We present a major cinematic rediscovery, a significant
film by an obscure director, J.X. Williams. His notorious
tirade against the Chicago Syndicate comes to the screen
for the first time after nearly four decades in limbo.
Produced in Copenhagen in 1965, Peep Show chronicles
a secret history of the Kennedy administration, revealing
a Mafia plot to addict Frank Sinatra to heroin. Peep
Show holds a significant place in cinematic history
for a number of reasons. Most notoriously, the film's
use of pornographic imagery got it banned from several
countries and even resulted in the director's brief
incarceration in Rome. More importantly, however, the
film tackled a multitude of subjects that did not come
into vogue until the 1970s.
Nearly a decade before Coppola and Scorsese, Peep Show
offered an unrelentingly grim and realistic portrait
of organized crime, undoubtedly influenced by Mr Williams'
personal experiences as a onetime "gofer"
to Johnny Rosselli and other mobsters in Los Angeles.
Released less than two years after the assassination
of JFK, Peep Show was also the first film to explore
the dark side of Camelot. Besides tracing the tangled
web of theories that may have led to the assassination,
Peep Show gives a blistering account of the fixing of
the 1960 election.
Film scholar, curator, and archivist Noel Lawrence
will give a detailed introduction on the making of the
film and the colorful life of its director, including
excerpts from William's forthcoming memoir, The Big
Footnote. We will also present three of his short films
from the late 1960s, Psych-Burn, Satan Claus, and The
"Creating a unique body of work from a heady ferment
of crime, drugs, politics and porn, J.X. Williams was
either a mad genius or a mob stooge. Rediscovery of
his films will help cinema historians decide. He could
very well be the Missing Link in the secret history
of mid-twentieth-century America." - San Francisco
Film Noir Festival
Courtesy of the J.X. Williams Archive, San Francisco