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J'irai cracher sur vos tombes (I Spit On Your Grave) (1959) - Michel Gast

Related: 1946 - 1959 - grave - Boris Vian

J'irai Cracher sur vos Tombes (1959) - Michel Gast

On the morning of June 23, 1959, Boris Vian was at the Cinema Marbeuf for the screening of the film version of his controversial "Vernon Sullivan" novel, J'irai cracher sur vos tombes (I will Spit On Your Graves). He had already fought with the producers over their interpretation of his work and he publicly denounced the film stating that he wished to have his name removed from the credits. A few minutes after the film began, he reportedly blurted out: "These guys are supposed to be American? My ass!" He then collapsed into his seat and died of a heart attack en route to the hospital. [Aug 2006]


Radley Metzger bought the rights to this film and distributed it in the USA from 1963 onwards. http://us.imdb.com/title/tt0052937/

[...] And then I bought a picture for just about $1.98 in change, which nobody wanted. The film was I Spit on your Grave.

Everyone claimed at the time that we did the miraculous, but we really didn't. It was just a combination of the right film in the right hands. Very few distributors, if any, were editors. When they looked at a film, they were unable to see the potential in the material; they only dealt in finished product. But I could say, "Well, this is ridiculous and that's ridiculous, so we'll eliminate it." The novel, J'irai Cracher sur Vos Tombes, was a first-person experience of what it was like to be a black man in the United States. It was very strong, very sexy, and very violent. The book was banned, and was published like Tropic of Cancer. Well, it turned out that it wasn't an American black man who wrote it: it was Boris Vian - who was sort of the first hippie, a drug addict, a musician, a poet and an actor - and he had never been to the United States!

They made a movie of the book a few years later, which was - unfortunately, for the director, Michel Gast - well ahead of its time. It has one of the best atmospheres I've ever seen in a movie - if you want a perverse, erotic, degenerate, violent atmosphere - with absolutely nothing happening. It took place in the American North, but they shot it as if it was the South, because they really didn't know the difference. So in the dubbing we gave everybody Southern accents and put it back down South, so it made sense. It was the first picture of ours that really went legit. It was an enormous drive-in picture. [...] --Film Comment, January 1973 via http://www.vidmarc.demon.co.uk/mondo-erotico/metzger/interviews/aristo1.html [Nov 2004]

[...] "There was another picture that we re-edited, rather severely, called I Spit on Your Grave. The original French title was J'irail cracher sur vos tombes. It was written by a rather famous French author/musician/actor/drug addict of the 50's called Boris Vian. He wrote this book without ever having been to the States! It's about a black man that passes for white. It's about what happens when this man's brother is lynched for dating a white woman. The characters are supposed to be in Ohio, but there were palm trees everywhere and all these ridiculous things in it. It was shot in Nice, at Cinécittà. Everybody looked at it and they just laughed. Somebody bought the film, took it to the states and it folded because everybody just laughed. Again, if they had been film editors they would have seen the possibilities. The film was absolutely sensational and had a terrific cast. One of the actors in it is Claude Berri who made Manon of the Spring and Jean de Florette." Star Christian Marquand later directed Candy.

"Anyway, we dubbed it with Southern accents. Instead of taking place in the North, it was taking place in the South. That's where the book is set. We cut out all the stupid references and the bad geography and it really became a John Wayne movie for black audiences. It appealed to both black and white audiences and did terrific business. That film was our first really big success. [...] --Radley Metzger interviewed by Jay Kent Lorenz, Psychotronic Video No. 17, Winter 1994 via http://www.vidmarc.demon.co.uk/mondo-erotico/metzger/interviews/EroticWorldOfRadley.html [Nov 2004]

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