Interesting interview with me about Norman Mailer’s Tough Guys Don’t Dance published recently on the Australian movie website Cult Film Alley.
Justin Bozung (1977-) is a biographer and author who is based in Atlanta, Georgia. A writer for many magazine publications over the years, he sits on the board of the Norman Mailer Society. An archivist of Mailer’s work, he is the host of the Norman Mailer Society Podcast. In fact, there is a ten-part podcast that deals solely with Tough Guys Don’t Dance which Bozung has lovingly produced. He is the editor of the book The Cinema of Norman Mailer: Film is Like Death. Here, in this interview, I show my ignorance of Mailer’s written word and experimental movies as we share our love and fascination for Tough Guys…
QUESTION: Tough Guys Don’t Dance has been described by Norman Mailer, perhaps tongue in cheek, as a “horror” movie, while others have called it a “black comedy” and even “camp”. How would you classify the movie?
ANSWER: Well, I think it’s just as well if we don’t attempt to classify it. I think Mailer would likely support or endorse my idea. While he certainly did aspire to make a film that “looked” like a slick, Hollywood movie, (it most certainly does), what is often overlooked about Tough Guys is just how important it is as a companion piece with regards to anyone attempting to comprehend Mailer’s complicated cinematic philosophies and philosophical sociological concerns which first appeared in the early-1960s.
When Mailer called the film a “horror” movie, he was suggesting such in the context that he was trying to convey a sociological horror; the film is his commentary on a bevy of sociological matters (greed, hedonism, etc.) as they were run amok in American life in the Ronald Reagan-1980s. Many of the ideas that are running wild in the film date back to the 1960s where they first appear in Mailer’s writing. Mailer was the first one to point that out; he was fond of drawing an analogy between his Tough Guys novel/movie with his influential early-1960s novel, An American Dream, which is about a guy who kills his wife and gets away with it.
The rest of the interview is HERE.