By Curtis Armstrong (From Everybody's Talkin' October 1996)


Los Angeles, California - Floyd Mutrux's 1971 film, Dusty and Sweets McGee, long unseen, just completed a special week's run here. The movie, described by the Los Angeles Times as "a lyrical, but clear-eyed take on the Hollywood hard drug scene," was acted almost exclusively by real addicts - using only their first names. When originally released, the movie received enthusiastic reviews. However, following a Time Magazine review that said the film was "too much absorbed by the mechanics of addiction," the studio got cold feet and the film disappeared almost without a trace.


The main characters, portrayed by real addicts and a few actors (including Billy Grey - "Bud" in the "Father Knows Best" TV series), go through the motions of scoring, shooting, and hustling. Beyond that, there is virtually no story line and little emphasis on the reasons behind the dope addictions. The film plods along at times, but for the most part, the people on the screen are so real it is impossible not to keep watching.


What makes the film especially notable to Schmilssonians, though, is that it features (on a packed soundtrack) Harry Nilsson's recording of "Don't Leave Me." The film received a splendid review in the Times, and its reappearance in theaters may indicate a move to cable or video, so watch for it.


Nilsson completists should know that a soundtrack album (Dusty and Sweets McGee) was released (Warner Bros 1936) which also includes songs by Van Morrison, Blues Image, Little Eva and others.