Synopsis by Clarke Fountain
Anyone even vaguely familiar with the endless antics of the deliberately eccentric Catalonian artist Salvador Dali (1904-1989) may find this biographical tidbit fascinating. By 1940, still in his thirties, this strikingly handsome (though slightly pop-eyed) artist had made waves around the world among those who followed the avant garde. His best-known painting, The Persistence of Memory, was already synonymous with surrealism. However, it is his mad-seeming publicity-hound antics that polished his already notorious reputation to a high gloss. In this movie, Dali (Lorenzo Quinn) has just arrived in New York harbor wearing fried eggs on the lapels of his elegant suit, with a loaf of bread on his head. This is appropriate attire for a surrealist who explores the power of putting objects in places where they do not "belong." He is immediately taken in hand by a reporter from the New York Times, and is encouraged to tell the reporter the story of his life, which shows up in flashbacks. Among those whose lives he has sparkled in is the famously homosexual Spanish poet Federico Garcia Lorca, who fell in love with the artist when he was a gorgeous young man; the more sexually conventional filmmaker Luis Buñuel, who created some of his more famous and outrageous classics (e.g. Un Chien Andalou) while he associated with the artist; and his fellow artist Pablo Picasso, who surely took a leaf or two from this brash man in the self-promotion department. Though filmed in English, the film was released in a dubbed Catalan version. Though he frequently appeared to be quite mad, Dali's picturesque madness was entirely deliberate -- and very, very profitable.
artist, reporter, writer