Today In Madonna History: April 27, 1989

On April 27 1989, Howard Brookner, director, co-producer and co-writer of Bloodhounds of Broadway, died of AIDS in Manhattan at the age of 34.

Bloodhounds of Broadway was Brookner’s only feature-length film, and starred: Matt Dillon, Jennifer Grey, Julie Hagerty, Rutger Hauer, Esai Morales, Anita Morris, Randy Quaid and Madonna.

Sadly, Howard died a few months before Bloodhounds of Broadway opened in theatres on November 3 1989.

Today in Madonna History: April 16, 1993

On April 16 1993, Body Of Evidence (starring Madonna) opened in cinemas across the U.K.

Roger Ebert had this to say about the film:

I’ve seen comedies with fewer laughs than Body of Evidence, and this is a movie that isn’t even trying to be funny. It’s an excruciatingly incompetent entry in the Basic Instinct genre, filled with lines that only a screenwriter could love, and burdened with a plot that confuses mystery with confusion.

The movie stars Madonna, who after Bloodhounds of Broadway, Shanghai Surprise and Who’s That Girl? now nails down her title as the queen of movies that were bad ideas right from the beginning. She plays a kinky dominatrix involved in ingenious and hazardous sex with an aging millionaire who has a bad heart. He dies after an evening’s entertainment, and Madonna is charged with his murder.

Today in Madonna History: March 26, 1983

On March 26 1983, the music video for Madonna’s Everybody was briefly mentioned in Billboard magazine along side the music video for Konk’s Konk Party, noting that both videos were directed by Ed Steinberg of Soft Focus Productions. What is not mentioned and likely not known to the columnist (considering they think Madonna is the name of a group!) is that Madonna appears as an extra in Konk Party along with her pals Erika Belle and Martin Burgoyne. Original Sonic Youth drummer and member of Konk, Richard Edson, is also featured in the video. Edson would later appear in the film Desperately Seeking Susan, holding open a newspaper box for Madonna, and is pictured prominently next to Madonna in the film’s cast photo – which is unusual considering the brevity of his time on-screen. He worked with Madonna again in 1988, playing the character of Johnny Crackow in the film, Bloodhounds Of Broadway.

Sonic Youth would explore their own fascination with Madonna with their side project, Ciccone Youth. In liner notes for Sonic Youth’s reissue of their landmark album, Daydream Nation (1988), the band revealed that they had given an advance copy of Ciccone Youth’s The Whitey Album (1988) to Madonna’s sister, who was working in Warner’s art department at the time, seeking Madonna’s approval for the use of her image on the album cover (her songs Into The Groove & Burning Up were also covered & sampled). Word came back that Madonna had no issues with it, adding that she remembered the band from their early days in New York.

Sonic Youth made humourous references to Madonna’s place in popular culture in their promotional artwork throughout the 80’s – typically designed by bassist/vocalist/guitarist and visual artist, Kim Gordon. They were even known to use Madonna’s music as interludes during guitar changes at their shows in the 80’s, bewildering audience members who were not privy to their shared origins as part of the early 80’s underground music scene in NYC.

In another connection, Sonic Youth’s 2004 album, Sonic Nurse, featured artwork from Richard Prince’s acclaimed Nurse Paintings series. In 2015, Madonna used a rotating selection of paintings from her own art collection as backdrops for a series of press junket interviews to promote her Rebel Heart album. One of the paintings displayed was Prince’s Heartbreak Nurse from his Nurse Paintings series.

Today in Madonna History: February 14, 1990

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On February 14 1990, Bloodhounds of Broadway was released on home video.

The Howard Brookner film generated $44,000 at the box office.

Today in Madonna History: December 24, 1987

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On December 24 1987, Madonna began filming Bloodhounds Of Broadway, co-starring Matt Dillon, Jennifer Grey & Randy Quaid and directed by Howard Brookner.

Today in Madonna History: November 3, 1989

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On November 3 1989, Bloodhounds of Broadway was released in New York.

Here is the review summary by Hal Erickson of the New York Times:

Produced for theatrical released by PBS’ American Playhouse, Bloodhounds of Broadway is not exactly a remake of the 1952 film of the same name, though both pictures use the same Damon Runyon stories as inspiration. The scene is Broadway: the time is New Year’s Eve, 1928. Madonna plays small town girl-turned-hoofer Hortense Hathaway, who loves gambler Feet Samuels (Randy Quaid) more than somewhat. Since it is known far and wide that Feet has not a penny to his name, he must find some way to pay off his debts in a hurry. So he offers to sell his huge feet to a demented-an operation which will, alas, cost Feet the use of his life. Upon waking up to the fact that Hortense loves him, Feet decides that he prefers breathing to pushing up daisies. Meanwhile, a society doll named Harriet MacKyle (Julie Hagerty) turns on the spigots when her pet parrot is laid low by a clumsy gunman. And while all this is transpiring, high-roller Regret (Matt Dillon) has to beat a murder rap. Even while Regret is sweating it out, “The Brain” (Rutger Hauer), who is bleeding profusely after confronting the business end of a shiv, searches high and low for someone willing to donate blood to save his life. If you can, keep an eye out for author William Burroughs as a butler. Bloodhounds of Broadway was the first non-documentary effort of filmmaker Howard Brookner-and the last, since he died before the film was released. To gloss over the film’s plot holes, the distributors added a Winchell-like narrator to the proceedings, courtesy of actor Joseph Sommer.

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