Schöner Gigolo, armer Gigolo (Just A Gigolo) (1979)

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The West German Just a Gigolo has little to do with the popular song of the same name. Its central character, played by David Bowie, is a World War I-era Prussian aristocrat. Living by his wits throughout Europe, Bowie uses his sexual prowess with beautiful women (and powerful men) to advance himself. The leering lothario eventually comes to grief in the decadent Berlin of the 1920s. We don't know how he did it, but director David Hemmings managed to corral some of the most stellar sex goddesses in film history to play cameos in Just a Gigolo: Kim Novak, Maria Schell, and even Marlene Dietrich. The film was originally released as Schoner Gigolo, Armer Gigolo. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

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Critic Reviews for Schöner Gigolo, armer Gigolo (Just A Gigolo)

Audience Reviews for Schöner Gigolo, armer Gigolo (Just A Gigolo)

½

Directed by David Hemmings (star of "Blow Up"), "Just a Gigolo" is mostly just a curiosity for David Bowie fanatics. This notorious flop was filmed during Bowie's late-70s period in Berlin, and he's looking as traditionally handsome as he ever looked in younger days, so his fetishists will drool. The premise actually isn't so different from "The Graduate" -- a malleable naif rejoins the real world (in this case, post-WWI rather than post-college) and gets dubious advice from everyone about what he should do next. In this case, he ends up working as a dancehall gigolo. Except the script is an utter snooze. This slack tale is neither funny nor dramatic, and the plot is just as aimless as Bowie's character. One bonus: The powerhouse cast includes Curt Jurgens, Maria Schell, Kim Novak and (in her final appearance) Marlene Dietrich. She only has two brief scenes, but it's undeniably haunting to see her sign off her career by singing "...and life goes on without me." Hemmings has a small role as a Nazi organizer, and Sydne Rome scores points as a sexy torch singer who suddenly exits the movie about halfway through (did she leave to work on a better project?). Bowie himself does not perform onscreen, but did write a trivial street-performer's song that appears early in the action.

Eric Broome
Eric Broome

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