One of David Bowie’s first films is a fascinating mess

As we prepare to close up shop for winter break, we have a very strange new acquisition highlight.

We’ve mentioned before that David Bowie had a surprisingly robust acting career, starting with the titular role in the classic The Man Who Fell to Earth. Two years later, he returned to film in Just a Gigolo, where he plays a Prussian soldier forced into prostitution in post-World War I Germany. Notably, Marlene Dietrich briefly appears in her last credited role.

Reception for Just a Gigolo was all over the place. Reviews at the time were scathing, and Bowie considered it an embarrassment. “Listen,” he told one film critic, “you were disappointed, and you weren’t even in it. Imagine how we felt.” An author over at Dangerous Minds found it “actually pretty wild to watch” and visually enticing.

This film hasn’t been available in America in basically any format for decades. We recently acquired a VHS, and as part of our long-term archiving project, we’ve digitized it and created an archival DVD copy. You can watch the strange mess of Just a Gigolo yourself in the AU Library.

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