Kendra Steiner Editions

October 6, 2019

Fascinating 2016 radio interview with JOE DALLESANDRO

Filed under: Uncategorized — kendrasteinereditions @ 11:52 am

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Actor JOE DALLESANDRO has always been a man of deeds, not so much a man of words, though he certainly delivered his lines in his English-language films in a manner befitting the characters he played and he always brought an authenticity to everything he did, a quality that can never be faked and no doubt is why he is still so revered today.

If you’ve ever heard an interview with Mr. Dallesandro, or a commentary track, or you’ve viewed an interview appearance online, he tends to give simple, straightforward, no-BS answers to questions, not providing the patter people expect because he’s never been one to play the showbiz or art-world “game.” His street-level adolescent background no doubt led him to think that anyone running a line of patter is just a BS-artist or some kind of scammer, and he knows better than to buy into that. I totally get that. After all, it’s his work that made him famous, and we can appreciate the work without hassling the man. Clearly, the man values his private life, and having random strangers knocking on your door or following  you around in your neighborhood wanting you to sign semi-nude photos of yourself must be an odd and surreal experience!

Therefore, I was extremely happy to see this 2016 radio interview of Joe Dallesandro by actor Alec Baldwin. It takes a fellow New Yorker, someone who knows the neighborhoods and the culture, and clearly someone Dallesandro has some respect for, to get JD to open up as I’ve never heard before. Baldwin has had both radio and TV shows where he interviewed artists and creative people, and he’s been very good at it. Somehow this particular interview went under my radar when it came out, but I saw it linked to on a Warhol discussion list, and I knew that many KSE people would appreciate it.

You can listen to the interview here: Alec Baldwin interviews Joe Dallesandro, 2016

Everyone knows the Andy Warhol/Paul Morrissey films (my personal favorite being HEAT), but the most interesting part of Dallesandro’s career for me is his post-Warhol/Morrissey European career, with at least a dozen starring roles, many of them in crime-oriented genre films, where his edgy attitude and magnetic screen presence were perfect. He could be dubbed into any language and he’d still set the screen on fire. Many of those films can be seen on You Tube today! The only drawback to the English-language versions of the films is that the producers did not keep JD around for the looping of dialogue. He’s stated before that they did not want to pay him to stay around after the filming had finished or that he was already working on another project when the English vocal track was recorded. In some of the films, he’s dubbed by voice actors who are fitting for his persona (the kind of people who would dub, say, Tomas Milian or Fabio Testi), and alas, that’s the best you are going to get. But it’s more than enough. With his cat-like movement on-screen and a face that, like Charles Bronson’s, communicates depths of life experience that most of us are not too familiar with directly (thankfully!), Dallesandro comes through crystal clear in his European genre films. He is also used well in art films by Louis Malle and Serge Gainsbourg. And after JD came back to the states and re-invented himself as a character actor, I made a point of renting films such as DOUBLE REVENGE and THEODORE REX because he was in them. I also watched the story arc involving Joe Dallesandro as Paul “Pat The Cat” Patrice on the under-rated TV crime show WISEGUY (with Ken Wahl) back in 1987. I even saw PACINO IS MISSING, from 2002.

I’d encourage you to look up Joe Dallesandro’s European filmography on the IMDB, and then search for some of those films on You Tube. He’s one of a kind, and had he been living during the silent era, I feel that he could have had the impact of a Valentino. His fans would no doubt claim (accurately, I think) that he was the Valentino of his era, embodying a new kind of sexuality and magnetism unique to the 60’s/70’s, and he certainly made an equal kind of impact, though he was never as mainstream a figure as Valentino was. The anecdotes in this interview are priceless (I’ll let you discover them yourself, and not paraphrase them here), and kudos to Baldwin for getting JD comfortable enough to let the stories and memories flow….

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