Beautiful Darling (2010): Rasin’s Docu of Brief, Glamorous, Tragic Life if Iconic Figure Candy Darling

Made in 2010, James Rasin’s riveting documentary Beautiful Darling, celebrates the brief yet dazzling life and impressive career of the iconic figure, Candy Darling, one of the 1970s most impressive impersonators.

This loving tribute has become a favorite in many LGBT film festivals across the country, with repeated showing after its brief (and unsuccessful) theatrical release.

Born in a Long Island suburb in 1944, James Slattery claims that he felt drawn to the “feminine side” of life from an early age.

The feature combines current and vintage interview material, rarely seen archival photos and footage, and extracts from Darling’s own movies.

The film relies heavily o the recollections of Darling’s longtime companion, Jeremiah Newton, who places her life in the broader context of New York’s underground, especially vis a vis Andy Warhol and his other “creations,” such as Jackie Curtis and Holly Woodlawn.

As voiced by Chloe Sevigny (Boys Don’t Cry), who narrates from Darling’s diary, we observe how the young, sexy, and alluring blonde actress overtook Downtown Manhattan. She reached her greatest recognition for her portrayals in two Paul Morrissey’s films: Flesh (1968) and Women in Revolt (1971), both produced by Warhol and his famous Factory.

But there were also occasional forays into the mainstream, including a bit appearances in Klute (1971), Jane Fonda’s Oscar winning film, and playwright Tennessee Williams’s casting her in a production of his Small Craft Warnings.

At her height, Darling was photographed by Robert Maapplethorpe and Cecil Beaton (Oscar-winning designer for My Fair Lady), sung about by Lou Reed, and embraced by New York’s avant-garde elite.

Darling suffered from an intense loneliness–desperate search for romantic love–but to the outside world, she projected courage, audacity, and glamour. Tragically, she died of lymphoma at the young age of 29, soon after attaining stardom.

Director Paul Morrissey is the executive produced.

Running time: 85 Minutes

DVD: 2012