Ultrasuede: In Search of Halston (2012)
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as Whitney Sudler-Smith
as Liza Minnelli
as Andre Leon Talley
as Ralph Rucci
as Cathy Horyn
as Stephen Burrows
as Bob Colacello
as Pat Cleveland
as Anjelica Huston
as Nicky Haslam
as Boaz Mazor
as Billy Joel
as Nile Rodgers
as Phillip Bloch
as Ming Vauze
as Naeem Kahn
as Amy Fine Collins
as Diane von Furstenberg
as Chris Makos
as Glenn O'Brien
Critic Reviews for Ultrasuede: In Search of Halston
The film is poorly structured, and most of Sudler-Smith's conclusions are trite.
In sartorial terms, the fabric is to die for, but helmer Whitney Sudler-Smith's docu follows a banal pattern, while the finishing lacks finesse.
A self-indulgent pilgrimage to the shrine of '70s fabulousness, "Ultrasuede: In Search of Halston" assembles a fine assortment of archival material but falls far short of its stated goal.
It's unfortunate that director Whitney Sudler-Smith seems to have spent more time on his own hair than his interview prep.
Lost in all this is Halston, who comes through only in dribs and drabs. If you're curious about him, skip this film.
Audience Reviews for Ultrasuede: In Search of Halston
What a waste of an amazing subject! Who the fuck is Whitney Smith? (that's rhetorical, I know who he is, he's NOBODY) and why did anyone associated with Halston agree to do this, knowing what an empty vessel Smith is? It's not a "fascinating portrait" of anyone, especially Halston. It's a stupid, meandering, half-assed film about someone who actually is fascinating. Every atom of Smith's camera/VO is an exercise in how NOT to make a documentary. This is what happens when retail clerks finally save up and get a camera.
Possibly the worst documentary I have seen in four decades. Liza advises this fame-whore to do some research. Fat chance. He asks elementary questions as if he just landed from another planet. He interviews his mom for insight as to why he may be drawn to this subject. She doesn't have a clue, noting he liked "Smokey & the Bandit" growing up, something we already have guessed due to the endless ground shots of him getting in and out of his souped-up Trans Am. An interview subject from Vogue is astonished by his lack of research and knowledge. Their interview is interrupted when Sudler-Smith's cell phone goes off. When the interviewee chastises him, Sudler-Smith is confused because "they are both from the South". Sudler-Smith's ringtone is "Dixie" and the man he is interviewing is African-American. That tells you all you need to know about the clueless Sudler-Smith. He shoots interviews, such as with Ms. Minnelli, over her shoulder so it is he that is on camera. He is always on camera. This film is all about him, and little on Halston outside of some vintage film footage. He asks banal, uninformed questions, and then interrupts the responses five words in. At one point, a subject tells him, STOP INTERRUPTING! Sudler-Smith has brown hair in this scene, blonde hair in that one, then golden hair with a Fu Manchu in the next. This film has less to do with Halston and more to do with immortalizing the fabulous Sudler-Smith on celluloid for all time. What a waste of celluloid. Somebody wishes they were Burt Reynolds in the 70s, or at least a vapid star-f*cker who could do blow and hang out at Studio 54. That fact is the biggest takeaway from this film, which is yet another insult piled on the legacy of Halston. I doubt you can find a "documentary" on Rotten Tomatoes with a lower rating than this one, for good reason. An abomination.
Its a shame the story of Halston had to share time with Sudler-Smith's ego. What could have been a remarkable documentary with incredible footage and interesting subjects was lost to a director that somehow feels that he is as interesting as his subject.
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