with their allowances...  CHRIS WESTWOOD  ROBIN JOHNSON

This review distinguishes itself by being perhaps the only one ever to have absolutely nothing to say about Trini Alvarado.

FILMS…FILMS…FILMS…FILMS…

TIMES SQUARE. Starring Tim Curry, Trini Alvarado, Robin Johnson. Director: Alan Moyle. (EMI).

PRE-PREVIEW buzzings led one to expect a sort of Stigwoodian allusion to punk Woodstock, where in fact it’s nothing of the sort. Or any other sort for that matter — ‘Times Square’ being a rather muddled mish-mash of an observation, centering on a pair of female juveniles rejecting adulthood and growing into it at the same time. Said juveniles (Trini Alvarado, Robin Johnson) are seen setting up squat amongst the seamier, slummier areas of New York, hustling for work at a strip club and singing as the Sleez Sisters, dropping TV sets from great heights, becoming cult figures and — it seems — the prime and only obsession of “meaningful” DJ Tim Curry whose good intentions seem to do no good to anyone.

All so much soap opera really, if well performed: Curry as LaGardia is suitably nauseating (supporting the good bad “guys” a la ‘Vanishing Point’), whereas Robin Johnson battles aggressively to find some measure of meaning in life and the script, her role here is something of a trash-novelist’s-eye-view of rebel-punk. Her potential is possibly great, but it’s held down by ‘Times Square’, which looks as though it’s been made for the sake of making a movie.

‘Times Square’ never really goes anywhere — apart from around in circles — because it’s used up before it starts; as a film aimed at the teenage market-place it offers neither the spice nor spectacle of ‘Saturday Night Fever’ or ‘Grease’; as a film about friendship (which it attempts to be) it dithers, stumbles and only occasionally works; it tries too many things and pulls none of them off.

By the end we’re faced with a rooftop jam session in Times Square itself, where Robin Johnson’s Nicky is suddenly elevated to the role of superstarlet, her embarrassing rockspeak pronouncements bringing the salivating crowds to boiling point. All things vaguely sensible suddenly disappear in a puff of smoke.

‘Times Square’ is silly. It doesn’t know what to say. If only people would think about what to do with their allowances…
CHRIS WESTWOOD

The accompanying photo is TS-57-26/1 from the US Press Material folder and Press Book, also used on all the North American movie posters, and the soundtrack album and promotional materials, including the UK soundtrack sampler record cover.

Advertisement for the "Times Square" soundtrack album on page 32 of the Jan. 24, 1981 "Record Mirror."

 

 

On page 32, however, RSO gives a huge middle finger to the bad review of the movie by running a full-page ad for the soundtrack. In hindsight, we can see that was actually a huge middle finger to the film itself.

The cool thing about this ad is the top half devoted to a line drawing version of TS-82-30, which also appeared on the UK soundtrack sampler cover.

 

 

Chris Westwood, “Films – Times Square” (review (document), AAT ID: 300026480)
“Times Square – the double album soundtrack of the Robert Stigwood film” (advertisement, AAT ID: 300193993)
Record Mirror, January 24, 1981, pp. 8, 32 (magazine (periodical), AAT ID: 300215389)
16 in (H) x 11 in (W) (work);
Record_Mirror_1981-01-24_p1_1080px.jpg (cover)
1080 px (H) x 798 px (W), 96 dpi, 461 kb
TS_Review_Record_Mirror_19810124_p8_layers_1080px.jpg (full page)
1080 px (H) x 736 px (W), 96 dpi, 502 kb
RJ_TS_Review_Record_Mirror_19810124_p8_1080px.jpg (detail of review)
1080 px (W) x 543 px (H), 96 dpi, 301 kb
TS_OST Ad_Record_Mirror_19810124_p32_1080px.jpg (full page ad)
800 px (W) x 741 px (H), 96 dpi, 425 kb (images)

 

©1980 Spotlight Publications Ltd

 

photoplay, Vol. 32 No. 1, January 1981

Posted on 6th January 2017 in "Times Square"
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Cover of Photoplay Vol. 32 No. 1, January 1981

The January 1981 photoplay featured a cover story on, what else, Flash Gordon.

It also contained a review of Times Square, attributed only to “M.B.”

Review of "Times Square" from Photoplay Vol. 32 No. 1. Text, by "M.B.": TIMES SQUARE Johnny LaGuardia...Tim Curry Pamela Pearl...Trini Alvarado Nicky Marotta...Robin Johnson David Pearl...... Peter Coffield Dr Huber...Herbert Berghof Dr Zymansky....David Margulies Rosie Washington...Anna Maria Horsford JoJo....Michael Margotta Simon....J. C. Quinn Roberto...Miguel Pinero Directed by Alan Moyle. Cert: “AA". Running time: 111 minutes. (Columbia-EMI-Warner) STORY — Nicky, a young punkette suffering from "anti-social behaviour", and Pamela, a misunderstood little rich girl who cracks up at one of her dad's political meetings, are room-mates in a psychiatric hospital. After a shaky start they become friends and decide to run away together. They steal an ambulance for their getaway and set up home in a derelict warehouse, just round the comer from Times Square. Following their plight is local DJ, Johnny LaGuardia. He encourages them as they rename themselves The Sleaze Sisters, sing a few anti-establishment songs, break up TV sets and cover Times Square in graffiti. They become cult heroines and organise a midnight rock concert in Times Square, but the police and Pamela's father are waiting. VERDICT — It's another of those movies about rebellious youth set to rock music. Sound familiar? Whereas Breaking Glass, Quad-rophenia and the like have managed to depict the subject fairly successfully. Times Square fails. It's too naive, the performances of the two girls are weak and even Tim Curry does little to liven up the proceedings. The soundtrack is reasonable, featuring music by The Pretenders, Roxy Music, Gary Numan and Joe Jackson. M.B.


M.B.’s review is atypical, not in that it likes the movie — spoiler, it doesn’t — but in that it goes out of its way to make the point that both Trini’s and Robin’s performances are “weak”. Most of the contemporary reviews were negative but they generally had praise for the girls’ performances.

TIMES SQUARE

Johnny LaGuardia…Tim Curry
Pamela Pearl…Trini Alvarado
Nicky Marotta…Robin Johnson
David Pearl…… Peter Coffield
Dr Huber…Herbert Berghof
Dr Zymansky….David Margulies
Rosie Washington…Anna Maria Horsford
JoJo….Michael Margotta
Simon….J. C. Quinn
Roberto…Miguel Pinero

Directed by Alan Moyle.
Cert: “AA”. Running time: 111 minutes.
(Columbia-EMi-Warner)

STORY — Nicky, a young punkette suffering from “anti-social behaviour”, and Pamela, a misunderstood little rich girl who cracks up at one of her dad’s political meetings, are room-mates in a psychiatric hospital. After a shaky start they become friends and decide to run away together. They steal an ambulance for their getaway and set up home in a derelict warehouse, just round the comer from Times Square. Following their plight is local DJ, Johnny LaGuardia. He encourages them as they rename themselves The Sleaze Sisters, sing a few anti-establishment songs, break up TV sets and cover Times Square in graffiti. They become cult heroines and organise a midnight rock concert in Times Square, but the police and Pamela’s father are waiting.

VERDICT — It’s another of those movies about rebellious youth set to rock music. Sound familiar? Whereas Breaking Glass, Quadrophenia and the like have managed to depict the subject fairly successfully, Times Square fails. It’s too naive, the performances of the two girls are weak and even Tim Curry does little to liven up the proceedings. The soundtrack is reasonable, featuring music by The Pretenders, Roxy Music, Gary Numan and Joe Jackson. M.B.

The accompanying photo is from the scene after the girls escape from the plainclothes detective chasing them through the Adonis Theater. I believe this is its first publication, but I think we’ll see a better quality version in the future.

Image of Nicky and Pammy, illustrating  "Times Square" review by "M.B.":

 

 

M.B., “At the Movies – Times Square” (review (document), AAT ID: 300026480)
photoplay, Vol. 32 No. 1, January 1981, p. 52 (magazine (periodical), AAT ID: 300215389)
29.8 cm (H) x 21.3 cm (W) (work);
1981-01 Photoplay vol 32 no 1_p01_1080px.jpg (cover)
1080 px (H) x 848 px (W), 96 dpi, 628 kb
1981-01 Photoplay vol 32 no 1_p52_detail_1080px.jpg (review)
1080 px (H) x 292 px (W), 96 dpi, 193 kb
1981-01 Photoplay vol 32 no 1_p52_detail_2_800px.jpg (illustration detail)
800 px (W) x 738 px (H), 96 dpi, 311 kb (images)
 
photoplay ©1981 The Illustrated Publications Company Limited

 

Times Square ©1980 StudioCanal/Canal+

 

 

Film Review, Vol. 31 No. 1, January 1981

Posted on 27th December 2016 in "Times Square"
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Cover of UK magazine containing feature artcle on "Times Square"

P. 3 (contents page) Relevant text: 22 TIMES SQUARE The adventures of two teenage girls (Robin Johnson and Trini Alvarado) and the all-night Times Square radio personality (Tim Curry) who gives a boost to their dream of rock stardom.

22
TIMES SQUARE
The adventures of two teenage girls (Robin Johnson and Trini Alvarado) and the all-night Times Square radio personality (Tim Curry) who gives a boost to their dream of rock stardom.

“With an off-beat beauty all her own, and an engaging rasping singing voice, Ms Johnson has enough female virility to fill many films yet, and is already pencilled in for the sequel to Grease.”

 

There’s no arguing with the fact that in January of 1981, the big movie in the UK was Flash Gordon.

 

Despite its title, Film Review didn’t contain an actual review of Times Square, but a promotional article. You can tell it’s not a review because it’s 100% positive.

 

Edit, 14 January 2017: After some consideration, I think this was actually a review, of sorts, and the author had seen the film before composing it. It’s a piece that appears in the next month’s issue of Film Review that’s an unabashed puff piece that might have been written by EMI’s publicity department. I still think this one was more promotion than review, though.

 

The first photo accompanying the article is worth the price of admission, though: a color shot of Robin, Trini, and Tim, taken at the same time as the black and white photo in the UK Press Kit. Also, to my knowledge the shot in the lower left corner, “Robin Johnson sings to her fans in her Sleaze Sisters apparel,” is making its first appearance. The remaining color photo was used as a lobby card, and the black and white photo on the following page is TS-72-8A/14 from the US Press Material Folder, which appeared in the AFD Campaign Pressbook, on the covers of the British and Japanese soundtrack sampler records, in US Magazine, in the Leader, and on one of the strange 2-photo 8x10s that misspelled Robert Stigwood’s name. So far, other than the portraits of Robin and Trini that were used on the soundtrack album cover and the US movie poster, this is the photo that most often helped promote the film.

The one thing the article has in common with most real reviews of the movie is that it ultimately focuses on Robin’s performance as the big reason to see it. It’s also the first mention of Robin’s next scheduled project, as the female lead in Robert Stigwood’s production of Grease 2. Remember that?

TIMES SQUARE

A thought-provoking tale of alienated teenages — their moods, their mad antics and their music

Two runaway teenage girls, a variety of New Wave rock music and a grimy, pristine backdrop of New York make up the ingredients of Times Square (an EMI release), Robert Stigwood’s latest offering to a youthful cinema-going public.

Robin Johnson, a spunky 15-year-old newcomer, plays with admirable bravado the central role of Nicky, a street urchin with destructive inclinations and a yen for musical stardom. In hospital for psychiatric tests, Nicky finds herself in the company of Pamela Pearl (played by Trini Alvarado — from Robert Altman’s Rich Kids), an introverted 12-year-old from a privileged background, also in for tests. Despite their opposing upbringings, the two run away together — from the System that oppresses them both — to lead an exuberant, retaliatory existence on the streets.

It is this slight story-line that makes up the canvas for a gritty but heart-warming story of today’s youth, their problems, their qualities, their understandable misgivings and denied intelligence. They make mistakes — like every young generation before them — but this breed is growing up faster than ever before.

Canadian director Alan Moyle, making his American film debut after a string of successful films and documentaries over the border, conjures up a realistic atmosphere to his scenes beyond the call of Hollywood duty — to the extent you sometimes feel you are watching the runaway duo for real.

Moyle cleverly intercuts his footage with shots of genuine Times Square coke snorters, back street alcoholics, Eighth Avenue prostitutes and pimps, and all the fun of the New York fair. For the climactic sequence he even managed to close 42nd Street’s “Deuce” (a notorious strip of theatres and porno cinemas) for the first time in New York film location history.

Between all this he concentrates his camera almost lovingly on the adventures of Johnson and Alvarado, who have meanwhile taken their anti-establishment hostilities one step further, adopting a dual identity and calling themselves The Sleaze Sisters Not without point!

Under this guise, wearing outrageous costumes pieced together from jumble outcasts and dustbin liners, they tear through the streets of New York begging for money, in their spare time levering tv sets — the ultimate symbol of the bourgeoisie — from the top storeys of Manhattan’s skyscrapers.

It is this singular prank that arouses the interest of the public, and in particular that of a late-night Times Square DJ, played with laid-back relish by England’s own Tim Curry, late of “The Rocky Horror Show”. Providing The Sleaze Sisters with even greater coverage on New York’s air waves, narrating their boardwalk escapades and even allowing them to sing their protests, DJ Johnny LaGuardia becomes the catalyst in Moyle’s story. Like the DJ Curry played on television in “City Sugar”, LaGuardia reaches out from the night to the receptive, confused soul of a young girl wanting, desiring an intimate liaison with an established anti-establishment voice. Here, Curry has two souls to contend with and, even though he is trying to help them and gain public sympathy (by this time the police are now hot on their trail), he is at the same time exploiting them, exploiting their isolation from society, the society which eventually they come to need.

So, Times Square turns out to be many things: an exciting, abrasive look at the uglier face of New York; a compassionate tale of two desperate runaways who find mutual friendship encountering a common enemy; and a musical featuring some of the finest New Wave sounds around, including contributions from The Pretenders, Lou Reed and Suzi Quatro.

But for all Moyle’s perspicacious and sensitive direction, it is young Robin Johnson’s performance that dominates the film. With an off-beat beauty all her own, and an engaging rasping singing voice, Ms Johnson has enough female virility to fill many films yet, and is already pencilled in for the sequel to Grease. □

Karen (DefeatedandGifted) posted her copy of these pages in March 2015.

 

 

Film Review, Vol. 31 No. 1, January 1981;
UK EMI Cinemas Ltd.;
magazine (periodical), AAT ID: 300215389; 29.8 cm (H) x 21.3 cm (W) (work);
1981-01 Film Review Vol 31 No 1 p01_1080px.jpg (cover)
1981-01 Film Review Vol 31 No 1 p03_1080px.jpg (contents)
1981-01 Film Review Vol 31 No 1 p22_1080px.jpg (“TIMES SQUARE”)
1981-01 Film Review Vol 31 No 1 p23_1080px.jpg (“TIMES SQUARE”)
1080 px (H), 96 dpi (images)

 

Leader, Winter 1980

Posted on 29th August 2016 in "Times Square"
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"The Magazine published by Columbia-EMI-Warner Distributors"

Leader was a vehicle by which Columbia-EMI-Warner film distributors promoted all their new films to UK theater owners. As Times Square was set to open in mid-January, it had a few mentions and an advertisement in the Winter edition, although it looks like the distributors were betting their big money on Flash Gordon, which had already had its premiere.

"The Magazine published by Columbia-EMI-Warner Distributors", p. 2  Relevant text:  ROYAL   EMI Films makes industry history with it’s turn-of-the-year-releases. Three Royal Premieres in three consecutive months for films from the same company is no mean achievement. “FLASH GORDON” had the Royal treatment on December 10th with a  glittering Charity Premiere at the ABC Shaftesbury Avenue attended by TRH’s Prince and Princess Michael.    “THE JAZZ SINGER” starring Neil Diamond, Sir Laurence Olivier and Lucy Arnaz is premiered on January 29th and the evening  will be graced by the presence of HRH Princess Margaret. This too is a charity premiere.    On February 26th HM Queen Elizabeth and HRH Prince Phillip will attend the British Charity Premiere of Agatha Christie’s  “MIRROR CRACK’D” with its all star international cast.    In addition to these three films EMI will open the Robert Stigwood production “TIMES SQUARE” in the West End in mid-January. “FLASH GORDON” will open in major cities right across Britain over the Christmas period and is being supported by a huge  marketing campaign.    Meanwhile “THE ELEPHANT MAN” starring John Hurt and Anthony Hopkins continues to go from success to success. It quickly  established itself with West End audiences and has triumphed in city after city as it’s release has progressed around the  country.

ROYAL

EMI Films makes industry history with it’s turn-of-the-year-releases. Three Royal Premieres in three consecutive months for films from the same company is no mean achievement. “FLASH GORDON” had the Royal treatment on December 10th with a glittering Charity Premiere at the ABC Shaftesbury Avenue attended by TRH’s Prince and Princess Michael.

“THE JAZZ SINGER” starring Neil Diamond, Sir Laurence Olivier and Lucy Arnaz is premiered on January 29th and the evening will be graced by the presence of HRH Princess Margaret. This too is a charity premiere.

On February 26th HM Queen Elizabeth and HRH Prince Phillip will attend the British Charity Premiere of Agatha Christie’s “MIRROR CRACK’D” with its all star international cast.

In addition to these three films EMI will open the Robert Stigwood production “TIMES SQUARE” in the West End in mid-January.

“FLASH GORDON” will open in major cities right across Britain over the Christmas period and is being supported by a huge marketing campaign.

Times Square was apparently the only winter 1980-81 EMI premiere not to get the royal treatment.

Two-page center spread promoting all the Columbia-Warner-EMI movies opening in the beginning of 1981. Relevant text: THE LINE-UP THAT ENSURES YOUR PROSPEROUS NEW YEAR No company can ever have started a year off in the fashion that EMI Films will start 1981. “THE JAZZ SINGER”, “TIMES SQUARE” and “MIRROR CRACK’D” all bow before British audiences before the year is hardly out of rompers, and whilst “FLASH GORDON” is delighting audiences from north to south and east to west. [photo caption:] "TIMES SQUARE" Two of the young stars featured in the Robert Stigwood production. Another tremendous musical score!

 

The center spread publicized all the films of the season, and again mentioned Times Square along with the the other three EMI films while giving a special shout-out to Flash Gordon.

From the two-page center spread promoting all the Columbia-Warner-EMI movies opening in the beginning of 1981. Text: No company can ever have started a year off in the fashion that EMI Films will start 1981. “THE JAZZ SINGER”, “TIMES SQUARE” and “MIRROR CRACK’D” all bow before British audiences before the year is hardly out of rompers, and whilst “FLASH GORDON” is delighting audiences from north to south and east to west. musical score!

No company can ever have started a year off in the fashion that EMI Films will start 1981. “THE JAZZ SINGER”, “TIMES SQUARE” and “MIRROR CRACK’D” all bow before British audiences before the year is hardly out of rompers, and whilst “FLASH GORDON” is delighting audiences from north to south and east to west.

At least Times Square got a picture… the image used was a cropped version of TS-72-8A/14, also seen in the AFD Campaign Pressbook, on the cover of the UK soundtrack sampler, as the cover of the Japanese soundtrack sampler, and cropped even further in the December 23 US magazine. The caption was a sneaky plug for the soundtrack album.

Image of Trini Alvarado and Robin Johnson from the two-page center spread promoting all the Columbia-Warner-EMI movies opening in the beginning of 1981. [photo caption:] "TIMES SQUARE" Two of the young stars featured in the Robert Stigwood production. Another tremendous musical score!

 

“TIMES SQUARE” Two of the young stars featured in the Robert Stigwood production. Another tremendous musical score!

 

 

1/2 page ad for "Times Square" from p. 10 of "Leader", Winter 1980

 

Finally, on page 10, was a half-page ad. After all the work that went into the logo on the cover of the UK Press Kit, it was tossed aside in favor of what you see here. Nearly all the UK advertising materials used this logo and the painted image of a frighteningly skinny Nicky. I’ll gripe more about that when I get to the movie poster.

 

 

Leader, Winter 1980
house organ, AAT ID: 300026662
12 pp., 8.4 ” (W) x 11″ (H) (work)
Leader, Winter 19800001_1080px.jpg
1080 px (H) x 824 px (W), 96 dpi, 416 kb
Leader, Winter 19800002_1080px.jpg
1080 px (H) x 824 px (W), 96 dpi, 490 kb
Leader, Winter 19800003_1080px.jpg
1080 px (W) x 700 px (H), 96 dpi, 483 kb
Leader, Winter 19800003_p6_detail_800px.jpg
634 px (H) x 800 px (W), 96 dpi, 343 kb
Leader, Winter 19800003_p7_detail_800px.jpg
652 px (H) x 800 px (W), 96 dpi, 205 kb
Leader, Winter 19800006_p10_1080px.jpg
1080 px (W) x 706 px (H), 96 dpi, 339 kb (images)

 

 

Interview, Vol. X No. 12, December 1980

Posted on 30th June 2016 in "Times Square"
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Photo of Robin Johnson by Peter Strongwater  Text:  ROBIN JOHNSON  A native New York skeptic, ROBIN JOHNSON thought she was being handed another line when a talent scout for ROBERT STIGWOOD’s TIMES SQUARE approached her on the steps of Brooklyn Technological High School and said, “Hey kid, ya wanna be in pictures?” Winning the role away from hundreds of professionals, Robin was instantly immersed in twelve weeks of movie star training—all singing, all dancing, all talking. Now, Robin and co-stars TIM CURRY and TRINI ALVARADO have hit it big as TIMES SQUARE draws rave reviews and long lines. ... Photograph by PETER STRONGWATER. . . .Hair by STEPHANE LEMPIRE. . Makeup by MARIA MACHEDA.. . Clothes by MARIO VALENTINO. . . Earring by ROBERT LEE MORRIS/ARTWEAR. . . . Cuff by TED MUEHLING/ART- WEAR.. . Styling by GALE SMITH

Here, in the December issue of Andy Warhol’s Interview magazine, is Robin getting her fifteen minutes. A gorgeous glamor photo by photographer Peter Strongwater, and a stunningly non-realistic description of Times Square’s success… Robin was truly the toast of New York, for at least as long as it took to read the text on page 15:

 

ROBIN JOHNSON

A native New York skeptic, ROBIN JOHNSON thought she was being handed another line when a talent scout for ROBERT STIGWOOD’s TIMES SQUARE approached her on the steps of Brooklyn Technological High School and said, “Hey kid, ya wanna be in pictures?” Winning the role away from hundreds of professionals, Robin was instantly immersed in twelve weeks of movie star training—all singing, all dancing, all talking. Now, Robin and co-stars TIM CURRY and TRINI ALVARADO have hit it big as TIMES SQUARE draws rave reviews and long lines. … Photograph by PETER STRONGWATER. . . .Hair by STEPHANE LEMPIRE. . Makeup by MARIA MACHEDA.. . Clothes by MARIO VALENTINO. . . Earring by ROBERT LEE MORRIS/ARTWEAR. . . . Cuff by TED MUEHLING/ART- WEAR.. . Styling by GALE SMITH

 

And, that’s all I have to say about this. The photo speaks for itself. Despite Times Square’s failure, she would have been one of the biggest stars of the 1980s had Robert Stigwood not put the brakes on her career just as it was getting started. Whether that would have been a good or bad thing for her, well, who’s to say, but it would have been terrific for Us Her Fans. But, I’m getting ahead of myself… Times Square has only just opened, and she still has a publicity tour to do.
Cover of Interview, Vol. 10 No. 12, December 1980

Photo of Robin Johnson by Peter Strongwater from Interview Vol. X No. 12, Dec, 1980, p. 15.  (Detail)

 

 

Interview, Vol X No 12
11 in (W) x 17 in (H) (work)

 

Robin Johnson – Photograph by Peter Strongwater
Interview, Vol X No 12, p. 15
11 in (W) x 17 in (H) (work)
1080 px (H) x 680 px (W), 96 dpi, 357 kb (image)

 

Detail of Robin Johnson – Photograph by Peter Strongwater
Interview, Vol X No 12, p. 15
601 px (W) x 800 px (H), 96 dpi, 256 kb (image)

 

Interview, Vol X No 12, p. 1 (cover)
11 in (W) x 17 in (H) (work)
1080 px (H) x 684 px (W), 96 dpi, 432 kb (image)

 

©1980 Interview Enterprises

 

Playboy, Vol. 28 No. 1, January 1981

Posted on 20th June 2016 in "Times Square"
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“The raggle-taggle queen of the night is Robin…”

Relevant text:  MOVIE SCORE CARD capsule close-ups of current films by bruce williamson  Times Square (Reviewed this month) Punks on Broadway.

Bruce Williamson didn’t not like Times Square, but he couldn’t ignore its flaws… still, his review in the January Playboy was generally positive, appreciating the film’s visual evocation of Times Square and, like most other reviewers, Robin’s performance.

The two bunny-heads meant the movie was “worth a look.”

A gravel-voiced hoyden named Robin Johnson takes over Times Square (EMI/ AFD) and makes it all her own. Edited detail from p. 46, the second page of "Movies" by Bruce Williamson: a review of "Times Square": A gravel-voiced hoyden named Robin Johnson takes over Times Square (EMI/ AFD) and makes it all her own. Teamed up with Robin is Trini Alvarado (who made her big splash in last year’s Rich Kids), while England’s Tim Curry (star of The Rocky Horror Show on stage and screen) adds a garnish of colorful idiosyncrasy as an all-night deejay who transforms a couple of runaway kids into punk-rock stars. Directed by Canadian- born Alan Moyle from a screenplay by Jacob Brackman (former Esquire film critic and sometime PLAYBOY contributor), Times Square takes chances, caroms from hits to misses, yet captures the seedy, funky atmosphere of mid- Manhattan fleshpots as few other movies have done since Midnight Cowboy. Filmed on location, Moyle’s grungy fable depicts a nighttime New York full of music, drugs, muscle, hustle, youthful exuberance and teenaged rebels without a cause. The raggle-taggle queen of the night is Robin, herself in real life a Brooklyn high school girl and nonpro until someone discovered she could curse, swagger and belt songs like a junior-miss Bette Midler—though compared with this kid, Bette is a cream puff. Here, Robin’s the street-wise gamine who takes up with a New York City commissioner’s runaway daughter (Trini) to form a duo called The Sleaze Sisters. The movie as a whole may be a triumph of sleaze over substance, but Robin Johnson plays it like a seasoned trouper.Playboy Vol. 28 No. 1, January 1981, p. 1, cover Teamed up with Robin is Trini Alvarado (who made her big splash in last year’s Rich Kids), while England’s Tim Curry (star of The Rocky Horror Show on stage and screen) adds a garnish of colorful idiosyncrasy as an all-night deejay who transforms a couple of runaway kids into punk-rock stars. Directed by Canadian- born Alan Moyle from a screenplay by Jacob Brackman (former Esquire film critic and sometime PLAYBOY contributor), Times Square takes chances, caroms from hits to misses, yet captures the seedy, funky atmosphere of mid- Manhattan fleshpots as few other movies have done since Midnight Cowboy. Filmed on location, Moyle’s grungy fable depicts a nighttime New York full of music, drugs, muscle, hustle, youthful exuberance and teenaged rebels without a cause. The raggle-taggle queen of the night is Robin, herself in real life a Brooklyn high school girl and nonpro until someone discovered she could curse, swagger and belt songs like a junior-miss Bette Midler—though compared with this kid, Bette is a cream puff. Here, Robin’s the street-wise gamine who takes up with a New York City commissioner’s runaway daughter (Trini) to form a duo called The Sleaze Sisters. The movie as a whole may be a triumph of sleaze over substance, but Robin Johnson plays it like a seasoned trouper.

Photo of Trini Alvarado and Robin Johnson from p. 46, the second page of "Movies" by Bruce Williamson, containing a review of "Times Square":

 

 

The photo looks like the one that was used as the cover of the Japanese “Same Old Scene” single, on the inside of the soundtrack album gatefold, and in the songbook, but it isn’t. It also isn’t a color version of TS-72-8A/14, which appeared in the December 23, 1980 US magazine (as seen last post). It’s a third shot from that session, which as of this writing I don’t believe ever appeared anywhere else.

 

 

Playboy, Vol. 28 No. 1, January 1981
8.25 in (W) x 10.85 in (H)
(Bruce Williamson, “Movies,” pp. 44-50
“Times Square,” p. 46) (work)

 

©1981 Playboy

 

US Magazine, Vol. 4 No. 18, December 23, 1980

Posted on 10th June 2016 in "Times Square"
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“… a pouty thrush named Robin lights up Times Square.”

Detail from start of an article on new celebrities of 1980.  Text:  ARRIVALS A “mogulette” cements her place in Hollywood. A good skate plays Heiden seek. A new Angel sprouts wings and replaces one who couldn’t Hack it. And a pouty thrush named Robin lights up Times Square. They’re just a few of the names who made it in ’80!

Detail from third page of an article about new celebrities of 1980.  Text:  Robin Johnson  Her pouting lips have earned comparisons with Mick Jagger’s. But only a year ago, Times Square bad girl Robin Johnson was just another teen hanging out on the steps of Brooklyn Tech high school with a dangling cigarette. That’s where a talent scout for the Robert Stigwood Organisation spotted her; he encouraged her to audition—and whammo!

RSO’s and AFD’s publicity departments were sure that Times Square would be a hit, and more importantly, that Robin would be the breakout star, and the Hollywood press agreed long enough for US magazine to run her picture as one of the new talents of 1980.

The photo is a crop of Robin from TS-72-8A/14 from the US Press Materials folder, which also appeared in the AFD Campaign Pressbook, on the UK soundtrack sampler, and as the cover of the Japanese soundtrack sampler.

Robin Johnson
Her pouting lips have earned comparisons with Mick Jagger’s. But only a year ago, Times Square bad girl Robin Johnson was just another teen hanging out on the steps of Brooklyn Tech high school with a dangling cigarette. That’s where a talent scout for the Robert Stigwood Organisation spotted her; he encouraged her to audition—and whammo!

The date of this year-end wrap-up issue was December 23. The irony that Times Square had likely already closed across the nation by the time Robin was heralded as an “Arrival,” is far overshadowed by a story on page 62, about the spectacular “Comeback” of John Lennon.

 

 

US, vol. IV no. 18, December 23, 1980
8 1/8 in (W) x 10 3/4 in (H)
(“Arrivals,” pp. 48-50
“Robin Johnson,” p. 50) (work)

 

©1980 Peters Publishing Co.

 

Monthly Film Bulletin, Vol. 47 No. 562, November 1980

Posted on 31st May 2016 in "Times Square"
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Cover of the November 1980 Monthly Film Bulletin, Vol. 47 No. 562, published by the British Film Institute   Photo of Jack Nicholson in "The Shining"  Text:  November 1980 bfi  MONTHLY FILM BULLETIN VOL. 47 NO. 562 FEATURE FILMS Alternative Miss World, The	207 And Give Us Our Daily Sex/Malizia erotica .......	216 Attack of the Phantoms	207 Awakening, The	208 Babylon .......	208 Battle Beyond the Stars	209 Big Brawl, The......................209 Blue Lagoon, The	.	210 Chuquiago .	.	.210 Clones of Bruce Lee, The/Shen-Wei San Meng-Lung	...	221 Come Play with Me 2 .	211 Dark Intruder, The .	211 Death Ship .......	212 Dérobade, La/The Life .	.	.	212 Dressed to Kill .	.	.	.	213 El Salvador Revolution or Death 213 Fog, The............................214 He Knows You're Alone	214 Hunter, The .	....	215 Kiss Meets the Phantom see Attack of the Phantoms	207 Last Embrace	216 Last Feelings/L'Ultimo sapore dell' aria ........	224 Life, The/La dérobade .	.212 Lupa mannara, La/Werewolf Woman 216 Malizia erotica/And Give Us Our Daily Sex .	.	.	.	.216 Mary Millington 1946-1979 Pro-logue/Mary Millington's True Blue Confessions .	.217 Mountain Men, The	217 Nurse Sherri........................218 Poseban Tretman/Special Treatment 218 Prom Night..........................218 Sauve qui peut (La Vie)/Slow Motion .......	219 Scandal in the Family/Scandalo in famiglia—grazie zio .	.	.	.	220 Scandalo in famiglia—grazie zio/ Scandal in the Family	220 Scandinavian Erotica	220 Semaine de vacances, Une/A Week's Holiday..........................220 Shen-Wei San Meng-Lung/The Clones of Bruce Lee	221 Shining, The	221 Slow Motion/Sauve qui peut (La Vie) ........	219 Special Treatment/PosebanTretman 218 Swedish Nympho Slaves/Dîe teuflischen Schwestern .	222 Teuflischen Schwestern, Die/ Swedish Nympho Slaves	222 That Sinking Feeling ...	223 Times Square ......	223 Ultimo sapore dell'aria, L'/Last Feelings .......	224 Week's Holiday, A/Une semaine de vacances ......	220 Werewolf Woman/La lupa mannara 216 Wholly Moses!	.	224 Willie & Phil ...... .	225 RETROSPECTIVE Germania, anno zero/Germany Year Zero ........	225 Germany Year Zero/Germania, anno zero ....	  225 Paisà ........	226 Stromboli/Stromboli, terra di dio .	227 Stromboli, terra di dio/Stromboli 227 50p
Pictures, but not of Robin. What a cheap post.

 

Robin is mentioned quite a bit though in Gilbert Adair’s surprisingly positive and intellectual review, about which Karen (DefeatedandGifted) has written a much more incisive piece than I could ever hope to. So I suggest you just click that link and read it.

 

Karen opens, however, by saying “Due to its format and very small typeface, I won’t scan this review…” I have no such compunctions. Here is what it looks like. But she’s right: it’s two long, dense paragraphs in a tiny font. I’ll add the text in a more readable form if I get enough requests to do so, which I won’t. Check Karen’s blog for the important parts of what it actually says.

 

Tantalizingly, the exhaustive list of the film’s credits ends with “111 mins. Original running time—113 mins,” perhaps the first ever indication that there’s something missing.

 

 

Adair, Gilbert. “Times Square.” Rev. of Times Square. Monthly Film Bulletin Nov. 1980: 223-24. Print.

 

Monthly Film Bulletin Copyright © The British Film Institute, 1980