On November 29 1994, Madonna: Innocence Lost, the made-for-TV movie based on Christopher Andersen’s 1991 book Madonna Unauthorized, premiered on Fox-TV. Madonna was played by 26-year-old newcomer Terumi Matthews.
Pop Matters had this to say about the TV movie:
Based on Christopher Andersen’s 1991 biography Madonna Unauthorized, the film’s introduction borrows verbatim from a three-page letter Madonna wrote to Stephen Jon Lewicki to appear in his 1979 underground feature A Certain Sacrifice. In it (and in the voiceover by Matthews), she writes, “I was born and raised in Detroit, Michigan where I began my childhood in petulance and precociousness. By the time I was in the fifth grade, I knew I wanted to be a nun or a movie star. Nine months in a convent cured me of the first disease. During high school I became slightly schizophrenic as I couldn’t choose between class virgin or the other kind. Both of them had their values as far as I could see.” It’s through quotes such as these that we are given the veracious-feeling lens of Madonna’s early days pre-New York and, subsequently, pre-fame.
On August 2 1985, Madonna lost a court battle against director Stephen Jon Lewicki over the video release of A Certain Sacrifice. The low-budget indie film starring Jeremy Pattnosh and Madonna was shot sporadically over a two-year period in New York City between 1979 and 1981. The film also featured Madonna’s former Breakfast Club bandmate Angie Smit in a minor role.
Madonna was said to have been unhappy with the inclusion of several topless scenes in the film, although it has also been reported that despite instigating the court case, her lawyers did not present much of an argument during the proceedings, leading some to speculate that she had no serious interest in blocking the release of the film. After a limited number of screenings in New York in October 1985, the film was quickly issued on home video and laserdisc in order to capitalize on Madonna’s fame. In more recent years, the film has been reissued on DVD.
Lewicki was not the only person attached to the film who was attempting to hitch a ride on Madonna’s wave of success in the mid 1980’s. While it is unclear whether he was involved as an extra or behind the scenes, top Madonna mooch Otto Von Wernherr is also thanked in the film’s credits. It does not appear that any of his music was used in the film, which for once is actually unfortunate because Von Wernherr’s songs would have sounded right at home alongside the truly bizarre musical selections, including several by Pattnosh, that are showcased throughout A Certain Sacrifice. Perhaps it was Lewicki’s fringe fetish that ruled out the possibility of using any of Madonna’s pre-Warner tunes in the film?