Monday, February 2, 2015

Hustling 1975

The 1975 made-for-TV movie Hustling, starring Lee Remick and Jill Clayburgh, offers some fantastic classic scenes around 8th Avenue in Midtown.

Based on the book of the same name by journalist Gail Sheehy, Hustling takes us into the world of New York City prostitution. The opening sequence is a series of neighborhood shots, showing hookers and pimps on the stroll in Times Square.

Girls go running from the police, past the dearly departed McHale's, seen here from a squad car's window.

Jill Clayburgh as Wanda walks past Orange Julius and Howard Johnson's while a new pimp tries to enlist her for his stable. She doesn't go for it. She's trying to be independent.

We get a look at the famous Hubert's on 42nd Street. Opened in 1925, Hubert's closed in 1975, the year that Hustling came out. It was replaced with Peepland, later demolished.

You can watch the movie on Netflix, and read Sheehy's articles on prostitution in the archives of New York magazine--start with "Cleaning Up Hell's Bedroom." Her book is harder to find. To read about prostitution in an earlier era, 1950s New York City, track down Sisters of the Night.


John K said...

Thanks for highlighting this film, Jeremiah. The first photo also features a marquee with the 1974 film The Taking of Pelham 123, directed by Joseph Sargent and based on the eponymous 1973 John Godey (pen name of Morton Freedgood) novel, which captured a very violent, desperate New York.

I've seen Pelham (and the nonsensical 2009 version, which felt completely out of place historically, as NYC even in post-911, post-Great Recession NYC was far safer and more gentrified than 35 years before), but never Hustling. I wonder if the visual citation of Pelham was because they had a studio link, this one was filming on the cheap, they wanted this one to be as realistic as possible, or what?

alberchico said...

You can watch the film for free here:

john bailo said...

I just started watching this tonight on Amazon (when I really like a movie, I stop it halfway so I can savor it and finish it the next day). Besides the amazing Jill Clayburgh, who is perfect for this part because she is both sexy, and seemingly approachable or available, a key duet for a prostitute, there is as you document the great scenes of New York City.

One thing that is funny or tragic, for someone who remembers those days, is that at the time, Times Square was considered the worst place in the world. Hustlers, drugs, pimps. But seeing these scenes today, and going 20 years and beyond into the future to Ak-47 gang fights, crazed bath salts murders and all manner of destruction, it seems clownish, like a sideshow carnival.

Another movie in the category of featuring a Vanished NYC is "Born To Win" with George Segal as a junkie hairdresser. There all the action is in mid-town.