Boogie Nights was a massive hit for Paul Thomas Anderson, and it was the project that put him on the map. Burt Reynolds was nominated for Best Supporting Actor, Julianne Moore was nominated for Best Supporting Actress, and P.T. Anderson was nominated for Best Original Screenplay. It was a big film for EVERYBODY involved. What a lot of people may not have realized is that it actually had its origins in a 1988 short film.
When he was in high school Paul Thomas Anderson wrote and directed a half hour film entitled The Dirk Diggler Story. The film was based on the life of John Holmes, and legendary adult film actor. Like Diggler, Holmes was endowed, arrogant, and a raging drug addict. In the end his vices spelled his demise, but in his hayday he was literally the biggest star in the business.
The Dirk Diggler Story was shot as a documentary, unlike Boogie Nights, which is a straightforward film. He cast the film with friends and associates, including Bob Ridgely, who plays The Colonel in Boogie Nights, and legendary voice over artist Ernie Anderson as the narrator. Ernie Anderson also just happens to be Paul Thomas Anderson's Dad, who also played the legendary TV horror host Ghoulardi.
But I digress.
Shot directly to video, The Dirk Diggler story tells essentially the same story as Boogie Nights, but in a much more compact 32 minutes. Several scenes in it eventually showed up in Boogie Nights, which was released nine years later. Anderson shot it himself, and edited it between two VCRs. It's a pretty serious and ambitious project for a kid, but it shows the promise that he would eventually deliver on in Hollywood.
Here's The Dirk Diggler Story in all it's lo-fi glory. Also, have I mentioned yet in this post that we're showing Boogie Nights THIS SATURDAY NIGHT on campus? FOR FREE, EVEN! Be there!
GRIND-FU CINEMA PRESENTS
Beyond The Valley of the Dolls
Paul Thomas Anderson's
Saturday, June 28th at 7:00pm
Wiecking 220 Auditorium
Minnesota State University, Mankato
You should see both films, because you can. Honestly, Beyond The Valley of the Dolls doesn't screen that often, and it was only recently that we were able to get the rights to it. It isn't even available on DVD right now, so it's not like you can just pop out and see it. If you absolutely have to pick and choose, here are the showtimes for each movie:
7:00 - BEYOND THE VALLEY OF THE DOLLS
9:00 - BOOGIE NIGHTS
But you should really see both. They're too good to pass up.
I'm the new boy in town! Where can I go?